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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Hakuho stays on course for promotion

Kyodo News

Yokozuna hopeful Hakuho kept his eyes firmly on the prize as the Mongolian ozeki posted a bread-and-butter fourth win against Kakizoe at the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament on Wednesday.

Hakuho came out with all guns blazing and wasted no time in dispatching third-ranked maegashira Kakizoe with a series of powerful shoves to preserve his perfect start to the 15-day meet at Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo.

Asashoryu, the lone grand champion and a fellow Mongolian, also retained his share of the lead at 4-0 with a routine win over Tokitenku but Bulgarian ozeki Kotooshu became the first ozeki to bite the dust with an upset loss to Tamanoshima.

Asashoryu, who is gunning for his 21st Emperor's Cup, picked his moment to break up a mid-ring stalemate and yanked top-ranked maegashira Tokitenku down to the sandy surface to take his place among nine wrestlers tied at 4-0.

Hakuho, who beat Asashoryu in controversial fashion at the spring meet to win his second Emperor's Cup, is hoping to make it third time lucky in his quest for promotion to yokozuna.

Another title here for Hakuho would secure a move to the top of sumo's ladder and ensure sumo has two grand champions for the first time since 2003.

Kaio (4-0) took care of business with an efficient win over Kokkai (0-4), the ozeki waltzing the Georgian wrestler out after getting a firm grip on the back of his belt.

But Kotooshu became the tournament's first major casualty in the next bout. Kotooshu lost momentum after the tachiai and was unable to respond as Tamanoshima (1-3) plowed the Bulgarian toward the edge of the ring and squashed him to the dirt.

Chiyotaikai (4-0) had no such trouble in the day's penultimate bout and showed Ama (3-1), who is boss by thrusting the Mongolian sekiwake out with minimum fuss.



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