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Friday, May 18, 2007

Asa, Hakuho, Kaio retain share of lead

Kyodo News

Mongolian ozeki Hakuho continued his ascent toward sumo's summit by posting a convincing win over popular maegashira Homasho on the fifth day of action at the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament on Thursday.

Hakuho twice failed in his attempts to pull his top-ranked opponent down by the neck in the day's penultimate bout so instead went for route one sumo and bulldozed Homasho (1-4) out to make it five wins out of five in the 15-day basho at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan.

Chasing his 21st Emperor's Cup, lone yokozuna and favorite Asashoryu followed up with an easy win in the day's finale with a quick-fire win over Georgian grappler Kokkai (0-5) to keep his share of the lead.

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 grand champion.

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

In other bouts of note, Chiyotaikai overpowered Tamanoshima to keep pace at 5-0 along with the Mongolian big guns, fellow ozeki Kaio and rank-and-filers Dejima, Asasekiryu and Futeno.

Chiyotaikai eased his relegation fears by deploying a trademark pummel-and-pull technique to dispose of second-ranked Tamanoshima (1-4), while Kaio produced a workmanlike performance to see off winless komusubi debutant Toyonoshima.

Bulgarian Kotooshu (4-1) secured a clean sweep for sumo's second rank of ozeki when he rebounded from Wednesday's surprise defeat to Tamanoshima by railroading Kakizoe (0-5).



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