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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Hakuho, Asashoryu remain on collision course

Kyodo News

Mongolian ozeki Hakuho defeated komusubi Toyonoshima to remain undefeated and moved into a two-way share of the lead with yokozuna Asashoryu on the ninth day of action at the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament on Monday.

News photo
Yokozuna Asashoryu pushes sekiwake Ama out of the ring to stay undefeated with a 9-0 record on Monday at Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo. Only Asashoryu and ozeki Hakuho have perfect records in the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament. KYODO PHOTO

In the day's penultimate bout at Ryogoku Kokugikan, Hakuho found himself on the verge of sudden death when he backpedaled after the faceoff, but quickly regained his composure dodging to his side to swat the komusubi down to improve to 9-0 at Ryogoku Kokugikan.

Toyonoshima, who is suffering from an injured knee, fell to 1-8.

Hakuho is seeking promotion to sumo's highest rank and a title victory at the 15-day meet would ensure his promotion.

Asashoryu, meanwhile, pummeled out countryman Ama, smacking the sekiwake across the face after the charge and moving in with a right-hand shove to blast his opponent out in a flurry to stay even with Hakuho. Ama slipped to 4-5.

The sole grand champion is seeking his 21st Emperor's Cup and revenge against Hakuho after losing to the ozeki in a playoff at the spring meet in March. Five wrestlers are one off the pace at 8-1 behind the two leaders.

It was a day of mixed fortunes for sumo's ozeki wrestlers.

Ozeki Kaio won a battle with Kisenosato (4-5), who lost his footing in the dirt surface as the ozeki deployed an overarm throw to improve to 8-1.

But Bulgarian ozeki Kotooshu hit the dirt when Aminishiki (6-3) escaped his clutches on a throw near the edge and tumbled to a second defeat.

Meanwhile, Chiyotaikai fell to a second defeat at the hands of Homasho, and will have to wait another day to try to get the majority of wins necessary to keep his ozeki status.

Chiyotaikai (7-2) was the aggressor but his trademark thrusting attack fizzled against the top-ranked maegashira, who barreled his way forward before placing the ozeki out of the ring.

Sekiwake Kotomitsuki had no problems manhandling Tochiozan (4-5), getting both hands under his opponent's armpits and heaving the No. 4 maegashira over the edge in textbook fashion to improve to 8-1.

In another other key bout, Futeno (8-1), a No. 13 maegashira, fell from the ranks of the unbeaten when he was pounded over the edge by Miyabiyama, who improved to 4-5.

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