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Monday, May 28, 2007

Undefeated Hakuho dominates Asashoryu

The Associated Press

Hakuho overwhelmed fellow Mongolian Asashoryu on Sunday to finish the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament with a perfect 15-0 record.

News photo
Ozeki Hakuho waves his hands to the fan during the parade after winning the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament with a perfect 15-0 record on Sunday and securing the promotion to yokozuna. KYODO PHOTO

Hakuho, who is all but certain to be promoted to grand champion, wrapped up his second straight Emperor's Cup on Saturday, and Sunday's win over sumo's lone grand champion will add to his resume for promotion.

"I want to be a strong yokozuna," Hakuho said. "I had some injuries last year but was able to stay focused and fight my own sumo."

Hakuho won the Spring tourney in March. The Japan Sumo Association will deliberate on Hakuho's promotion to the sport's highest rank on Monday and it is widely regarded that two titles in a row for an ozeki are good enough to be promoted.

Sumo hasn't had two grand champions competing at the same time since November of 2003.

If he is promoted, the 22-year-old Hakuho would become sumo's 69th yokozuna and the second from Mongolia.

In Sunday's final bout, Hakuho and Asashoryu engaged in a long standoff at the center of the ring before Hakuho finally prevailed with an arm throw that sent Asashoryu sprawling to the dirt surface.

Elsewhere, Kaio quickly dispatched fellow ozeki Kotooshu of Bulgaria to finish the tournament with a solid 10-5 record.

Kotooshu, who defeated Asashoryu in Saturday, fell to 9-6.

No. 8 maegashira Asasekiryu had an impressive run and finished with a solid 12-3 record to win the Technique Prize.

Sekiwake Kotomitsuki overpowered ozeki Chiyotaikai to finish with a 12-3 record and improve his chances for promotion to ozeki.

Chiyotaikai closed out with a 10-5 record, good enough to maintain his status at the sport's second-highest rank.

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