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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Hakuho wins, stays tied for lead

NAGOYA (AP) Grand champion Hakuho of Mongolia defeated Takekaze on Wednesday to remain undefeated and tied for the lead at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament.

In the day's final bout at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium, newly-promoted grand champion Hakuho stunned Takekaze with a series of slaps to the head before swatting the winless third-ranked maegashira down to improve to 4-0.

The 22-year-old Hakuho was promoted to grand champion in May, becoming the fourth non-Japanese to reach sumo's highest rank. Hakuho earned promotion after winning both the spring and summer tournaments this year and is off to a strong start in his debut at the sport's highest rank.

Hakuho is tied for the lead with Kotomitsuki.

In other major bouts, grand champion Asashoryu improved to 3-1, winning by default after Russian Roho was forced to pull out.

Roho withdrew on Wednesday after hurting his lower back during a bout Tuesday.

Roho, wrestling as a No. 3 maegashira, sustained the injury in a win over ozeki Chiyotaikai. He fell to 3-1 after Wednesday's default.

Mongolian Asashoryu is gunning for his 21st Emperor's Cup.

Sekiwake Kotomitsuki stayed tied for the lead at 4-0 after lifting Aminishiki out over the straw ridge. Komusubi Aminishiki fell to 1-3.

Ozeki Chiyotaikai improved to 3-1 when he used a powerful arm thrust to send komusubi Tokitenku toppling off the dirt surface.

Tokitenku, who dropped to 1-3, was no match for Chiyotaikai and ended up in the first row of seats.

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