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Sunday, July 15, 2007

Hakuho plows through Aminishiki

NAGOYA (Kyodo) Grand champion debutant Hakuho and promotion-chasing sekiwake Kotomitsuki stayed undefeated in a share of the lead, grinding out convincing wins on the seventh day of the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament on Saturday.

News photo
Yokozuna Hakuho, right, unleashes an arm-twist throw against komusubi Aminishiki on the seventh day of the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium on Saturday. The Mongolian is undefeated at 7-0. KYODO PHOTO

In the penultimate bout at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium, Hakuho got Aminishiki in an arm brace right after the face-off and flung the komusubi into the ringside seats to improve to 7-0. Aminishiki, who nearly got a foot outside for a leg trip, slipped to 3-4.

With the victory, Hakuho stretched his winning streak to 23 bouts in regulation extending back to a win on the final day of the spring tourney.

Hometown favorite Kotomitsuki, who is in a bid for ozeki promotion for the fourth time, stood up once against Takamisakari (1-6) before the face-off, but hit the fourth-ranked maegashira with a powerful blow and crushed him over the edge.

Kotomitsuki is believed to need 12 wins to make the jump from sumo's third highest rank, where he wrestling for a record 22nd time.

Yokozuna Asashoryu, meanwhile, struggled somewhat in his bout against Mongolian komusubi Tokitenku in the day's final match but stayed one off the pace at 6-1.

Asashoryu, who suffered an upset against Aminishiki on the opening day, pushed his opponent up against the raised edge but Tokitenku (2-5) battled back before the yokozuna reached down in his energy reserves to muscle out his countryman.

Asashoryu is aiming for his 21st Emperor's Cup title and first in two meets but still appears to lack the dominant form of sumo he is known for.

In other key bouts, ozeki Kaio swatted down Dejima (3-4) immediately after the face-off to move to 6-1 and notched his 703rd career win in the elite division.

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