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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Kotomitsuki whips Hakuho

NAGOYA (Kyodo) Sekiwake Kotomitsuki rendered a decisive blow against Hakuho to take sole possession of the lead Tuesday, sending the newly promoted grand champion to his first defeat at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament.

News photo
Sekiwake Kotomitsuki throws yokozuna Hakuho to defeat Tuesday at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament. Kotomitsuki moved to 10-0 and into the sole lead with the victory. KYODO PHOTO

Kotomitsuki, who is making his fourth bid for promotion to ozeki, got a quick jump at the faceoff and dumped his rival to the dohyo surface with a well-timed left-handed belt throw to improve to a perfect 10-0 with just five days remaining in the meet at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium.

"I can't believe I did it," said Kotomitsuki, who needs about 12 wins this time out to be considered for promotion. "I just focused on not letting him in for a belt grip and it worked."

Hakuho's defeat ended a 25-bout winning streak, extending back to the final day of the spring tourney in March.

The Mongolian wrestler won back-to-back Emperor's Cups before earning yokozuna promotion to end Asashoryu's 21-tournament reign as the sole grand champion.

Asashoryu, meanwhile, disposed of sekiwake Ama after a slight struggle to stay one behind the leader with countryman Hakuho and rank-and-filer Homasho at 9-1.

In the day's penultimate bout, Asashoryu locked up his countryman's arms after the faceoff and leaned in before lifting Ama (3-7) over the straw bales.

Asashoryu is playing catch-up after a suffering an opening-day defeat to sekiwake Aminishiki.

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