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Friday, July 20, 2007

Big three tied for Nagoya lead

NAGOYA (AP) Newly promoted grand champion Hakuho easily defeated ozeki Kaio in a rematch and remained in a three-way tie with Asashoryu and Kotomitsuki on Thursday at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament.

News photo
Sekiwake Kotomitsuki sends ozeki Chiyotaikai to the dirt with a powerful shove to remain in a three-way tie for first at the 15-day Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium on Thursday. KYODO PHOTO

In the day's final bout at the Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium, Hakuho shoved Kaio out of the ring in a one-sided rematch. After the bout, Kaio limped from the ring. Hakuho improved to 11-1 while Kaio fell to 8-4.

In their initial match, Hakuho appeared to win by pushing Kaio off the raised ring but ringside judges ruled they fell simultaneously.

The 22-year-old Hakuho was promoted to yokozuna in May, becoming the fourth non-Japanese to reach sumo's highest rank. Hakuho earned his promotion after winning both the spring and summer tournaments this year.

Yokozuna Asashoryu also kept pace at 11-1 when he twisted ozeki Kotooshu near the center of the ring before pulling him down to the dirt.

Asashoryu, who is gunning for his 21st Emperor's Cup, improved to 11-1 while Kotooshu dropped to 7-5.

In other major bouts, komusubi Kotomitsuki bounced back from Wednesday's loss to Asashoryu when he toppled ozeki Chiyotaikai with powerful shoving to the neck before sending his opponent to the dirt.

Kotomitsuki improved to 11-1 and remained in contention for the Emperor's Cup of the 15-day tourney. Chiyotaikai fell to 7-5.

With one more win this tourney, Kotomitsuki will be highly considered for promotion to ozeki, the sumo's second highest rank, in the next tournament.

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