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Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2007

Hakuho beats Kakuryu on shock-filled third day

Kyodo News

Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho discarded rank-and-filer Kakuryu to stay one off the pace in his chase for his fourth career title on the third day of action at the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament on Tuesday.

News photo
No. 3 maegashira Hokutoriki (right) forces ozeki Kaio out of the ring at Ryogoku Kokugikan on Tuesday. KYODO PHOTO

Hakuho wasted no time as he went directly in for the kill in a textbook frontal take out of the No. 2 maegashira to improve to 2-1 at Ryogoku Kokugikan. Kakuryu fell to 1-2.

On a day when three ozeki, including newly promoted ozeki Kotomitsuki, hit the dirt for shock defeats, Hakuho was nothing but business in the day's finale after rebounding from an opening-day loss to compatriot Ama.

Promoted to sumo's highest rank after the summer meet, Hakuho is wrestling as the lone grand champion here and is hoping to capitalize on the absence of chief rival Asashoryu, who has been suspended from this tournament and the Kyushu meet in November.

Asashoryu, who won his 21st Emperor's Cup at the Nagoya meet in July, is currently at home in Mongolia undergoing treatment for a stress disorder.

Kotomitsuki, meanwhile, dropped to a first defeat at the hands of Mongolian giant-killer Ama (2-1).

The komusubi was far too quick out of the crouch for the ozeki and moved deftly around from the left for a firm belt grip before ushering Kotomitsuki over the straw bales.

Bulgarian Kotooshu was another ozeki casualty.

He got called for a mono-ii (judging disagreement) for the second straight day when ringside judges found his bout too close to call in a match against Tochinonada (1-2) but was dumped to a first loss in a matter of seconds in the rematch.

Chiyotaikai, wrestling in a record 52nd tournament at sumo's second-highest rank, swatted down Dejima (1-2) to remain perfect after three days.

However injury-weary Kaio, a 35-year-old veteran ozeki, was sent backpedaling like a featherweight over the edge to a third straight loss by Hokutoriki, who improved to 1-2.

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