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Sunday, Sept. 23, 2007

Hakuho closing in on Emperor's Cup after win

Kyodo News

Mongolian grand champion Hakuho gave rank-and-filer Goeido a lesson in the law of the jungle, beating the lowly ranked wrestler to maintain the sole lead with one day remaining in the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament on Saturday.

News photo
Yokozuna Hakuho forces down No. 14 maegashira Goeido to improve his record to 12-2 on the 13th day of the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament on Saturday at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan. Goeido fell to 10-4. KYODO PHOTO

In the day's final at Ryogoku Kokugikan, Hakuho grabbed Goeido's right arm after the face-off and sent him crashing to the dohyo surface with an arm-pulling technique, improving to a record of 12-2. Goeido, a 14th-ranked maegashira, slipped to 10-4.

It was the first time in 12 years that a makuuchi debutant went up against a yokozuna and Hakuho was not about to allow Goeido the satisfaction of an upset. Goeido, to his credit, knocked the yokozuna off-balance slightly before hitting the dirt.

The 22-year-old Hakuho is just one win away from winning his first Emperor's Cup as a grand champion and fourth overall title, but the pressure is on as he must knock off ozeki Chiyotaikai on the final day.

Kyokutenho is the only other wrestler with a mathematical shot of overtaking the yokozuna, but must defeat Tamakasuga in an early bout to stay in the running.

The Mongolian Kyokutenho stayed clear in the title race, thrashing countryman Ama in a battle of wrestlers tied with three losses.

Komusubi Ama (10-4) attempted a throat grab after the face-off but it backfired as Kyokutenho charged forward in a relentless attack, smothering his opponent to the dirt surface.

Bulgarian ozeki Kotooshu dropped to a third straight loss.



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