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Thursday, Nov. 15, 2007


Hakuho stays one victory behind leaders

FUKUOKA (Kyodo) Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho dispensed of Kisenosato to stay hot on the heels of three leaders after the fourth day of action at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament on Wednesday.

News photo
No. 16 maegashira Baruto forces out 13th-ranked Wakanoho to stay undefeated on Wednesday in the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament at Fukuoka Kokusai Center. KYODO PHOTO

Hakuho improved to 3-1 to stay one behind undefeated wrestlers ozeki Chiyotaikai, former sekiwake Wakanosato and makuuchi returnee Baruto of Estonia.

After a short exchange of blows in the day's final, Hakuho got his favored right-handed "morozashi" grip on Kisenosato before calmly ushering him out of the ring at Fukuoka Kokusai Center. Kisenosato slipped to a 1-3 mark.

Hakuho is seeking his fifth career title and is the hot favorite to win the Emperor's Cup in the absence of suspension-hit grand champion Asashoryu.

Asashoryu, who was banned from competing after he was punished for playing in a charity soccer match in his native Mongolia despite having claimed injuries that allowed him to miss a regional tour, will return for the New Year meet in January.

Meanwhile it was a day of mixed blessings for sumo's ozeki, with Bulgarian Kotooshu the only one of sumo's second-highest rank to bite the dust.

Ozeki Chiyotaikai dodged a bullet against Ama (2-2), teetering on one leg as Ama fell to the dirt when the ozeki deployed an armlock throw against the Mongolian komusubi.

Ozeki Kotomitsuki (3-1) made short work of winless Miyabiyama, smashing the top-ranked maegashira to the dirt immediately out of the crouch.

However Bulgarian ozeki Kotooshu was once again the victim of his "small-scale" sumo when he attempted to swat Dejima after the faceoff, only to be immediately bowled over the edge to a second defeat.

Dejima, a former ozeki, improved to 3-1.

Veteran ozeki Kaio (3-1) got his favored left-hand grip on winless Homasho and bulldozed the No. 1 maegashira over the edge after a short standstill.

The injury-plagued 35-year-old Kaio is facing demotion for a record 11th time and is fighting for his pride in front of his hometown fans.

Wakanosato, who is currently a No. 8 maegashira, withstood a hard slap across the face from Hokutoriki (1-3) before barging his opponent over the edge to stay undefeated.

Crowd favorite Takamisakari fell out of a share of the lead after charging Yoshikaze to the edge, only to have the No. 10 maegashira deploy a backward pivot throw at the last second for the win.

Yoshikaze improved to an even 2-2 mark.

Baruto, who is a No. 16 maegashira, held off fierce challenge from makuuchi debutant Wakanoho from Russia (2-2), twisting his opponent with an underhanded grip before tossing him into the third row of ringside seats.

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