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Saturday, Jan. 19, 2008

NEW YEAR GRAND SUMO TOURNAMENT

Hakuho overpowers Kisenosato, improves to 6-0

Kyodo News

Yokozuna Hakuho gave Kisenosato a sumo clinic to stay in the sole lead with a perfect 6-0 record, while fellow yokozuna Asashoryu stayed hot in pursuit one off the pace at the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament on Friday.

News photo
Yokozuna Hakuho (left) drives maegashira No. 1 Kisenosato out of the ring as fellow yokozuna Asashoryu watches on the sixth day of the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan on Friday. KYODO PHOTO

Hakuho, the reigning Emperor's Cup champion, came screeching out of the crouch with a quick slap to his opponent's head and heaved the top-ranked maegashira over the edge before Kisenosato knew what had hit him.

Kisenosato slipped to 4-2.

Asashoryu, meanwhile, making his comeback from a two-tournament ban, toppled Miyabiyama (2-4) onto the dohyo surface with a pull to the back of the head in the day's final bout at Ryogoku Kokugikan.

Anxious to underscore his dominance on his return after three meets, Asashoryu sits in a group of seven wrestlers one behind Hakuho with 5-1 records.

After a winning start, Asashoryu was tripped up on the second day of the 15-day meet in a defeat to Kisenosato.

Although Asashoryu is still somewhat shaky, he has been steadily gaining momentum since with four straight wins.

In other key bouts, it was once again a near meltdown for sumo's four ozeki.

Winless Chiyotaikai, who is nursing a right-elbow injury, failed to get his trademark thrusting attack rolling and was abruptly sent packing by Aminishiki (4-2).

But demotion-threatened Kotooshu moved a step closer to easing his relegation worries by slapping down Goeido (1-5) immediately after the faceoff, improving to 4-2.

It was the first time this meet that the Bulgarian ozeki won two straight bouts.

Veteran Kaio, however, fell into the clever clutches of Mongolian sekiwake Ama, who spun around the ozeki and shoved his opponent out from behind after getting him off balance with a stiff arm. Both wrestlers were left with 3-3 records.

Kotomitsuki was the third ozeki to bite the dust after running into a wall in the form of Toyonoshima, who absorbed the ozeki's charge before quickly barging his opponent over the edge. Both men sit at 3-3.



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