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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Aminishiki sends yokozuna Hakuho to first loss of tourney

Asashoryu, six rank-and-filers share lead after fourth day in Osaka

OSAKA (Kyodo) Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho suffered his first defeat at the hands of trickster Aminishiki, falling out of a share of the lead with rival yokozuna Asashoryu, on the fourth day of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament on Wednesday.

News photo
No. 2 maegashira Aminishiki slams down yokozuna Hakuho on Wednesday during fourth-day action of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament at Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium. KYODO PHOTO

Hakuho slipped to 3-1 and is one behind Asashoryu and six rank-and-filers at the 15-day meet.

In the day's penultimate bout, Hakuho came flying out the crouch and took the No. 2 maegashira's bait hook, line and sinker as Aminishiki quickly sidestepped to send Hakuho to the dirt at Osaka Municipal Gymnasium. Aminishiki improved to 2-2.

Asashoryu, meanwhile, was all business in a rout against winless Miyabiyama in the day's final match.

After watching his rival bite the dust in the previous match, Asashoryu made no mistakes against his beefy opponent as he quickly plowed the former ozeki over the edge in a matter of seconds to improve to 4-0.

Asashoryu has taken a backseat to Hakuho since winning the Nagoya meet in July last year and sitting out the next two tournaments through suspension.

He appears all the more determined to collect his 22nd Emperor's Cup title here.

Hakuho is aiming to become only the sixth wrestler since the establishment of the six-tournament system in 1958 to win four consecutive titles.

Hakuho beat Asashoryu to spoil his comeback on the final day of the New Year meet in January and sumo's two yokozuna could be on another collision course at the 15-day meet.

It was a day of good fortune for the ozeki rank, save for Bulgarian Kotooshu, who lost his second bout.

Kotomitsuki ended a nightmare 0-3 start, finally getting his upper and lower body to groove in a lopsided victory over winless Toyonoshima.

Veteran Kaio dumped upstart Kisenosato (2-2) with a well-worked armbar technique, staying one off the pace at 3-1.

But Kotooshu once again shot himself in the foot as he stepped over the edge in a weak attempt against Mongolian top-ranked maegashira Kakuryu, who improved to 2-2 with his second ozeki kill.

Chiyotaikai (3-1) initially retreated out of the crouch but swatted down a charging Kotoshogiku, who slipped to 1-3.

Chiyotaikai is in danger of losing his ozeki status for a record-tying 11th time and must post a majority of wins here.

Mongolian sekiwake Ama manhandled Takekaze with a series of shoves to send the komusubi over the ridge to improve to 2-2.

Takekaze, who lost his 10th straight match against Ama, remained winless.

Roho, a No. 6 maegashira from Russia, slapped down compatriot Wakanoho in an earlier bout, leaving both men at 2-2.



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