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Monday, May 19, 2008

Hakuho wins easily; Kotooshu keeps pace

Kyodo News

Hakuho gave giant-killing komusubi Kisenosato a sumo lesson to preserve his unbeaten record heading toward the final third of the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament on Sunday.

Hakuho improved to 8-0 to stay tied for the lead with Bulgarian bulldozer Kotooshu, while fellow Mongolian yokozuna Asashoryu continued to lurk in the background one win adrift after a demolition of Tokitenku.

Kisenosato (5-3) stunned Asashoryu on opening day and has also claimed two ozeki scalps, but the up-and-coming youngster was put firmly in his place in the day's final bout as Hakuho spotted an opening and dragged the komusubi down by the back of the head.

Kotooshu came into the 15-day basho with his rank on the line but has been in scintillating form and secured ozeki status for the next meet with another convincing win.

Kotooshu got a vice-like grip on Kaio's (4-4) belt and it was one-way traffic from that point onward as sumo's answer to David Beckham sent the aging ozeki backpedaling out of the ring.

In the day's penultimate match Asashoryu gobbled up compatriot Tokitenku (4-4) like a Venus Flytrap and dispatched the fourth-ranked maegashira with maximum efficiency to keep his sights firmly fixed on back-to-back titles.

Asashoryu, who beat Hakuho on the final day of the spring meet in March, is aiming for his 23rd Emperor's Cup while Hakuho is in the hunt for his seventh career title and first in two basho.

Meanwhile, ozeki Chiyotaikai's alarming dip in form continued as he slumped to a third defeat in a row to previously winless Georgian grappler Kokkai, but there was no such trouble for Kotomitsuki, who wrapped up komusubi Asasekiryu (4-4) and shoveled him over the straw ridge for a fifth win.

At sekiwake, Mongolian whippet Ama eked out a narrow victory over Russian teenager Wakanoho (3-5) while Kotoshogiku also improved to 5-3, completing a winning double for sumo's third rank by dismantling Estonian tower block Baruto (1-7).

In an earlier bout, Toyonoshima kept in touch with the leaders after the fifth-ranked maegashira toppled South Korean grappler Kasugao (3-5).

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