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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Hakuho outclasses Asasekiryu, remains unbeaten in Nagoya

NAGOYA (Kyodo) Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho put on a sumo clinic to beat countryman Asasekiryu and preserve his unbeaten record at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament on Wednesday.

News photo
On the tight rope: Komusubi Toyonoshima throws down ozeki and yokozuna contender Kotooshu, handing the Bulgarian his second loss of the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium on Tuesday. KYODO PHOTO

Hakuho stayed among the early pacesetters at 4-0, while Bulgarian ozeki Kotooshu returned to winning ways after a nightmare start to his yokozuna promotion bid at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium.

Hakuho oozed class in the day's final bout, getting a firm one-handed grip on the back of Asasekiryu's belt and flooring the second-ranked maegashira (0-4) with a textbook pulling overarm throw.

Another Mongolian, sekiwake Ama, made short work of Toyonoshima (3-1), easily forcing the komusubi out to retain his share of the lead with Hakuho and rank-and-filer Tochiozan, who thrust down Georgian wrestler Kokkai (2-2).

Yokozuna Asashoryu also won convincingly, railroading No. 2 maegashira Hokutoriki to stay one win behind the leaders.

Asashoryu quickly took control of his bout and got both arms around Hokutoriki (0-4) before slamming him to the sandy surface.

Asashoryu and Hakuho were the center of controversy after almost coming to blows after their match on the final day of the summer meet and both finished with subpar 11-4 marks.

Both are looking to rebound here, with Asashoryu shooting for his 23rd Emperor's Cup, while Hakuho seeks his first championship victory since beating Asashoryu on the last day of the New Year meet.

Kotooshu, whose hopes of winning promotion to sumo's top rank of grand champion are in ruins after losing for the second time here in Tuesday's bout against Toyonoshima, bounced back when he blasted out struggling Futeno (0-4) to level his score at 2-2.



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