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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Hakuho handles Kaio to clinch Nagoya title

NAGOYA (AP) Yokozuna Hakuho clinched his seventh Emperor's Cup on Friday after a convincing win over veteran ozeki Kaio on the 13th day of the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament.

Hakuho muscled Kaio out of the ring after both men prevented each other from going inside in a tactical bout, which saw the 23-year-old from Ulan Bator secure his first tournament victory since the New Year meet with an insurmountable 13-0 record.

Hakuho became the first wrestler to clinch an Emperor's Cup on the 13th day since fellow Mongolian yokozuna Asashoryu did it in January 2005. Asashoryu, a 22-time winner in the elite makuuchi division, pulled out of the Nagoya tourney early on because of an elbow injury.

The next goal for Hakuho is to complete the ongoing basho at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium with a perfect 15-0 record. He has won all matches in a tournament once in his career — at last year's summer tourney where his triumph earned him promotion to sumo's highest rank.

In other bouts, ozeki Kotomitsuki (10-3) reached double-digit wins after exchanges of arm thrusts with fifth-ranked maegashira Miyabiyama (7-6), who eventually backpedaled over the ring in the face of powerful belt-grip shoves.

Bulgarian wrestler Kotooshu, winner of the summer meet in May, held a tight left-hand grip on the belt and muscled out fellow ozeki Chiyotaikai (8-5) to improved to 9-4.

Sekiwake Ama (9-4) barged out Asasekiryu to notch his ninth win in an all-Mongolian bout.

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