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Friday, Sept. 19, 2008

Kisenosato puts end to Hakuho's winning run

Kyodo News

Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho was stunned in a shock first defeat Thursday, falling at the hands of Kisenosato at the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament.

With the loss, Hakuho fell out of a share of the lead and saw his winning streak since claiming the title at the Nagoya meet with a perfect 15-0 record snapped at 19.

Hakuho showed nothing resembling the dominant form he had the four previous days, retreating easily when charged by Kisenosato, who won his first bout of the 15-day meet at Ryogoku Kokugikan.

Unlikely front-runner Goeido, a No. 5 maegashira, holds the early lead with a 5-0 record while Hakuho, who is seeking his eighth overall title, and rival Mongolian yokozuna Asashoryu trail in a group of 10 wrestlers one off the pace at 4-1.

In the day's penultimate bout, Asashoryu got inside for a low belt grip on countryman Kyokutenho before muscling the No. 3 maegashira over the edge. Kyokutenho slipped to 1-4.

Asashoryu, who is nursing a left-elbow injury, is seeking his 23rd Emperor's Cup and first title since winning the spring basho in March with a defeat of Hakuho on the final day.

Ozeki Chiyotaikai (4-1) unleashed his fury on Kotoshogiku (2-3), who committed three false starts before the match began, smashing the top-ranked maegashira in the chin with an elbow before packing him out from behind.

But battle-worn ozeki Kaio was heaved out from the rear by sekiwake Toyonoshima (2-3), dropping to his third defeat.

Bulgarian ozeki Kotooshu (2-3) snapped a three-day losing skid, crouching down low before barging out Mongolian komusubi Asasekiryu, who has the same 2-3 mark.

Ozeki Kotomitsuki, meanwhile, came to a standstill against Baruto (2-3) before locking up his opponent's hands and escorting the Estonian komusubi over the edge to improve to 4-1.

Mongolian sekiwake Ama stayed close in the running at 4-1, bursting forward with a fierce attack of shoves to dispose of Miyabiyama (2-3).

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