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Saturday, Sept. 20, 2008

Hakuho bounces back; Asa defeated again

Kyodo News

Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho came roaring back to smash his way past Tochinonada, but yokozuna rival Asashoryu was sent crashing to a shock second defeat at the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament on Friday.

Hakuho saw his 19-bout winning streak snapped by Kisenosato on Thursday, but he was never in danger of another upset in the day's penultimate bout at Ryogoku Kokugikan.

The Nagoya champion got both arms around Tochinonada (2-4) and showed excellent footwork to shunt the No. 4 maegashira over the straw bales and stay one win off the pace at 5-1.

Goeido remained the surprise sole leader at 6-0, the fifth-ranked maegashira hauling down top-ranked Kotoshogiku (2-4).

Hakuho, who is seeking his eighth overall title, shares second place with ozeki Kotomitsuki, sekiwake Ama, and Georgian maegashira Kokkai.

The day's action ended with an upset as crafty No. 4 maegashira Aminishiki (3-3) dodged Asashoryu at the charge and completed victory by sending the yokozuna out from behind with a routine shove.

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.

In other key bouts, Kotomitsuki brought Kisenosato back to earth with a thud, swinging the No. 2 maegashira round in circles before squashing him at the edge of the ring. Kisenosato dropped to 1-5.

Ozeki Kaio (3-3) was equally impressive in his bout, toppling Estonian giant Baruto (2-4) but Chiyotaikai (4-2) was helpless to stop Ama from bulldozing him out of the dohyo for a surprisingly easy fifth win.

Like Asashoryu, struggling Kotooshu also got caught napping at the charge, fifth-ranked maegashira Kakuryu (4-2) sidestepping the Bulgarian ozeki and slapping him down to his fourth loss of the meet.

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