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Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2008

Hakuho bounces back from upset

FUKUOKA (Kyodo) Yokozuna Hakuho rebounded from a shock opening-day defeat to see off top-ranked maegashira Toyonoshima at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament on Monday.

News photo
Wounded lion: Yokozuna Hakuho (right) gets to grips with top-ranked maegashira Toyonoshima at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament on Monday. KYODO PHOTO

Reeling from an opening-day upset to Aminishiki, Hakuho appeared hesitant at the charge but bided his time before sending Toyonoshima (1-1) crashing into the ringside cushions in the day's finale to chalk his first win at Fukuoka Kokusai Center.

Hakuho, who won his eighth career Emperor's Cup at the autumn meet in September, is the lone yokozuna wrestling at the 15-day meet.

Rival Asashoryu is sitting out the tourney with an injured left elbow. The withdrawal of the 22-time Emperor's Cup winner has prompted speculation that his career will be on the line should he return at the New Year meet in January.

In other key bouts, Chiyotaikai (1-1) became Aminishiki's latest high profile victim on another day of contrasting fortunes for ozeki wrestlers.

Kotomitsuki got spun around after a promising start and bundled out to a first loss by second-ranked Wakanosato (2-0).

"I can't believe it. Hopefully I can get on a bit of a roll," said Wakanosato after claiming his second ozeki scalp in a row.

"I was just going all out for it so I don't really remember much of the bout. I'm not in bad condition and one of my goals is to return to sanyaku," the former sekiwake added, referring to the top three ranks below yokozuna.

Bulgarian ozeki Kotooshu bounced back from Sunday's defeat to Wakanosato by slapping down top-ranked Futeno (0-2), but Chiyotaikai lost his way as komusubi Aminishiki yanked the ozeki off-balance and pushed him over the edge at the second time of asking.

"I thought I had won the first time around," said Aminishiki. "I knew I had to go all out again and I am glad I didn't lose my focus."



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