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Monday, Nov. 17, 2008

Hakuho tied for lead in Kyushu as Miyabiyama crashes to first loss

FUKUOKA (Kyodo) Yokozuna Hakuho moved into a share of the lead with rank-and-filer Miyabiyama on Sunday after handily disposing of Kisenosato at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament.

News photo
Got there in the end: Sekiwake Ama recovers from a sluggish start to dump No. 1 maegashira Toyonoshima out of the ring at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament on Sunday. KYODO PHOTO

Hakuho gained momentum in his bid for a third consecutive title after Miyabiyama dropped out of sole possession of the lead by suffering his first defeat at the hands of Kyokutenho, leaving the former ozeki in a tie with the yokozuna on 7-1.

Nine wrestlers sit one behind the co-leaders with 6-2 records.

In the day's final bout, Hakuho got both hands wrapped around Kisenosato's waist before deploying an outer-leg trip to send the No. 4 maegashira crashing to the dirt surface at Fukuoka Kokusai Center. Kisenosato slipped to 6-2.

Hakuho, who won his eighth career Emperor's Cup at the autumn meet in September, is the hot favorite to take home the tournament hardware in the absence of injury-hit yokozuna rival Asashoryu.

In another key bout, Miyabiyama never got his attack rolling against Mongolian Kyokutenho (5-3) and was sent sprawling with a beltless arm technique.

Bulgarian Kotooshu once again disappointed as he was quickly dragged down by Estonian sekiwake Baruto (6-2), leaving the ozeki with an unflattering 3-5 mark.

In stark contrast, ozeki Chiyotaikai was all business against Georgian Tochinoshin (1-7), battering the No. 4 maegashira with a maelstrom of slaps before knocking him over the edge to pick up a sixth win.

Ozeki Kotomitsuki also got in the winner's column, tossing aside Asasekiryu to post his fifth win against three defeats while leaving the No. 5 maegashira on 3-5.

Sekiwake Ama got a sluggish jump and retreated against Toyonoshima at the face-off but rebounded to dump the No. 1 maegashira with a pulling overarm throw on the edge to keep his hopes for ozeki promotion alive.

Ama needs at least 11 wins here to reach the 33 wins in three straight tournaments necessary to gain promotion to ozeki.

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