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Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2008

Hakuho, Miyabiyama remain tied

FUKUOKA (Kyodo) Yokozuna Hakuho overpowered fellow Mongolian Asasekiryu to stay on course for his third consecutive Emperor's Cup at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament on Tuesday.

Hakuho was in a class of his own in the day's finale at Fukuoka Kokusai Center, fending off Asasekiryu's (3-7) advances and calmly lifting the No. 5 maegashira over the straw bales for a textbook win.

Hakuho heads into the final third of the 15-day meet tied with maegashira Miyabiyama (9-1).

The 23-year-old is odds-on favorite to add to his Emperor's Cup haul in the absence of injured rival Asashoryu.

In an earlier bout, seventh-ranked Miyabiyama emerged victorious in a slapfest with Yoshikaze (7-3) to keep alive his hopes of a first championship title in sumo's top flight.

The former ozeki smothered his 12th-ranked opponent and knocked him off balance with a series of blows to the face before a shove from behind completed the job.

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