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Saturday, Nov. 22, 2008

Hakuho, Ama remain tied after 13th day

FUKUOKA (Kyodo) Yokozuna Hakuho rebounded from the previous day's shock defeat to sekiwake Ama with a disposal of Bulgarian ozeki Kotooshu to remain in a share of the lead on the 13th day of the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament on Friday.

News photo
Winning form: Maegashira No. 8 Yoshikaze (left) beats maegashira Tokitenku on the 13th of the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament on Friday. KYODO PHOTO

Hakuho stayed on course in a bid for his third straight Emperor's Cup, sharing the lead with Ama at 11-2 after his countryman sent Miyabiyama packing at Fukuoka Kokusai Center. Rank-and-filer Yoshikaze is one off the pace at 10-3 but is unlikely to present any problems for the two leaders.

In the day's final, Hakuho took more time than necessary against Kotooshu but sent the ozeki to the dirt with a left-handed belt pulling technique. Kotooshu fell to 6-7, meaning he is one defeat from securing a majority of losses at the 15-day meet.

Ama never took his eye off the ball against Miyabiyama, unleashing a series of well-placed shoves against the beefy former ozeki in a relentless attack to stay in front.

Miyabiyama, currently a No. 7 maegashira, saw his slim title hopes all but dashed with a fourth defeat.

Ama is in line to be considered for promotion to ozeki as he has posted 33 wins in three consecutive tournaments — a rough guideline to gain promotion to sumo' second-highest rank. An extra bonus for the 24-year-old would be winning his career first title.

Kotomitsuki fell back in the running for the tournament hardware after he was knocked forward onto his hands by rival ozeki Chiyotaikai (8-5), falling to a fourth defeat.

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