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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Hakuho moves to win away from 10th title

OSAKA (Kyodo) Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho put one hand up on the tournament hardware with a victory over Kotooshu on Friday, maintaining a two-win cushion over rival Asashoryu with two days remaining at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament.

News photo
Gritty spirit: Toyonoshima (right) endures a throw by Yamamotoyama on the 13th day of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament in Osaka on Friday. KYODO PHOTO

Hakuho improved his unbeaten streak to 13-0 and can wrap up his 10th Emperor's Cup title with a victory over ozeki Kaio in the final bout on Saturday.

In the day's penultimate bout at Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium, Hakuho had trouble securing a belt grip against Bulgarian ozeki Kotooshu but deployed a powerful overarm throw when his opponent tried to muscle him over the edge. Kotooshu slipped to 8-5.

Asashoryu, who is aiming for his 24th career title after making a memorable comeback by beating Hakuho in a playoff on the final day of the New Year meet in January, manhandled Kaio in the day's final bout to keep his slim title hopes alive at 11-2.

In an all-ozeki confrontation, Kotomitsuki emerged the winner over Chiyotaikai (2-11), staving off his opponent's trademark thrusting attack with a solid defense before shoving him out.

Kotomitsuki notched a majority of wins to retain his rank.

Mongolian ozeki Harumafuji escaped sudden defeat when he dodged a thrust by Miyabiyama (4-9) with his back on the edge and countered to ram the burly No. 3 maegashira over for his eighth win.

In the lower ranks, Homasho (10-3) won his eighth straight bout after falling behind 2-3, tackling out Tamawashi, who slipped to 7-6.

Yamamotoyama (7-6), who at 248 kg is the heaviest active wrestler, deployed an overarm throw against Toyonoshima (7-6) only for the No. 6 maegashira to slip out once, but tossed his opponent over the edge on the second charge using the same technique.

Sekiwake Baruto kept his chances of securing a winning record alive when he shoved out Mongolian Kyokutenho to move to 6-7. Komusubi Kyokutenho dropped to 4-9.

Top maegashira Kakuryu wrapped up a winning record when he forced out sekiwake Kisenosato (5-8) to pick up his eighth win against five losses.

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