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Monday, May 11, 2009

Hakuho eases to opening-day win

Kyodo News

Yokozuna Hakuho got off to a turbo start in his bid to win consecutive titles with a demolition of newly promoted komusubi Tochiozan on the first day of action at the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament on Sunday.

Fellow yokozuna Asashoryu, meanwhile, escaped by the skin of his teeth against newly promoted komusubi Kakuryu in the day's penultimate bout to also move into the winner's circle in pursuit of his 24th Emperor's Cup and first title in two meets.

Hakuho, who won the spring title in March with an undefeated record, hardly broke a sweat as he quickly moved in for his favored right leaning grip and proceeded to usher Tochiozan over the edge at Ryogoku Kokugikan.

Asashoryu, who is nursing an injured left elbow, lifted Kakuryu once in the air after grappling at the ring's center in an attempt at a slam dunk, but his fellow Mongolian refused to go.

The yokozuna had to do some nifty footwork with his back to the edge after Kakuryu charged forward, dodging to the side as he deployed a deft armlock technique to pick up the win.

Bulgarian pinup Kotooshu, who recently got engaged, was the only ozeki to bite the dust after being tripped up by sekiwake Goeido.

Ozeki Kotomitsuki tossed aside Takekaze, deploying an overarm throw to send the No. 2 maegashira sprawling into the ringside seats.

Mongolian ozeki Harumafuji poured on the pressure against Homasho, getting a firm grip on the No. 1 maegashira's loose arm before shoving him hard over the ridge.

Kotooshu made the mistake of allowing Goeido to lock up his arms immediately after the faceoff, and the sekiwake spun the ozeki around before flipping him to the dirt surface.

Veteran ozeki Kaio swatted down Aminishiki with little effort, while demotion-threatened Chiyotaikai got off to a strong start, shoving out Kyokutenho with a salvo of his trademark slaps.

The Kokonoe stable ozeki, who is staring down relegation for a record 13th time, is suffering from a series of injuries and illnesses and will have his work cut out for him just posting a majority of wins.



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