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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Harumafuji's bid for promotion hits snag

NAGOYA (Kyodo) Ozeki Harumafuji suffered a near fatal blow in his bid for promotion, falling to a first defeat at the hands of komusubi Kotoshogiku on the third day of action at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament on Tuesday.

News photo
Big step back: Harumafuji (right) faces off against Kotoshogiku during the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament on Tuesday. The promotion-chasing Ozeki lost the bout. KYODO PHOTO

Harumafuji never got his arsenal loaded and was abruptly shown the exit in a textbook frontal force out by Kotoshogiku at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium. Kotoshogiku improved to 1-2.

The wrestler formerly known as Ama needed to win big in the early going in the 15-day meet for a shot at promotion to sumo's ultimate rank of yokozuna and his defeat was a near death sentence unless he can win his second consecutive title here.

Yokozuna Hakuho, the odds-on tournament favorite, manhandled winless Russian wrestler Aran in the day's final bout, tossing aside the No. 1 maegashira with an overarm throw to stay perfect. Hakuho is seeking his 11th career title and first in two meets.

Fellow yokozuna Asashoryu, who is in the hunt for his career 24th Emperor's Cup here, had to dodge a bullet in a bout against Goeido, but also improved to 3-0.

Asashoryu got held up at the ring's center by Goeido (1-2), who did his best to throw the uncharacteristically flustered yokozuna off-balance but the grand champion regrouped to shove the No. 1 maegashira out.

Bulgarian ozeki Kotooshu picked up his third win, slapping down sekiwake Kakuryu (1-2) after the face-off.

Chiyotaikai was the second ozeki to bite the dust when he went backpedaling without a struggle to a second consecutive defeat against komusubi Kyokutenho, who improved to 1-2.

Local ozeki favorite Kotomitsuki gave the crowd a boisterous cheer by churning out a third victory against winless Toyohibiki.

Veteran Kaio picked up his second win after a first-day loss with a quick swatting of winless Tochiozan.

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