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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Hakuho, Asa maintain share of Nagoya lead

NAGOYA (Kyodo) Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho slapped down Tochiozan to preserve his unbeaten record on the sixth day of action at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament on Friday.

After allowing Tochiozan to escape his clutches at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium, Hakuho got a second bite at the cherry and made no mistake, flooring the winless No. 2 maegashira to keep his share of the lead alongside fellow Mongolian yokozuna Asashoryu and ozeki Kotooshu.

Hakuho on current form looks a good bet to take his 11th Emperor's Cup and first title in two meets, while Asashoryu wrapped up the day's action with a convincing win against komusubi Kotoshogiku (2-4).

Asashoryu spotted an opening and took full advantage as he got inside his opponent and thrust him over the straw bales.

In another key bout, Harumafuji (4-2) showed glimpses of the wrestler that clinched his first title at the summer meet in May, rebounding from Thursday's damaging loss to Aran to beat top-ranked Goeido (1-5) with an underarm throw.

Kotooshu produced a classy display to retain his share of the lead, the Bulgarian pin-up yanking down winless second-ranked maegashira Toyohibiki, but ozeki Kotomitsuki let himself down in front of his home crowd and slipped to a first loss.

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