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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Hakuho still in hunt for 11th career title

NAGOYA (Kyodo) Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho and ozeki Kotooshu retained their perfect slates in a tie for the lead on the 10th day of action at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament on Tuesday.

Hakuho made mincemeat of ozeki Chiyotaikai, while Kotooshu bulldozed sekiwake Kisenosato in a one-way affair to stay hot in the title race at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium.

In the day's penultimate bout, Hakuho absorbed a monster charge by Chiyotaikai (5-5), gliding his feet smoothly across the dohyo surface before crushing the ozeki over the edge with a beltless arm throw. Hakuho is seeking his 11th career title here.

Kotooshu got a turbo jump at the faceoff, keeping his center of gravity low as he toppled Kisenosato (7-3) into the ringside seats. The Bulgarian pinup is aiming for his first title since winning his career first Emperor's Cup last May.

Rival yokozuna Asashoryu, meanwhile, recovered from two consecutive defeats in a mediocre display against Mongolian compatriot Kakuryu, improving his mark to 8-2.

Asashoryu, who is nursing an injured shoulder, kept Kakuryu (3-7) at bay by using his head as a brace and bumbled about the ring before sending the sekiwake out from behind.

Ozeki Kotomitsuki kept his composure against Baruto (7-3) after the Estonian big man locked him in a bearhug at the center of the ring, sliding out of his opponent's clutches before knocking him over the edge to stay one behind the leaders.

In an all-ozeki encounter, Harumafuji swept out Kaio's leg with a hand-sweeping technique to pick up a seventh win. Kaio slipped to an even 5-5.



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