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Monday, Sept. 14, 2009

Yokozuna Hakuho, Asa record wins on opening day of basho

Kyodo News

Yokozuna Hakuho made mincemeat of Aminishiki to get off to a convincing start in his bid to win consecutive titles on the first day of the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament on Sunday.

News photo
Rocket start: Yokozuna Asashoryu pushes Baruto out of the ring on the first day of the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament in Tokyo on Sunday. KYODO PHOTO

Fellow yokozuna Asashoryu, meanwhile, banged up Estonian giant Baruto in the day's penultimate match to start his campaign in the winner's circle.

Hakuho, who is aiming for his 12th Emperor's Cup after winning the Nagoya meet in July, got his left hand on Aminishiki's "mawashi" belt before ushering the komusubi calmly over the ridge at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan.

Odds-on favorite Hakuho will put himself in a tie with former yokozuna Futabayama with a title victory at the 15-day meet.

Asashoryu, who is trying to win his first title in three meets with an injured right knee, lifted komusubi Baruto in the air twice before sending him flying headfirst past the ringside seats.

In another key bout, Kotooshu, who posted an impressive 13-2 mark in Nagoya, was in no mood for games when he drilled out Kisenosato in a matter of seconds.

The Bulgarian ozeki, who is nursing a left knee injury, moved in quickly at the faceoff, getting both hands under the sekiwake's armpits before driving him over the edge.

Kaio, meanwhile, disposed of Shotenro in convincing fashion, while fellow ozeki Harumafuji sent heavyweight Miyabiyama packing with a series of well-placed shoves. Kaio has tied a record for appearing in the elite makuuchi division in his 97th meet.

Ozeki Kotomitsuki never dropped the ball against Georgian Tochinoshin, grappling his opponent's mawashi before sending him sprawling to the dirt with a well-timed overarm throw.

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