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Thursday, Sept. 17, 2009

Yokozuna stay perfect after convincing wins

Kyodo News

Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho gave countryman Kyokutenho a hiding on Wednesday to preserve his perfect start to the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament.

Hakuho improved to 4-0 and fellow yokozuna Asashoryu also stayed unbeaten with another clinical win in his first meeting with Shotenro at Ryogoku Kokugikan.

Ozeki Kotomitsuki and Kotooshu prevailed to join the yokozuna in a six-way tie for the lead, but Kaio became the latest victim to fall to ozeki killer Baruto, with Harumafuji also crashing to an upset defeat.

Hakuho, who has lost just three times in regulation this year, served up a fresh reminder that he is the man to beat, wrapping up Kyokutenho at the charge and sending him packing with maximum efficiency.

Hakuho won in Nagoya in July with a 14-1 mark and looks the favorite to take the tournament hardware and join former yokozuna Futabayama with a 12th Emperor's Cup.

Wrapping up the day's action, Asashoryu, who has shown no ill effects from a knee injury that hampered his buildup to the tournament, oozed class as he steamed into winless No. 2 maegashira Shontero and calmly plopped him over the straw ridge.

Asashoryu has not won a tournament since beating Hakuho in a playoff in the New Year meet and will be hoping to celebrate his 29th birthday by holding aloft the trophy on the final day of the 15-day meet a week from Sunday.

Elsewhere, Kotomitsuki cemented his place among the early pacesetters with a quick-fire win, the ozeki easily slapping down Miyabiyama (0-4) at the charge, while Bulgarian Kootoshu followed suit in the next bout. Chiyotaikai returned to winning ways to level his record as the ozeki deployed his favored thrust-and-pull technique to floor sekiwake Kotoshogiku, who also has a 2-2 mark.

Looking to rediscover the form that put him in line for promotion to yokozuna earlier this year, Harumafuji slumped to a second defeat at the hands of No. 3 maegashira Tamanoshima.

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