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Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2009

Hakuho still chasing Asashoryu's shadow

Kyodo News

Yokozuna Asashoryu handed out a high-octane beating to Chiyotaikai, retaining the lead with a perfect 9-0 record at the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament on Monday.

Yokozuna Hakuho, meanwhile, kept his hopes alive of winning back-to-back titles after dispatching sekiwake Kisenosato and shares second place with Sadogatake ozeki pair Kotomitsuki and Kotooshu, just one defeat off his rival at Ryogoku Kokugikan.

Asashoryu, who is seeking his 24th career title and first in three meets, launched a full throttle attack against Chiyotaikai, grappling his opponent under the armpits before shoving the ozeki into the ringside seats. Chiyotaikai fell to a dismal 2-7 record.

Hakuho appeared slightly in danger of being knocked over the ridge by Kisenosato but deployed a well-timed beltless arm throw at the last second to stay in the running. A 12th career win for Hakuho here will put him in a tie with former yokozuna Futabayama.

In a rumble of wrestlers with one loss, Kotomitsuki sent Kakuryu crumbling to the dirt with a wallop to the jaw when the No. 3 maegashira tried to move in for a strike of his own.

Bulgarian Kotooshu absorbed a fierce charge by Aminishiki (2-7), backpedaling once before circling around to pummel the komusubi out from the rear.

Harumafuji's (6-3) bout against Mongolian countryman Kyokutenho (2-7) was over in a flash after the ozeki quickly pushed the No. 2 maegashira over the ridge with minimal resistance.

Kaio (6-3) dodged a bullet against Miyabiyama (2-7), swaying off-balance when he tried an ill-advised strike before regrouping to twist the No. 1 maegashira down near the edge.

Estonian giant Baruto manhandled Shotenro (1-8), swinging his smaller opponent around the ring like a rag doll before heaving him over the straw bales to stay in contention with just two defeats.

Early on, crowd favorite Takamisakari (5-4) won a match by default when Russian wrestler Aran was penalized for pulling his opponent's topknot in violation of the sumo's rules.



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