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Monday, Nov. 16, 2009

Asashoryu, Hakuho open Kyushu meet with wins

FUKUOKA (Kyodo) Yokozuna Asashoryu got his bid for a second consecutive title under way with a disposal of Goeido on the first day of the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament on Sunday.

News photo
Job done: Hakuho exits the ring after beating Kisenosato on Sunday. KYODO PHOTO

Rival yokozuna Hakuho, meanwhile, overpowered Kisenosato in a marathon bout to also notch a first-day win at the 15-day meet at Fukuoka Kokusai Center.

Asashoryu had no trouble with Goiedo, slapping down the komusubi immediately after the faceoff.

Asashoryu defeated Hakuho in a playoff on the final day of the autumn meet in September to win his 24th Emperor's Cup, matching former yokozuna Kitanoumi for third on the all-time list.

In the day's penultimate bout, Hakuho got locked in a standstill with Kisenosato in the center of the ring but jostled for leverage before heaving out the komusubi in a match that took nearly two minutes.

Hakuho, who is in the hunt for his 12th career title, needs 14 wins here to surpass a record of 84 held by Asashoryu for the most victories in a single year.

Mongolian ozeki Harumafuji was the lone ozeki to bite the dust in a listless battle against Kotoshogiku.

Harumafuji allowed Kotoshogiku inside for a belt grab and the No. 2 maegashira steamrolled him over the edge with little resistance from the ozeki.

Chiyotaikai, who is facing demotion from sumo's second highest rank for a record 14th time, knocked back Tokitenku with his trademark slaps before swatting the No. 2 maegashira to the dirt.

The Kokonoe stable ozeki has said he will not retire, even if he fails to get the majority of wins he needs to keep his rank for the New Year meet in January.

Kotomitsuki hardly broke sweat before lifting out Takekaze while Bulgarian pinup Kotooshu was all business as he charged out Mongolian sekiwake Kakuryu.

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