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Thursday, Nov. 26, 2009

Yokozuna stay on target for title opportunity

FUKUOKA (Kyodo) Joint leaders Asashoryu and Hakuho showed no signs of cracking as both yokozuna scored comfortable 11th wins on Wednesday to remain on course for another showdown at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament.

News photo
Power game: Kotooshu (right) edges out Baruto in the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament on Wednesday in Fukuoka. KYODO PHOTO

The unbeaten Mongolian pair moved two wins clear of the field after ninth-ranked maegashira Yoshikaze dropped his second bout against Tamawashi to share second place with Bulgarian ozeki Kotooshu and two other wrestlers at 9-2 in the 15-day meet.

Asashoryu produced another classy performance in the day's final bout at Fukuoka Kokusai Center, intercepting Kaio's attempts to get ahold of his right side before clamping onto the front of the ozeki's belt and shunting him out to a fourth loss.

Hakuho wrapped up the day's action with a meat-and-potatoes win over ozeki Harumafuji (5-6), breaking a mid-ring stalemate to usher his countryman out of the dohyo.

Kotooshu dug in deep to move Estonian giant Baruto (5-6) over the edge and keep alive his outside chances of the title. Georgian No. 8 maegashira Tochinoshin and fifth-ranked Toyonoshima also have nine wins.

Earlier in the day, Chiyotaikai, whose eighth loss of the tournament on Tuesday sealed his demotion to sumo's third rank of sekiwake, withdrew from the tournament citing knee and elbow injuries and forfeited his bout with ozeki Kotomitsuki (7-4).

The Kokonoe stable veteran came into the Kyushu meet with his rank on the line for a record 14th time and lost eight in a row after winning his first two bouts.

Chiyotaikai still has a chance to return to ozeki with 10 wins in the New Year basho in Tokyo.

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