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Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2010

Veteran Kaio matches sumo record for top-flight wins

Kyodo News

Yokozuna Hakuho beat Tochinoshin to extend his unbeaten streak to 26 bouts, while veteran ozeki Kaio rolled back the years with a vintage performance to score a record-equaling 807th makuuchi-division win at the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament on Monday.

News photo
Milestone: Kaio (right) pushes Goeido out of the ring at the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament on Monday to claim a record-equaling 807th win in the elite makuuchi division. KYODO PHOTO

Hakuho's chief rival Asashoryu made it two wins out of two but Chiyotaikai's hopes of delaying retirement took another turn for the worse as the former ozeki was sent sprawling to a second straight defeat.

Chasing his 13th title, Hakuho was all business in the day's penultimate bout at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan, breaking up a mid-ring stalemate and getting both hands on Tochinoshin's (0-2) belt to force the top-ranked Georgian over the straw bales.

Asashoryu was equally effective in wrapping up the day's action against Toyonoshima, the 24-time Emperor's Cup winner railroading the No. 1 maegashira with minimum fuss.

Kaio (1-1) had his hands full against Goeido but the 37-year-old demonstrated the gulf in class between the two and used his vice-like right-handed grip to yank the feisty No. 2 maegashira out for victory.

The Tomozuna stable war horse's 807th win in sumo's premier league put him in a tie for first with former yokozuna great Chiyonofuji on the all-time list.

"The record was not really on my mind," said Kaio. "I try and always look after myself so I think I will be able to continue wrestling even if I get injured."

"I hunger for victories and I think that is a good way of living," he added.

In an earlier bout, Chiyotaikai was put on the back foot from the charge and could find no way back as Hokutoriki unleashed a flurry of thrusts and slaps to pick up his first win of the meet.

Chiyotaikai (0-2) has dropped to sekiwake here after competing in 65 tournaments as an ozeki. The 33-year-old has said he will retire if he fails to get the 10 wins he needs for promotion back to ozeki for the next tournament.

In other action involving ozeki, Bulgarian grappler Kotooshu stayed perfect after chasing Miyabiyama (1-1) out of the dohyo as did Harumafuji, who dismantled komusubi Kotoshogiku (0-2) with maximum efficiency for win No. 2.

Kotomitsuki looked to be on top of his bout against Mongolian komusubi Kakuryu but lost momentum and got hauled down to a second loss.

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