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Saturday, Jan. 16, 2010

Hakuho takes control in New Year basho

Kyodo News

Hakuho gave Hokutoriki a good hiding to move into sole possession of the lead at the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament on Friday.

News photo
Show of force: Yokozuna Hakuho (left) overpowers Hokutoriki on Friday during the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament. Hakuho is the only remaining unbeaten wrestler in the 15-day tournament. KYODO PHOTO

The Mongolian yokozuna was at his devastating best in the day's penultimate bout at Ryogoku Kokugikan, knocking the stuffing out of third-ranked Hokutoriki in a flash to extend his winning streak to 30 bouts.

Unbeaten since the sixth day of the autumn meet back in September, Hakuho (6-0) moved into pole position after Kisenosato lost to ozeki Kotooshu on a day when yokozuna Asashoryu came roaring back from an upset defeat to sit in a 10-way tie for second.

Asashoryu wasted no time in putting Thursday's shock loss to Goeido behind him, wrapping up Kakuryu and shunting the komusubi out to a fourth loss.

Kisenosato put up a brave fight in his biggest test of the meet so far, but Kotooshu's skills paid off in the end as the Bulgarian bruiser soaked up a counterattack and bounced the third-ranked maegashira over the straw ridge. Both men are 5-1.

Elsewhere, Kaio (2-4), who has gone off the boil since the 37-year-old became the all-time career wins leader in the elite makuuchi division on Tuesday, suffered a third straight loss.

The veteran ozeki could find no response as top-ranked maegashira Toyonoshima slammed into him like a train at the charge before going on to pick up only his second win of the meet.

Ozeki Kotomitsuki was next to bite the dust and returned to the locker room nursing a 1-5 record after being yanked down by second-ranked Miyabiyama (2-4).

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