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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Hakuho in driver's seat

OSAKA (Kyodo) Yokozuna Hakuho flipped over Kotooshu to zero in on his 13th championship title, while Baruto all but guaranteed promotion to ozeki with a classy win at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament on Saturday.

News photo
In the hunt: Baruto, who is one win off the pace, drops Kotoshogiku to the dirt on Saturday in the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament in Osaka. KYODO PHOTO

Hakuho (14-0) was all business in the day's final bout at Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium, wrapping Kotooshu (9-5) up at the charge before tossing the Bulgarian ozeki to the dirt with a trademark overarm throw.

The Mongolian yokozuna can bag the championship trophy with victory over ozeki and compatriot Harumafuji on the final day of the 15-day meet on Sunday.

In order to force a championship playoff and keep alive his hopes of becoming only the second European wrestler after Kotooshu to win the Emperor's Cup, Baruto (13-1) needs victory over ozeki Kotomitsuki coupled with a defeat for Hakuho.

Baruto took a leaf out of former ozeki Chiyotaikai's book with a textbook win over Kotoshogiku (9-5), stunning the third-ranked maegashira with a pair of vicious neck thrusts and finishing the job with the simplest of pulls.

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