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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Yokozuna Hakuho edges closer to title

Kyodo News

Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho took a big step toward claiming his 14th Emperor's Cup with a hard-fought win over veteran ozeki Kaio at the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament on Wednesday.

News photo
No way out: Aran sends Kyokutenho out of the ring on the 11th day of the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament in Tokyo on Wednesday. KYODO PHOTO

Hakuho made it 11 wins out of 11 at the 15-day Tokyo meet, while losses by Estonian ozeki Baruto and two rank-and-filer wrestlers left Russian maegashira Aran alone in second place with a 9-2 record.

Hakuho was locked in a mid-ring stalemate with Kaio but bided his time before guiding him to the sandy surface with a beltless arm throw in the day's finale at Ryogoku Kokugikan, extending his winning streak to 28 bouts.

The rock-solid lone yokozuna will take on Baruto on Thursday. Baruto has beaten Hakuho only once — at the New Year basho four months ago — in their 13 meetings.

Kaio dropped to 6-5 and remained three wins away from 1,000 for his career.

Harumafuji dealt a fresh blow to fellow ozeki Baruto's bid to become the second European wrestler after Bulgarian Kotooshu to win a title, sending the man mountain sprawling with an underarm throw to leave both men at 8-3.

Baruto had fallen to Kotooshu a day earlier.

Tenth-ranked Aran got both hands on Kyokutenho's (6-5) belt before flipping him out of the ring to remain two wins behind Hakuho.

Ozeki Kotomitsuki (7-4) forced out Hakuba (8-3) after throwing the fifth-ranked Mongolian maegashira off-balance with a hard thrust to the neck.

No. 15 maegashira Shimotori was bundled out to a third loss by eighth-ranked Toyohibiki (5-6).

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