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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Hakuho still unbeaten heading into final day

Kyodo News

Donning a new gold mawashi, there was no mistaking who was king of the raised-ring.

News photo
Perfect run: Summer Grand Sumo Tournament winner and yokozuna Hakuho shoves ozeki Kotooshu on the 14th day of the basho on Saturday at Ryogoku Kokugikan. KYODO PHOTO

With his 14th Emperor's Cup already in the bag, yokozuna Hakuho overpowered ozeki Kotooshu to keep his undefeated streak alive on the 14th day of action at the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament on Saturday.

In the day's final at Ryogoku Kokugikan, Kotooshu got a hand inside for a belt grip after the faceoff and had aspirations of pulling off the upset and handing Hakuho his first defeat of the basho, shiny new belt and all.

But despite the ozeki's valiant effort, Hakuho wiggled out and after an extended standstill toppled the Bulgarian over the ridge to improve his slate to 14-0 at the 15-day meet.

Kotooshu slipped to a 9-5 record.

Hakuho is bidding to claim his second consecutive title with a perfect 15-0 record and is on a 31-bout winning streak. A win against ozeki Harumafuji on Sunday will give him six title victories with undefeated records.

Hakuho, who has been the sole yokozuna since countryman Asashoryu retired in February, has a personal best 33-bout winning streak.

Kotooshu last beat Hakuho at the 2009 summer meet but the Mongolian yokozuna has dominated the ozeki since.

In other bouts of note, Kotomitsuki (8-6) and Harumafuji (9-5) stared each other down before bumping heads in an all-ozeki match-up, Kotomitsuki ramming out his rival in a matter of seconds once the bout commenced.

Newly promoted Estonian ozeki Baruto (10-4) escaped sudden death after he was pushed to the edge by Kitataiki (7-7), sending the No. 4 maegashira to the sandy surface with an overarm throw.

Veteran ozeki Kaio, meanwhile, belted Aminishiki (4-10) at the faceoff and sent the sekiwake out from the rear to get his eighth win. Kaio needs one more win to reach his 1,000th career victory.

Sekiwake Kisenosato sent Hakuba (9-5) reeling with a series of shoves to post a majority of wins.

Georgian Tochinoshin put himself on the bubble after he was tripped up by Tokitenku, who improved to the same 7-7 mark.

Russian Aran picked up his 11th win of the meet with a bulldozing of Okinoumi, who dropped to 5-9.

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