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Thursday, Sept. 16, 2010

Hakuho runs winning streak to 51 straight

Kyodo News

Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho took another important step in his quest for sumo superstardom Wednesday with a hard-earned victory over Homasho at the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament.

Homasho briefly threatened to pull off a massive upset when he countered to send Hakuho sliding back across the sandy surface during the early exchanges of the day's featured bout at Ryogoku Kokugikan.

But Hakuho quickly regrouped and toppled the winless maegashira with a clinical "uwatenage" overarm throw to extending his sensational winning streak to 51 bouts.

"I thought (Homasho) had gone out of the ring so I lost my strength for a moment. Let's just say I was playing around," said Hakuho.

Hakuho, who is 7-0 against second-ranked Homasho, is now just two wins from equaling the 53-bout run achieved by former yokozuna Chiyonofuji from May to November 1988.

But he seemed more concerned about matching his father's 52-match streak in Mongolian sumo.

"My father once won 52 in a row at (Mongolian sports festival) Naadam. I want to equal that record. It reminds me of how great my father was."

The 25-year-old Hakuho has won his last three Emperor's Cups without a defeat and a repeat performance here would leave him only seven victories shy of the legendary Futabayama's all-time streak of 69.

Hakuho heads a trio of wrestlers with 4-0 records, with Bulgarian ozeki Kotooshu and 11th-ranked maegashira Yoshikaze also perfect.

Kotooshu claimed European bragging rights by barging Georgian No. 2 maegashira Tochinoshin out to a first loss while Harumafuji (3-1) avoided consecutive defeats with a routine force-out of winless maegashira Wakanosato.

In other ozeki action, Kaio (3-1) also got back on the winning trail in his bid to avoid demotion, the Tomozuna stable veteran responding to chants from his adoring fans by muscling out top-ranked Tokitenku (0-4).

Estonian giant Baruto dumped third-ranked Kotoshogiku (2-2) on top of a couple of unfortunate spectators sitting in the ringside cushions.

Elsewhere, Russian wrestler Aran finally chalked up his first win on his sekwiake debut beating Kisenosato.



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