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Thursday, Sept. 23, 2010

Business as usual for Hakuho on 11th day


By DAVE HUESTON
Kyodo News

Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho inched closer to winning his fourth consecutive title with an undefeated record, ripping through newly promoted sekiwake Aran on the 11th day of the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament on Wednesday.

With no one up to the challenge, sumo's four ozeki remain as the only wall standing in front of Hakuho, who extended his winning streak to 58 bouts to match Umegatani's record feat from the Meiji period (1868-1912).

With the lone yokozuna making a peak performance, bet on that wall crumbling on the last four days of the 15-day meet at Ryogoku Kokugikan. He can potentially claim his 16th Emperor's Cup on the 13th day.

In the day's final, Hakuho stopped Aran right at the faceoff, getting his hands on the sekiwake's mawashi before sending him to the dirt with a left-handed overarm throw to improve to an 11-0 mark.

The 25-year-old Hakuho is chasing the legendary Futabayama's 69-bout run, which was set from 1936-1939 when a two-tournament system existed in prewar Japan.

It was another day of mixed blessings for sumo's second-highest rank of ozeki.

Kotooshu looked like a deer in headlights at the faceoff against Hakuba, who got both hands under the ozeki's armpits for a quick force out and his seventh win.

But Kaio, backed by a raucous crowd in an all-ozeki encounter, absorbed a fierce charge from Mongolian Harumafuji (6-5) and disposed of his rival.

Baruto (8-3) fell like a ton of bricks against Mongolian komusubi Kakuryu (7-4), who deployed an outer leg trip to topple the goliath onto his back.

Sylvester Stallone, the actor-cum-film director who was critically acclaimed for such movie roles as Rocky Balboa and is in Japan promoting his hit movie "The Expendables" along with Dolph Lundgren, who played his nemesis Ivan Drago in Rocky IV, will be in attendance to watch sumo at Ryogoku Kokugikan on Saturday, the Japan Sumo Association said.



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