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Saturday, Sept. 25, 2010
Hakuho overpowers Baruto, keeps streak alive
By DAVE HUESTON
The road to an immaculate 60th straight win was almost too perfect.
At least Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho made it look that way, disposing of Estonian ozeki Baruto with another powerful display of genius at the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament on Friday.
Having all but clinched his 16th Emperor's Cup, Hakuho defeated Baruto with his trademark overarm throw in the day's final to improve to 13-0 at the 15-day Tokyo meet.
With maegashira wrestlers Takekaze and Yoshikaze both pulling off wins to remain in the title race at 11-2, Hakuho had to wait at least another day in his bid to capture his fourth consecutive title.
In the day's final at Ryogoku Kokugikan, Hakuho hit Baruto with series of shoves before getting his hand inside for his favored right leaning grip. Baruto (8-5) tried to resist but the yokozuna calmly twisted the giant before tossing him over the edge.
The victory placed Hakuho within nine of the legendary Futabayama, who had a 69-bout run from 1936-39, when only the summer and spring tournaments were held.
The lone yokozuna, who is also aiming for an unprecedented fourth championship with a perfect 15-0 mark, reached 70 wins for his fourth consecutive year with the most wins in sumo. He can clinch the title with a win over Kotooshu on Saturday.
In other key bouts, Takekaze jumped to his side at the face-off against Kimurayama (7-6) before running out his opponent from behind, while Yoshikaze charged forward against Georgian Kokkai (8-5) before using his hands to topple his opponent over the edge, the rank-and-filer wrestlers keeping their slim title hopes alive.
Veteran ozeki Kaio responded to calls of his adoring fans, pulling over Aminishiki (7-6) by the hands after a dynamite charge at the face-off to move within one win of keeping his rank.
Harumafuji (8-5), meanwhile, sent Bulgarian Kotooshu (9-4) sprawling with a rear throw down technique after rattling his fellow ozeki with a vicious throat grab.
Mongolian Kakuryu got hemmed up by Kotoshogiku, who used his belly to bump out the komusubi after getting his right hand inside for a solid belt grip. Both men are at 8-5.
Komusubi Kisenosato, who is on the verge of sinking to a losing record, got into a slugfest with Mongolian Tokusegawa (5-8) before pulverizing the No. 4 maegashira with a salvo of shoves to pick up his sixth win.