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Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2010

Hakuho bounces back

FUKUOKA (Kyodo) Yokozuna Hakuho hit back with a vengeance Tuesday to mow down Kotoshogiku on the third day of action at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament.

A wounded animal can be a dangerous beast and so it proved in the day's finale at Fukuoka Kokusai Center as Kotoshogiku bore the full brunt of Hakuho's backlash following the Mongolian's devastating defeat to Kisenosato.

After a slightly cautious start, Hakuho (2-1) stunned Kotoshogiku (1-2) with two juicy shots to the face to gain the upper hand, following through with a textbook "kotenage" armlock throw to send the maegashira sprawling to the sandy surface.

Hakuho's upset loss Monday to Kisenosato brought his 63-match winning streak to a halt and shattered his hopes of surpassing the all-time run of 69 set by legendary yokozuna Futabayama from 1936-1939.

But the 25-year-old, who has completely dominated the sport since compatriot and former yokozuna Asashoryu retired in February, remains the overwhelming favorite to lift his 17th Emperor's Cup.

Out to prove Monday's win was no fluke, Kisenosato prevailed in a slugfest against Mongolian ozeki Harumafuji to claim his second major scalp and improve to 3-0. Harumafuji dropped to 2-1.

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