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Sunday, Jan. 23, 2011

Hakuho tops Baruto to clinch title

Kyodo News

Hakuho captured his sixth consecutive title with room to spare after a power-laden victory over ozeki Baruto on the penultimate day of the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament on Saturday.

News photo
No contest: Yokozuna Hakuho rolls over Baruto to clinch his sixth-straight Emperor's Cup. KYODO PHOTO

The lone yokozuna became only the third man in history to claim six straight titles, following Taiho, who achieved the feat twice, and Asashoryu, who holds the record with seven in a row.

Hakuho secured his career 18th Emperor's Cup with a 13-1 record after rank-and-filer Okinoumi fell to his third defeat at the hands of yokozuna killer Kisenosato in an earlier bout.

In the day's final, Hakuho got locked in a grappling contest with Baruto at the center of the ring before executing a rock-solid beltless arm throw against the Estonian giant at Ryogoku Kokugikan. Baruto slipped to a 9-5 mark.

"I just told myself repeatedly to relax. I was able to execute the throw with good timing," said Hakuho, who used his right arm to deploy the technique after warding off a frontal assault from his opponent.

The Mongolian yokozuna's only hiccup at the 15-day meet once came again against bad-boy Kisenosato, who sent him to a defeat on the 11th day.

"I feel honored that I was able to match Taiho, who I am very fond of. But the meet is not over yet, so I want to be focused until the end. I am in the position where I have to lead everyone else and I need to sharpen my taichiai (face-off) in training. There are many goals that I have set for myself in the near future."



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