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Monday, July 11, 2011

Hakuho begins Nagoya basho with a bang


NAGOYA — Grand champion Hakuho disposed of Tochinoshin in the blink of an eye in a dominating performance on the first day of the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament on Sunday.

News photo
Yokozuna Hakuho makes easy work of Tochinoshin on the first day of the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament. KYODO PHOTO

As sumo resumed its regular meet for the first time in six months following a match-fixing scandal that brought the national sport to its knees, Hakuho was in picture-perfect form in the day's finale at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium.

Calmly pacing through his motions in the pre-bout ritual, Hakuho was glistening with sweat when it came time for the face-off against the Georgian komusubi.

Tochinoshin, who fell to 0-9 in career bouts against the yokozuna, never knew what hit him as he was sent retreating in one fell swoop.

The lone yokozuna is seeking an unprecedented eighth consecutive title here and his 20th career Emperor's Cup.

In other action, veteran Kaio had to wait at least another day to match the all-time career wins record of 1,045 held by former yokozuna Chiyonofuji.

The Tomozuna ozeki, who turns 39 on the final day of the 15-day meet, swung wildly at his opponent and lost his balance before the No. 1 maegashira sent him packing from behind.

Estonian goliath Baruto got his huge arms around the mawashi of Goeido and proceeded to carry his diminutive opponent from the ring's center over the edge for an emphatic win.

Mongolian Harumafuji, meanwhile, escaped sudden death when Tosayutaka heaved the ozeki over with his back to the edge, but the top-ranked maegashira's heel went over the barrier first.

Bulgarian Kotooshu, who must post eight wins here to retain his ozeki rank after pulling out of the test meet in May with a knee injury, appeared in top form as he dispatched Kyokutenho in a textbook frontal shove out.

Mongolian Kakuryu made short work of Aminishiki, the sekiwake bulldozing his opponent out after getting his right hand inside for a firm belt grip.

Fellow sekiwake Kisenosato knocked Wakakoyu around like a pinball before sending the No. 3 maegashira over the edge with a hard shove to the midsection to get started in the wins column.

Kotoshogiku made an ominous start in his campaign for ozeki promotion after he was shown an abrupt exit by little-man Toyonoshima.

In an earlier bout, Brazilian-born Kaisei got both hands wrapped around Wakanosato's mawashi before heaving the former sekiwake over the straw bales in a matter of seconds.

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