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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

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Up and over: Kotooshu dismisses Tosayutaka during their bout on Tuesday at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament. KYODO

Hakuho mows down Yoshikaze on third day


NAGOYA — Yokozuna Hakuho took out Yoshikaze but ozeki warhorse Kaio spurned another opportunity to reach a new milestone on Tuesday, the third day of the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament.

Hakuho got off to an explosive start in the day's finale at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium and after momentarily retreating, slapped down the top-ranked maegashira to maintain his unbeaten start to the 15-day basho.

Hakuho is seeking an unprecedented eighth consecutive title to surpass former yokozuna Asashoryu here at the first regular meet since match-fixing scandal plunged the national sport into its worst ever crisis.

In the preceding bout, Kaio again blew the chance to match the all-time career wins record of 1,045 held by former yokozuna Chiyonofuji, crashing to a third defeat in a row.

Kaio never looked convincing and after a weak attack, was knocked back and put on his backside by sekiwake Kakuryu (3-0).

"I just wanted to get in quick and make the attack," said Kakuryu. "I was just focusing on my own sumo and not thinking about anything else."

In other matches in the top ranks, Bulgarian pin-up Kotooshu (2-1) got back on track following the previous day's loss with a hard-fought win over winless Tosayutaka, slapping the top-ranked maegashira around before yanking him to the sandy surface.

Kotooshu needs to post at least eight wins here to retain his ozeki status.

Mongolian Harumafuji (3-0) wasted no time in locking up Toyonoshima (2-1), getting both hands firmly on the back of the No. 2 maegashira's belt and waltzing him over the straw bales, and Baruto was equally efficient in his disposal of Kyokutenho (1-2) to keep a clean slate at 3-0.

Promotion-chasing Kotoshogiku (2-1) tipped Georgian grappler Tochinoshin over to a third defeat while fellow sekiwake Kisenosato rebounded from Monday's loss to Kyokutenho, railroading komusubi Goeido (1-2) to move into the winning column at 2-1.

Kotoshogiku had double-digit wins in his previous two meets, and needs to be in title contention and notch at least 12 wins to be considered for a move up to sumo's second-highest rank.

In the day's opening bout, Fujiazuma stayed perfect on his debut in sumo's top flight, forcing out crowd favorite Takamisakari, who dropped to 1-2.

The spring meet was cancelled in March after the bout-rigging scandal broke in February and a technical examination tourney was held in place of the summer basho in May.

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