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Saturday, July 16, 2011

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Turn the other cheek: Kisenosato thrusts a hand into Kaio's face at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament on Friday. KYODO

Hakuho, Harumafuji share lead


NAGOYA — Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho continued his march toward an unprecedented eighth consecutive title, but record-breaking Kaio was brought back to earth with a bang at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament on Friday.

Hakuho dodged a bullet in the day's finale at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium, forcing out plucky komusubi Goeido (1-5) to remain tied with fellow Mongolian Harumafuji for the lead at 6-0 at the 15-day basho.

Estonian ozeki Baruto and promotion-chasing sekiwake Kotoshogiku feature among a group of eight wrestlers one back at 5-1 at the first regular meet since a match-fixing scandal plunged sumo into its worst-ever crisis.

Kaio (2-4) made sumo history on Thursday when he surpassed former yokozuna Chiyonofuji for the most career wins with his 1,046th victory.

But the Tomozuna stable warhorse was second best in every department as Kisenosato (3-3) chased him around the dohyo before completing a winning treble for sekiwake wrestlers.

Ozeki Harumafuji made short work of Kyokutenho to preserve his unbeaten start, a pair of monster shoves sending the second-ranked maegashira out to a fifth loss.

Baruto rebounded from a shock defeat to Kakuryu, plowing Toyonoshima (2-4) off the dohyo and into the ringside cushions, and Bulgarian ozeki Kotooshu also returned to winning ways in the next bout by defeating komusubi Tochinoshin (2-4) with an overarm throw.

His opening-day loss firmly behind him, Kotoshogiku got another confidence-boosting win, flooring third-ranked maegashira Aminishiki (1-5) with an armlock throw.

Kotoshogiku needs to post at least 12 wins to be considered for a move up to sumo's second-highest rank. Sekiwake teammate Kakuryu also won to improve to 5-1 after taking down top-ranked Yoshikaze (1-5).

In an earlier bout, Homasho, a rikishi popular with both fans and wrestlers alike, dropped out of a tie for the lead after he was thrust down to his first defeat by Brazilian-born grappler Kaisei (2-4).

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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