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Friday, Sep. 23, 2011

Kisenosato hands Hakuho first loss

Kyodo

Sekiwake Kisenosato pulled off another famous victory over yokozuna Hakuho Thursday to add a little spice to the title race heading toward the final weekend of the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament.

Kisenosato, who has become something of a bogey man since stunning Hakuho at the 2010 Kyushu meet to end his record-chasing winning streak at 63 bouts, made a solid charge in the day's final bout and wrapped up the Mongolian before flooring him with a textbook "kotenage" armlock throw.

Hakuho (11-1) blew the chance to move two wins clear of the field after high-flying Gagamaru lost his second bout. Kisenosato improved to 9-3.

Kotoshogiku reignited his ozeki promotion charge with a crucial win over 11th-ranked Gagamaru, leaving both men one win adrift of Hakuho at 10-2 with rank-and-filer Kitataiki.

Kotoshogiku rebounded from a potentially costly defeat to Tochiozan with a five-star performance at Ryogoku Kokugikan, sending Gagamaru sliding back across the sandy surface and out of the ring to snap the Georgian grappler's 10-match winning streak. Kisenosato and Kyokutenho are a further win back.

Kotoshogiku is hoping to fill the void left by Kaio, who was the last remaining Japanese ozeki before he hung up his mawashi at the Nagoya basho in July.

However, the sekiwake must win two of his last three fights, including Friday's showdown with Hakuho, to stand a realistic chance of moving one step up the sumo ladder.

Harumafuji, meanwhile, showed the kind of ruthless form that won him the Emperor's Cup in Nagoya, slapping around third-ranked Tochiozan (7-5) and heaving him out for a fifth win in a row.

Harumafuji secured a winning record that will provide the ozeki with a crumb of comfort after he squandered his chances of promotion to yokozuna with four losses in the first week here.



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