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Thursday, Nov. 17, 2011

Hakuho exerts force to remain unbeaten


FUKUOKA — Kisenosato showed no signs of cracking under the early pressure in his quest for promotion to ozeki, bellying out winless Homasho on Wednesday to maintain his perfect start to the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament.

News photo
Getting the job done: Kisenosato (right) pushes Homasho out of the raised ring on Wednesday in the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament. KYODO PHOTO

The surly sekiwake put on a sumo clinic at Fukuoka Kokusai Center, getting a firm right-handed grip on the back of Homasho's belt and shunting out the komusubi to improve to 4-0.

Ozeki newbie Kotoshogiku displayed brute strength to see off Kyokutenho (1-3) and lone yokozuna and tournament favorite Hakuho also won handsomely to stay in a five-way tie for the lead at the 15-day basho.

Kotoshogiku took to the ring to rhythmic clapping and loud cheers from home fans and responded by quickly gaining control of Kyokutenho's "mawashi" belt and bumping the second-ranked Mongolian over the straw ridge.

Hakuho bided his time in the day's finale against Georgia's Tochinoshin (0-4) and broke a stalemate to send the maegashira out with a routine "yorikiri" shove. Hakuho is gunning for his 21st championship title.

Bulgarian ozeki Kotooshu had his hands full against top-ranked maegashira Okinoumi (1-3) but dug in to score a forceout win to improve to 3-1.

Harumafuji moved in low to take out Russian maegashira Aran with a rare "watashikomi" thigh grabbing push-down technique to also stay one win off the pace. Aran dropped to 0-4. Kotooshu is battling to save his rank after pulling out during the Autumn Basho through injury.

Out-of-sorts Baruto, however, dropped to 3-1, the Estonian man mountain stepping over the edge before top-ranked Goeido followed up with a meaty shove to post his first win.

Sekiwake Kakuryu (4-0) was in total control against Toyonoshima, railroading the komusubi out to his second straight loss after he had opened with wins over Baruto and Kotooshu.

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