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Monday, May 14, 2012

Goeido sends Hakuho crashing to third defeat


Sekiwake Goeido served up a fresh blow to yokozuna Hakuho's hopes of capturing his 23rd career championship title Sunday, scoring a stunning upset victory on the eighth day of action at the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament.

News photo
Final straw: Goeido pushes Hakuho to the edge of the ring at the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament on Sunday. KYODO

Hakuho, still reeling from a second loss at the hands of Toyohibiki on Saturday, had never lost to Goeido (5-3) in 13 previous meetings at major tournaments. But after coming quickly out of the blocks, the Mongolian lost his way and Goeido, showing calmness and poise, stormed back to muscle the yokozuna out to a third loss at the 15-day Tokyo basho.

Hakuho dropped two wins behind a leading group of five wrestlers at 7-1 that includes ozeki trio Kisenosato, Kotoshogiku and Kakuryu.

"I'm really happy. I've finally beaten him," said Goeido of Hakuho, adding that he had taken inspiration from Toyohibiki's giant-killing act the previous day.

Kotoshogiku dodged a bullet to avoid a second consecutive loss, countering to floor third-ranked Toyohibiki (4-4) with an armlock throw, and Kisenosato dug in deep to preserve his share of the lead in shoving out sekiwake Toyonoshima (4-4).

Kakuryu prevailed in an all-ozeki matchup and stayed in the title hunt on his debut at sumo's second rank, taking out Estonian bulldozer Baruto, who dropped his second bout in a row and is at 5-3. Rank-and-filers Takarafuji and Tochiozan are the other co-leaders at 7-1.

Harumafuji railroaded third-ranked Takekaze and was at 5-3 along with fellow ozeki Kotooshu, who has finally started to generate momentum after an inconsistent start, the Bulgarian shooting down komusubi Homasho (1-7) for a third straight win.

In an earlier bout, Aran's (0-8) dismal run showed no signs of abating and the Russian No. 1 maegashira suffered the ignominy of becoming the first wrestler at this tournament to take a majority of losses after being bashed up by komusubi Aminishiki (4-4).

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