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Monday, July 9, 2012

Hakuho off to a shaky start in Nagoya


Hakuho got off to another fidgety start.

News photo
Ozeki Kotooshu's thrusting attack against Aminishiki was all it took to get the top-ranked maegashira to step outside the dohyo. KYODO PHOTO

The yokozuna was looking less than grand champion-like, needing two matches to dispose of little-man Toyonoshima on the first day of the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament on Sunday.

All six of sumo's second-highest rank of ozeki, meanwhile, came through with flying colors on the opening day.

In front of a full house in Nagoya, Hakuho went for the turbo charge out of the tachiai and ringside judges ruled that both men went over the edge at the same time at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium.

In the rematch, Hakuho wasted no time getting his right hand in for a grip on the front of Toyonoshima's mawashi and patiently waited for the right time to move the komusubi over the edge.

Hakuho, who is seeking his 23rd career title and first in two tournaments, is trying to rebound after a disappointing performance at the summer basho in which he finished with an unflattering 10-5 mark.

In May, the lone yokozuna lost his opening bout and three straight from the seventh to ninth day before dropping his bout against Harumafuji on the final day — his worst-ever result at sumo's top rank.

Kisenosato, who was the best of the ozeki bunch with an 11-4 mark last time out, took his time with Myogiryu, waiting for the best timing to get his left hand inside for a textbook frontal force out after a series of well-placed thrusts.

Ozeki Kisenosato, who got revenge for a lost to Myogiryu at the previous meet, is aiming for his first career title, which would make him the first Japanese-born wrestler to win the Emperor's Cup since Tochiazuma achieved the feat at the 2006 New Year basho.

Kakuryu, who just made a passing grade with an 8-7 mark in his ozeki debut at the summer basho, looked in trouble when Okinoumi got a firm belt grip and moved in for a take out but deployed a powerful reverse overarm throw with his back to the edge for the win.

Ozeki Kotooshu, who pulled out on the final day in May with a left-leg injury, got his thrusting attack rolling against Aminishiki, knocking the top-ranked maegashira over the ridge in a matter of seconds.

Ozeki Harumafuji got a little overzealous in his bout against Bulgarian Aoiyama, unleashing a series of shoves and thumping his opponent with an extra push after the No. 2 maegashira had stepped over the barrier.

Estonian ozeki Baruto was too much for Emperor Cup winner Kyokutenho, getting his right hand on the back of the mawashi before dumping his opponent into the ringside seats.

Mongolian Kyokutenho achieved an emotional victory in May, becoming the oldest wrestler in sumo's modern era at 37 years, eight months to win his first career title. He was promoted six ranks to No. 1 maegashira.

Ozeki Kotoshogiku won the battle of the pusher, thrusters, moving Tochiozan to the edge once before circling his opponent of shoving him out from the rear. Tochiozan lost in a playoff to Kyokutenho in May.

In an earlier bout, Daido made mincemeat of sumo featherweight Takanoyama of the Czech Republic, getting a right-handed inside grip on his opponent's mawashi before waltzing the No. 12 maegashira over the straw bales.

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