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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Hakuho remains favorite to capture 23rd Emperor's Cup

Kyodo

NAGOYA — Lone yokozuna Hakuho posted a quick-fire win against Wakakoyu on Saturday to preserve his share of the lead going into the second week of the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament.

News photo
Still dominating: Harumafuji (left) picks up another win, beating Shohozan, who fell to 1-6, on Saturday in the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament. KYODO

The Mongolian firebrand wasted no time in laying into Wakakoyu (2-5) at the charge in the day's last bout at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium, sending him packing with a pulling overarm throw to make it three wins out of three against the third-ranked maegashira. Hakuho is tied at 7-0 with the ozeki duo of Baruto and Harumafuji, and rank-and-filer Daido.

The 27-year-old Hakuho is coming off his worst performance as a yokozuna — a 10-5 mark at the Summer Basho — but is still the favorite to win his 23rd Emperor's Cup here.

Harumafuji's perfect start looked in jeopardy as he rode his luck against Shohozan, but the ozeki came eventually came through by plopping the third-ranked maegashira onto his backside, handing him a sixth loss.

Baruto claimed European bragging rights in the following bout to stay among the chasing pack, the Estonian ozeki toppling second-ranked Bulgarian Aoiyama with a textbook overarm throw. Aoiyama dropped to 1-6.

Daido, a No. 13 maegashira, was given a bloody nose after taking a head charge from Yoshikaze (3-4), but the 13th-ranked maegashira stood his ground to prevail in an entertaining bout, thrusting down his eighth-ranked opponent to keep his piece of the lead.

Elsewhere, Kyokutenho, a pale shadow of the wrestler that pulled off a surprise championship victory at the Summer Basho in May, was sentenced to a seventh consecutive defeat at the hands of Bulgarian ozeki Kotooshu.

Kotooshu matched Kyokutenho shove for shove before finally working him over the straw ridge to retain his place among four wrestlers, including fellow ozeki Kotoshogiku at 6-1.

Kisenosato was the only major casualty of the day, the ozeki dropping to 5-2 after a shock defeat against sekiwake Goeido (4-3).



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