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Hakuho goes two wins clear in Nagoya basho

NAGOYA (Kyodo) Yokozuna Hakuho manhandled another would-be challenger in the form of Wakanosato on Monday to remain the sole leader with an undefeated record on the ninth day of the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament.

In the day’s final bout, Hakuho never gave Wakanosato a look inside, quickly discarding the former sekiwake with a powerful overarm throw to improve to 9-0 at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium. Wakanosato fell to 4-5.

Hakuho has been in scintillating form here and is the odds-on favorite to win the Emperor’s Cup after rival Mongolian yokozuna Asashoryu pulled out of the 15-day meet on Friday with an elbow injury.

Most of the wrestlers have fallen by the wayside, with Hakuho’s closest rivals — ozeki pair Kotomitsuki and Chiyotaikai and sekiwake Ama — a clear two wins behind as the Nagoya meet enters the final five days.

It would be Hakuho’s seventh career title and first championship victory since beating Asashoryu on the final day of the New Year meet in January.

Kotomitsuki failed to keep his momentum rolling in front of his hometown crowd, tumbling to his second defeat after he was tugged over the edge by Futeno, who improved to 2-7.

Mongolian Ama made an error of judgment, falling to a second defeat against Russian youngster Wakanoho, who jumped high into the air in an attempt to send the seikwake off-balance at the charge.

Ama moved in with a throat grab but was tackled in a counterattack by the 20-year-old. Wakanoho picked up his first win of the tourney.