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Victorious Hakuho improves to 2-1

Kyodo

Yokozuna Hakuho mowed down top-ranked maegashira Futeno on Tuesday to move into the winning column after a sticky start to the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament.

The Mongolian yokozuna, stunned on the opening day by Aminishiki, took a while to hit his stride in the day’s finale at Fukuoka Kokusai Center but maintained his composure and rammed winless Futeno out to stay one win off the pace at 2-1.

Hakuho, who won his eighth career Emperor’s Cup at the autumn meet in September, is the lone grand champion wrestling at the 15-day meet.

Yokozuna rival Asashoryu is sitting out the tourney with an injured left elbow. Asashoryu is practicing in Fukuoka and said earlier in the day he is targeting a comeback at the New Year meet in Tokyo.

In the day’s other bouts of note, Wakanosato scored his third straight ozeki scalp to stay perfect, the former sekiwake beating local favorite Kaio, who left the ring clutching his arm and nursing a 1-2 record after tumbling off the raised ring.

Komusubi Aminishiki also continued his giant-killing start with an easy victory over Bulgarian ozeki Kotooshu (1-2) to join Wakanosato and six other wrestlers in a share of the lead at 3-0.

Kotomitsuki (2-1) outmuscled third-ranked Hokutoriki (1-2) to get back on the winning track, but he was the only ozeki to emerge unscathed after Chiyotaikai (1-2) got bashed up by top-ranked maegashira Toyonoshima (2-1).

Elsewhere, Mongolian sekiwake Ama got steamrolled out to his first loss by Kisenosato, who scored a third win and dealt an early blow to Ama’s bid for promotion to sumo’s second-highest rank of ozeki.

Under sumo’s loose guidelines, a wrestler needs 33 wins in three straight tournaments to gain promotion to ozeki, meaning Ama needs at least 11 wins here.

Baruto gave the sekiwake rank a lift though, the towering Estonian slapping down komusubi Goeido (0-3) to chalk up his first win of the tournament.

Kaio hurts arm

FUKUOKA (Kyodo) Injury-prone ozeki Kaio looks set to pull out of the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament in his hometown of Fukuoka after hurting his arm in Tuesday’s loss to Wakanosato.

Kaio was left grimacing in pain after being tossed off the raised ring by former sekiwake Wakanosato and returned to the locker room clutching his upper left arm.

However, the 36-year-old Tomozuna stable veteran was quick to shrug off questions over whether he would retire after the latest in a succession of injuries that have hampered his career.

“I felt severe pain shoot through the arm. I think I have smashed it up,” said Kaio, who hurt the arm in the “tachi-ai” charge and slipped to a 1-2 record at the 15-day meet at Fukuoka Kokusai Center.

“My spirit isn’t broken but if my body won’t move there is not much I can do.”

When asked it he would call it a day, he snapped, “No, no. I can’t leave things unfinished. I could not do that without giving it my best right until the end.”