FUKUOKA – Yokozuna Hakuho overpowered fellow Mongolian Asasekiryu to stay on course for his third consecutive Emperor’s Cup at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament on Tuesday.
Hakuho was in a class of his own in the day’s finale at Fukuoka Kokusai Center, fending off Asasekiryu’s (3-7) advances and calmly lifting the No. 5 maegashira over the straw bales for a textbook win.
Hakuho heads into the final third of the 15-day meet tied with maegashira Miyabiyama (9-1).
The 23-year-old is odds-on favorite to add to his Emperor’s Cup haul in the absence of injured rival Asashoryu.
In an earlier bout, seventh-ranked Miyabiyama emerged victorious in a slapfest with Yoshikaze (7-3) to keep alive his hopes of a first championship title in sumo’s top flight.
The former ozeki smothered his 12th-ranked opponent and knocked him off balance with a series of blows to the face before a shove from behind completed the job.