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Hakuho’s streak hits 42

by David Hueston and Dave Hueston

Kyodo News

NAGOYA — Mongolian grand champion Hakuho escaped his biggest scare thus far, warding off a fierce challenge from sekiwake Kisenosato to remain in a share of the lead on the 10th day of action at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament on Tuesday.

The lone yokozuna extended his personal-best winning streak to 42 bouts, but it was the closest he came to tasting the agony of defeat at the 15-day meet at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium.

Japanese-born rank-and-filer Homasho, meanwhile, is the unlikely contender with the yokozuna as he is the only other wrestler at 10-0 as the tournament enters the final five days.

Ozeki Kotooshu and Mongolian maegashira Kakuryu sit two off the pace at 8-2.

In the day’s finale, Kisenosato got in a slap-fest with Hakuho, smashing the yokozuna with some massive shots at the charge.

The yokozuna appeared to be on the ropes as Kisenosato came bulldozing forward but just like clockwork he used his superior agility for a hooking inner thigh throw that sent the sekiwake sailing into the ringside seats. Kisenosato dropped to 6-4.

In other bouts of note, Estonian ozeki Baruto (7-3) twisted down Tokitenku (5-5), using his left hand to deploy an overarm throw immediately after the faceoff.

Bulgarian Kotooshu (8-2) tossed Kaio (6-4) over the edge with a powerful overarm throw after getting both hands wrapped firmly around his rival in an all-ozeki encounter.

Mongolian ozeki Harumafuji (6-4) took a hard smack to the face at the charge by Kakuryu (8-2) but spun the No. 6 maegashira to the sandy surface with a twisting underarm throw.

Homasho, meanwhile, had an easy time of it rolling down Georgian Gagamaru (4-6) with a pulling arm technique.