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Hakuho maintains place at top

Kyodo

Yokozuna Hakuho walloped upstart Chiyotairyu to retain an undefeated 6-0 mark at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament on Friday.

Four wrestlers, including sekiwake Baruto, are one off the pace at 5-1 behind yokozuna Hakuho, who is seeking a 24th career title that would place him in fourth on the all-time list alongside Kitanoumi.

Rival yokozuna Harumafuji, meanwhile, stayed in the winner’s column in hot pursuit for the second straight day, crucifying Tokitenku right out of the gate to improve to 4-2 in his bid to win back-to-back tournaments.

In the day’s finale at Bodymaker Colosseum, Hakuho was ever cautious against his No.2 maegashira opponent, whom he was facing for the first time. He let Chiyotairyu charge and smashed his opponent with a right hand to the head before swinging him down with a thrust-down maneuver.

Chiyotairyu, who had beaten two ozeki and Harumafuji earlier in the week, slipped to a 3-3 mark.

Harumafuji, who won the New Year meet with a perfect 15-0 record, throttled Tokitenku (2-4) at the tachiai with a one-handed throat grab and jettisoned his opponent into the ringside seats in the penultimate bout.