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Yokozuna Hakuho closes in on title

Kyodo

Perfect yokozuna Hakuho put one hand on his 24th Emperor’s Cup after outclassing ozeki Kisenosato for his 12th straight win at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament on Thursday.

Hakuho can wrap up the championship Friday with two days to spare if he beats Goeido and seventh-ranked maegashira Okinoumi, the only credible threat to the dominant Mongolian at 10-2, loses to komusubi Tochiozan (7-5).

Hakuho is 17-1 for his career versus sekiwake Goeido, who beat Toyonoshima (7-5) to improve to 8-4.

Okinoumi kept his dimming title hopes flickering Thursday with a yorikiri victory over No. 8 Aoiyama (7-5). Okinoumi is 3-2 in previous meetings with Tochiozan.

The other yokozuna in the field, Harumafuji (9-3), rolled to his fourth straight win by escorting ozeki Kotoshogiku (7-5) out of the ring. Harumafuji is one of the two with three defeats alongside No. 6 Kitataiki, who defeated 13th-ranked Sadanofuji (6-6) by sotogake.

Hakuho has dominated Kisenosato throughout his career, posting a 29-9 record against the Naruto stable man going into the last match of the day.

On Thursday, Hakuho overpowered Kisenosato, showing his opponent the door like a bellboy.