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Hakuho tops Takarafuji to keep flawless record

Kyodo

Hakuho kept his eyes firmly on the prize and wrapped up the first week of the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament with another high-octane performance against Takarafuji on Saturday.

His sights set on a 25th championship title, Hakuho put on a clinic in his first meeting with the winless No. 3 maegashira, comfortably retaining his share of the lead with a 7-0 record at the 15-day Tokyo basho.

The Mongolian yokozuna kept Takarafuji away from his belt and showed great technique to get behind the maegashira and send him spinning around and out of the dohyo.

Ozeki wrestlers Kisenosato and Kakuryu kept pace with Hakuho as both registered seventh wins, while Mongolian yokozuna Harumafuji looked back to his old self and was two wins back with 11 others at 5-2.

Harumafuji’s seemingly brittle confidence has been exposed more than once at this tournament, but the yokozuna was in total control against Aoiyama (5-2) in the day’s penultimate match, drawing the Bulgarian in and sending him to the sandy surface with a pulling overarm throw.

Kakuryu got a firm grip on the front and back of Tochinoshin’s (0-7) mawashi belt and from that moment on there was only going to be one winner, the Mongolian charging forward to solidify his position in the leading trio.

Kisenosato was nowhere near as convincing in the next bout, but the sour-faced ozeki still did enough to squash Baruto (3-4) and send the Estonian behemoth hobbling back to the locker room.

In other key matchups, Okinoumi posted the first win of his komusubi debut, thwarting Kootoshu’s attack and working him over the edge.

“Finally (I have won),” said Okinoumi. “I had to just go all out for the win and it worked out. I’ll keep going at it again tomorrow and try and to produce some crowd-pleasing sumo.”

Kotooshu posted four straight wins from the opening day, but the wheels appear to be coming off his bid to remain at ozeki with a third consecutive defeat.

The Bulgarian, who pulled out during the spring meet with an elbow injury, is fighting with his rank on the line for the sixth time and needs four more wins to retain his ozeki status.

Kotoshogiku, however, rebounded from back-to-back defeats with a routine force out win over komusubi Tochiozan to move to 5-2. Tochiozan dropped to 2-5.