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Hakuho survives scare, maintains perfect mark

Kyodo

Sole leader Hakuho dodged a bullet to stay on track for a 26th Emperor’s Cup with his eighth win, while Kisenosato started to pick up the pieces of his shattered yokozuna promotion bid by beating Kyokutenho at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament on Sunday.

Hakuho improved to 8-0 and the Mongolian yokozuna was one win clear of Bulgarian ozeki Kotooshu and Brazilian No. 12 maegashira Kaisei.

Fellow yokozuna Harumafuji suffered a second upset defeat when he was knocked back by a body slam from third-ranked maegashira Chiyotairyu and dumped out of the dohyo, leaving both men at 6-2.

In the day’s next-to-last bout, Hakuho, winner of the last two tournaments with spotless 15-0 records, rode his luck before stretching his run of consecutive wins to 38.

Aminishiki (2-6) had the yokozuna on the rails as he worked him up against the ridge, but Hakuho dug himself out of a hole and sent the No. 3 maegashira out with an arm-lock throw before finishing his act with a cute pirouette.

Hakuho, who is 30-4 in the head-to-heads against Aminishiki, is now two wins away from becoming the only wrestler since the start of the Showa Era with two 40-win streaks.

Kotooshu kept in touch with Hakuho by using his left hand to grip Tokitenku’s belt and tip the Mongolian komusubi over for a seventh win. Tokitenku dropped to 1-7.

Kaisei continued his strong start with a frontal push- out win against 16th-ranked Shotenro (5-3).

Kisenosato briefly lost his two-handed grip on Kyokutenho’s (3-5) belt, but he had enough impetus to charge his Mongolian opponent over the ridge for a fifth win.

A third defeat in the first week of the meet at the hands of Goeido on Saturday put paid to Kisenosato’s promotion hopes. He is fighting for his ozeki pride now, although he still has a mathematical chance of winning the title.

Kakuryu stayed two wins back, coming out on top of a slugfest before sending komusubi Shohozan (2-6) flying onto his belly with a meaty rear push down.

In the following bout, Kotoshogiku, another ozeki at 6-2, rebounded from back-to-back defeats by overcoming stubborn sekiwake Goeido (2-6) with a textbook “uwatenage” overarm throw.