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Hakuho posts second 40-match win streak

Kyodo

Yokozuna Hakuho compiled the second 40-bout winning streak of his career on Tuesday, when he defeated sekiwake Myogiryu on the 10th day of the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium.

After a brief tussle, Hakuho flung his opponent down and his exaggerated follow-through looked for all the world like a celebratory fist pump. The Mongolian master became the first wrestler since the start of the Showa era to manage a second 40-match run and stayed one win ahead of ozeki Kotooshu and No. 12 maegashira Kaisei.

Myogiryu battled hard for position and forced Hakuho to be on his toes, but the yokozuna eventually moved in for the kill with an armlock throw.

In the day’s final bout, yokozuna Harumafuji (6-4) was overwhelmed by sekiwake Goeido’s initial charge and quickly dispatched with a beltless arm throw.

The lightning defeat was the third in a row for the yokozuna who has been the target of criticism for his lack of success. Goeido improved to 3-7.

Kotooshu seized his ninth victory with a frontal force out of No. 4 maegashira Kyokutenho. The ozeki got a quick right-handed belt hold on Kyokutenho and played him like a fish on a line, letting him wriggle and expend his energy but never letting him off the hook until the deed was done.

On Wednesday, Kotooshu will face Harumafuji, against whom he is 17-21 in his career.

Kaisei had little difficulty bundling out No. 7 maegashira Yoshikaze. The Brazilian quickly got his arms around his opponent’s torso and executed a simple frontal force out. Yoshikaze fell to 4-6.

Bulgarian Aoiyama, a No. 9 maegashira, was next on the raised ring, took a step back as Ikioi charged headlong and needed only the gentlest tap to let his opponent’s momentum finish the bout for him. Ikioi, a fifth-ranked maegashira, literally fell to a 5-5 record.

In an all-ozeki battle, Kisenosato dropped his look of unapologetic disdain for an instant and then plowed out Kakuryu, leaving both with 7-3 records. Kisenosato, who has been cautioned in the past for his tachiai trickery, false-started against his fellow ozeki, showed a rare expression of apology with a dip of his head.

Upon the restart, Kisenosato, whose hopes for yokozuna promotion all but died with three early losses to lower-ranked opponents, ran his rival ozeki out of the ring.

Ozeki Kotoshogiku suffered his second straight defeat and his fourth loss, when he was bundled across the raised ridge by No. 2 maegashira Tochiozan (7-3).

Top-ranked maegashira Takekaze, who fell to his eighth loss on Monday, pulled out of the tournament on the 10th day after suffering ligament damage in his right knee, the sumo association said. His opponent on Tuesday, Tokitenku, was handed a win by default.

It appears that Takekaze, who is pulling out of a tournament for the first time since January 2005, will need two weeks of treatment and bed rest.