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Hakuho widens gap on autumn rivals

Kyodo

Yokozuna Hakuho widened the gap in his lead, tossing aside rank-and-filer Toyohibiki to remain unscathed after nine days at the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament on Monday.

The Mongolian, who is chasing his 27th career title and fourth in a row, improved to 9-0, a clear two wins ahead of rival yokozuna Harumafuji, ozeki Kisenosato, and maegashira wrestlers Kyokutenho and Homasho as the final week of the 15-day basho gets into full swing.

No. 4 maegashira Toyohibiki (4-5), who had a kinboshi victory that he grabbed from Hakuho in one of their previous three meetings, never had a prayer this day as the yokozuna slammed his opponent before swatting him to the dirt surface with minimal effort at Ryogoku Kokugikan.

Kisenosato, a candidate for promotion to sumo’s highest rank at the Nagoya meet in July, was sent to his second defeat as he took a walloping from Chiyotairyu (3-6) for the second meet in a row. The ozeki was sent packing over the edge as the No. 3 maegashira unleashed a fierce barrage of thrusts to the chest.

“I didn’t want to lose. I still have a little more to go so I want to do my best,” said Chiyotairyu.

Harumafuji, who had two early losses in the first week, banged up Myogiryu (4-5) in the day’s penultimate bout, charging ahead with quick-fire slaps to get his man to retreat over the edge.

In the first battle of ozeki wrestlers, Kotoshogiku prevailed against Mongolian Kakuryu, heaving out the smaller man in a textbook frontal force-out.

Early on, Makuuchi debutant Endo, who is quickly gaining popularity among sumo fans, won his sixth bout with a firm overarm throw of Yoshikaze, who holds the same mark.