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Hakuho beats back Ichinojo

Kyodo

Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho recorded a routine victory over No. 3 maegashira Ichinojo on Saturday, maintaining his perfect record alongside ozeki Kotoshogiku on the seventh day of the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament.

Seeking his record-extending 36th career title, Hakuho was solid in downing his compatriot, Ichinojo (1-6), after swiftly grabbing his opponent’s belt with his left hand and flooring him with an overarm throw at Ryogoku Kokugikan.

Kotoshogiku labored to down winless Bulgarian Aoiyama following an early scare, when he failed to pull down the maegashira and saw his charge halted. A thrust down with his right arm spared the ozeki’s blushes in the end

Yokozuna Harumafuji (6-1) made sure he stayed close to the two pacesetters after forcing out first-time sekiwake Yoshikaze (4-3), not allowing his counterpart much room to maneuver in a comfortable win.

The third Mongolian yokozuna, Kakuryu (5-2), allowed a firm left-hand grip on his belt against komusubi Tochinoshin (2-5) and saw his feet almost off the ground at one stage, but managed to grab the Georgian’s belt with his right hand before reversing things with an outside leg trip.

Ozeki Kisenosato (5-2) was initially on the back foot but held firm and was composed in forcing out Ikioi (2-5) to make it 10 out of 10 against the komusubi head to head, but another ozeki Goeido (4-3) succumbed to struggling No. 1 maegashira Shohozan (2-5) after his desperate and acrobatic backward amiuchi fisherman’s throw went for nought.

No. 8 maegashira Takayasu lost his perfect record, falling to a last-ditch thrust down from No. 6 Okinoumi (6-1), who dodged a bullet at the edge of the ring standing one-footed on the straw bale. Okinoumi suffered his only controversial loss on the fifth day to No. 7 Toyonoshima (5-2) in a similar bout, when his foot was ruled off the ring despite a replay showing otherwise.

  • James Donahue

    May the Force be with Hakuho