Hakuho closes in on promotion

The Associated Press

Mongolian Hakuho defeated Kotooshu at the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament on Thursday to stay undefeated and on track for promotion to yokozuna.

News photoOzeki and Yokozuna contender Hakuho throws down fellow-ozeki Kotooshu to stay the only undefeated sumo wrestler in the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament on Thursday at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan.

Hakuho’s win, combined with Asashoryu’s loss to Chiyotaikai in the day’s final bout, puts Hakuho in the prime position heading into the last three days of the tournament.

Ozeki Hakuho got a hold of Kotooshu’s arm after the faceoff and earned his 12th win against no losses when the Bulgarian ozeki lost his footing at the center of the ring. Kotooshu fell to 7-5.

Ozeki Chiyotaikai used his trademark arm thrusts to send a stunned grand champion Asashoryu toppling off the raised ring for his second loss of the tournament.

Asashoryu, who is bidding for his 21st Emperor’s Cup, joins a group of five wrestlers, including Chiyotaikai, at 10-2.

Hakuho won the Emperor’s Cup in March and another title in this tourney would ensure promotion to sumo’s highest rank.

Fourth-ranked maegashira Aminishiki ensured himself of a winning record when he spun Kaio around after the faceoff and shoved the ozeki out from behind to give both wrestlers an 8-4 record.

It’s been a strong tournament for Aminishiki, who defeated Asashoryu on Tuesday.

Sekiwake Kotomitsuki overpowered Takekaze to improve to 10-2 while handing the fifth-ranked maegashira his sixth loss against six wins.

Kotomitsuki will take on Hakuho on Friday.