Hakuho Express rolls on in Nagoya tourney

NAGOYA (Kyodo) Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho continued to leave a trail of destruction in his wake at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament as he flattened Toyonoshima on Sunday to remain the sole leader with a perfect 8-0 record.

Toyonoshima was seeking his second yokozuna scalp after shocking Asashoryu on the opening day of the meet, but after a promising start Hakuho took control to stay one win ahead of Ama and local favorite Kotomitsuki.

Toyonoshima (4-4) buzzed furiously like an insect caught in a Venus flytrap in the day’s finale before Hakuho moved up a gear, charging forward to squash the komusubi to the sandy surface.

Hakuho has been in sizzling form here and is the red-hot favorite to win the Emperor’s Cup in the absence of yokozuna rival Asashoryu, who pulled out of the 15-day meet Friday, with an elbow injury.

He is gunning for his seventh career title and first championship victory since beating Asashoryu on the last day of the New Year meet in January.

Asashoryu suffered a shock second defeat at the hands of Tochinonada on Thursday and finished with a 3-3 record with nine rest days.

Repeatedly trying to blinker Wakanosato (4-4) with his shovel hands didn’t work out for Kotomitsuki (7-1), but he finally saw off the former sekiwake after trying every trick in the book to send Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium into raptures.

Sekiwake Ama (7-1) stayed in touch with front-running countryman Hakuho after stunning sour-faced Kisenosato with a savage slap and sending the komusubi backpedaling out to a sixth defeat.