FUKUOKA (Kyodo) Yokozuna Hakuho dispatched of rank-and-filer Kotoshogiku in convincing fashion to remain one off the pace in the chase for his third consecutive title at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament on Friday.

Hakuho had to wrangle for position against Kotoshogiku but eventually deployed his favored right-leaning grip before quickly lifting the No. 3 maegashira over the edge to improve to a 5-1 record at Fukuoka Kokusai Center. Kotoshogiku fell to 3-3.

Hakuho, who won his eighth career Emperor’s Cup at the autumn meet in September, remains hot on the heels of rank-and-filers Miyabiyama and Dejima after suffering an opening-day defeat. He is the strong favorite to take the home tournament silverware in the absence of rival Asashoryu.

Former ozeki Miyabiyama muscled out Tochiozan (1-5) in a relentless attack to stay perfect while Dejima, another former ozeki, toppled Tochinonada (1-5) to remain in a share of the lead.

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