FUKUOKA – Yokozuna Hakuho and fellow Mongolian Ama both posted convincing wins to send the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament down to the wire on Saturday.
Hakuho bashed up ozeki Chiyotaikai and promotion-chasing sekiwake Ama outclassed Kotomitsuki to leave both with 12-2 marks and ensure an intriguing climax to the 15-day meet wrapping up at Fukuoka Kokusai Center on Sunday. Rank-and-filer Yoshikaze is one win back.
Hakuho, competing as the lone yokozuna here in the absence of injured Asashoryu, faces Kotomitsuki on Sunday while Ama meets Estonian man-mountain Baruto.
Victory for both Mongolians would see them face off in a championship playoff.
Hakuho, who is seeking a third consecutive title and eighth overall, was never troubled in the day’s final bout against an indifferent Chiyotaikai (8-6), who looked like he had already given up before Hakuho sent him sprawling to the sandy surface with a beltless armthrow.
Moments earlier, Ama allowed Kotomitsuki (9-5) to come back from a meaty charge but the Mongolian oozed class as he set himself up to efficiently take down the ozeki with a textbook underarm throw.
Ama, who has yet to win a championship, is virtually assured of promotion to ozeki as he has now exceeded 33 wins in three consecutive tournaments — a rough guideline to gain promotion to sumo’s second-highest rank.
Surprise package Yoshikaze (11-3), a No. 12 maegashira, also heads into the final day still in contention after steamrolling 11th-ranked Koryu.
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