• Kyodo

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Mongolian yokozuna Asashoryu moved a step closer in his hunt for a second consecutive championship crown Thursday while rival Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho also stayed hot in the title race in a two-way share of the lead at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament.

The duo maintained their unbeaten records at 5-0 while six wrestlers, including ozeki pair Kaio and Harumafuji, trailed one behind at 4-1.

In the day’s final bout at Osaka Municipal Gymnasium, local upstart Goeido was no match for Asashoryu as the 23-time champion swiftly swatted the komusubi to the dohyo surface.

Hakuho, aiming for his 10th title, got a turbo jump out of his crouch for an under-handed grip of the belt of Tochiozan before heaving the No. 2 maegashira over the straw bales in comfortable fashion.

Mongolian ozeki Harumafuji never let Estonian big man Baruto (2-3) get a grip of his mawashi and dug deep in his energy reserves to execute a deft underarm throw that sent the sekiwake sprawling into the ringside seats.

The 36-year-old Kaio danced around the ring like a spring chicken, warding off a fierce onslaught by the beefy Miyabiyama (1-4) en route to picking up a fourth win.

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