• Kyodo


Asashoryu got his Emperor’s Cup campaign back on track with a clinical defeat of Chiyotaikai on Wednesday, while rival yokozuna Hakuho retained sole possession of the lead on the 11th day of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament.

Asashoryu absorbed a meaty attack from Chiyotaikai in the day’s finale and got the ozeki where he wanted before nonchalantly flooring him with an overarm throw to stay one win behind Hakuho on 10-1 at Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium.

Hakuho took another step toward the title by easily bundling out Kisenosato, who after failing to present the yokozuna with any kind of challenge slipped to 5-6 on his sekiwake debut.

Hakuho is seeking his 10th career championship while Asashoryu is aiming for a 24th Emperor’s Cup and second in a row after he silenced his critics on a memorable comeback to the raised ring by beating Hakuho in a playoff on the final day of the New Year meet.

In other bouts of note, 36-year-old ozeki Kaio (8-3) secured a winning record when he got inside Tochiozan (7-4) and pulled the No. 2 maegashira down by the arms at the charge, but Kotooshu crashed to an upset defeat.

The Bulgarian ozeki was unable to turn back the tide after Goeido came crunching in low at the charge and was sent backpedaling over the bales to a fourth loss. Komusubi Goeido improved to 6-5.

Mongolian Harumafuji won an all-ozeki battle with Kotomitsuki, spinning the baby-faced grappler around and shunting him out to improve to 7-4.

Kotomitsuki (6-5) still needs two more wins from his last four bouts to avoid demotion from sumo’s second rank of ozeki. He came into the 15-day meet with his rank on the line after pulling out late in the New Year meet because of an ankle injury.

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