Tue, May 20, 2008 - Page 20 News List

Hakuho, Kotooshu remain unbeaten at Summer tourney


Grand champion Hakuho and ozeki Kotooshu added victories to their perfect records at the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament yesterday.

Hakuho, the 23-year-old yokozuna, overcame fellow Mongolian Kakuryu with a triumphant overarm throw that sent the No. 3 maegashira over the edge. Hakuho improved to 9-0, while Kakuryu fell to 3-6.

The win brings Hakuho a step closer to a seventh title victory and a chance to avenge a final-day loss to arch-rival Asashoryu at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament in March.

Kotooshu, meanwhile, overpowered No. 4 maegashira Tokitenku. The 25-year-old Bulgarian began the 15-day tournament needing a winning record to escape demotion from his ozeki ranking. But Kotooshu has been in top form so far and finds himself still in contention for the title at 9-0.

Just a win back is Asashoryu, who is aiming for his 23rd Emperor’s Cup. The 27-year-old Mongolian charged sekiwake-ranked Ama out of the ring, improving to 8-1. Ama dropped to 5-4.

In a match of two ozeki, Kaio relied on a rear push-out to top Chiyotaikai. Kaio is now at 5-4, while Chiyotaikai falls to 3-6.

No. 4 maegashira Aminishiki used a slap down to upset ozeki Kotomitsuki. Both wrestlers are at 5-4.

Meanwhile, the sumo authority, which is struggling to clean up the sport’s scandal-tainted image, said yesterday it would punish a wrestler and two stable masters over the beating of junior wrestlers.

The move follows a public outcry over the death last year of a teenage apprentice who was beaten with a beer bottle and a baseball bat.

“We will severely reprimand them soon,” a Sumo Association spokeswoman said.

One of them, stable master Magaki, who also sits on the association’s executive board, has admitted to beating a junior wrestler with a bamboo sword last week, the official said.

Magaki, 55, told reporters on Saturday: “It’s only natural to discipline somebody if he did a bad thing.”

But he later voiced his regret, the spokeswoman said.

The violence came to light after a judge noticed during a match last week that the wrestler’s legs were badly bruised.

Toyozakura and his stable master Michinoku have also apologized after Toyozakura admitted hitting an 18-year-old.

“I think I hit him some 10 times [with a ladle] ... He got eight stitches,” the 34-year-old said. “I asked him to do something, which I don’t remember exactly, but he couldn’t do it.”

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