Tue, May 20, 2008 - Page 20 News List

Hakuho, Kotooshu remain unbeaten at Summer tourney

AP AND AFP , TOKYO

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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