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Hakuho suffers 2nd loss of Spring tourney

The Yomiuri Shimbun

No. 1 maegashira Ikioi, right, puts the pressure on yokozuna Hakuho as they go tumbling out of the ring together on Wednesday at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament. Ikioi was awarded the win.

The Japan NewsYokozuna Hakuho perhaps couldn’t believe his eyes as he lost his second bout through four days of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament in Osaka.

Coming into Wednesday’s matchup against winless No. 1 maegashira Ikioi with a 10-1 head-to-head career record, Hakuho looked to be the favorite. Yet right from the start Ikioi bulled Hakuho to the edge of the ring before pressing the yokozuna out. The referee pointed to Ikioi as the victor.

Before many zabuton seat cushions could be thrown, the ringside judges ascended the dohyo to confer as it appeared Ikioi’s elbow touched outside the ring before Hakuho hit the ground. With Hakuho falling and defenseless at that time, however, the judges decided to keep the verdict as it was.

Ikioi gained his third career kinboshi, awarded to a maegashira for a win over a yokozuna. “I only thought about going forward,” Ikioi said in a televised interview.

Meanwhile, yokozuna Kisenosato stayed unbeaten after edging out No. 2 maegashira Sokokurai. Kisenosato grappled with the pesky maegashira for a while before managing to grab hold of his belt to seize the winning advantage.

Sekiwake Kotoshogiku handed yokozuna Kakuryu his first defeat, throwing down the yokozuna after a tough battle that took both wrestlers to the edge of the ring. Kotoshogiku (3-1), demoted after the New Year tourney, needs 10 wins to move back to ozeki, the second-highest rank.

Yokozuna Harumafuji (2-2) rebounded from his second loss with a fast-paced attack to send out winless No. 1 maegashira Takekaze. Harumafuji was saved by the bales again, as his right foot landed just there while Takekaze was heading out of the ring.

Ozeki Terunofuji, who needs a majority of wins to retain his rank, is halfway to safety with his fourth win, aggressively driving out No. 4 maegashira Yoshikaze (2-2) with ease.

The other ozeki, Goeido, suffered his third defeat after No. 2 maegashira Takanoiwa (1-3) grabbed hold of his belt and threw him out.

After starting off in a fierce shoving match, sekiwake Tamawashi locked onto komusubi Shodai’s left arm to pull him down. Both wrestlers are 2-2.

Sekiwake Takayasu (4-0) engaged in a prolonged entanglement with Mitakeumi (2-2), the pair dancing around the ring, until finally pushing the komusubi out.Speech

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