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Sumo: Poised Hakuho battles back to remain unbeaten at Spring meet

Yokozuna Hakuho, right, defeats No. 1 maegashira Kaisei on March 12, 2019, at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament in Osaka. (Kyodo)

OSAKA (Kyodo) -- Yokozuna Hakuho surrendered the initial advantage on his opening charge, but recovered to beat mountainous maegashira Kaisei for his third win after three days of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament on Tuesday.

A day after his 34th birthday, the Mongolian grand champion let No. 1 Kaisei grab the first belt hold, and looked in danger of defeat.

But with his typical calm demeanor under pressure and some superb footwork, Hakuho shook off Kaisei's hold while latching on to the front of the Brazilian's belt with his right hand.

When Hakuho yanked upward, Kaisei teetered on one leg and was easily maneuvered out of the ring.

Fellow yokozuna Kakuryu earned his second win despite a poor charge against Endo (0-3). The top-ranked maegashira twisted away to avoid the brunt of Kakuryu's charge, but was unable to turn quickly enough to slap the yokozuna down.

Endo managed to force Kakuryu back to the straw but a thunderous shove meant to push him from the ring missed badly. Kakuryu then easily pushed out his off-balanced opponent.

Tochinoshin's battle to remain in the ozeki ranks in May looks more and more like an uphill climb after starting the tournament with three unimpressive performances and his second loss.

The Georgian, who needs eight wins to avoid relegation to sekiwake after winning no bouts in January, made headway as he charged forward against Hokutofuji (1-2), but lacked the strength to exploit his advantage.

Instead, the komusubi regrouped and shoved the once-overpowering ozeki from the ring with a minimum of trouble.

Ozeki Takayasu (2-1) stood his ground on the opening charge but lucked clueless when he failed to get a belt hold of No. 2 Daieisho (2-1) at mid-ring. Daieisho took advantage of the ozeki's hesitation to drive him out.

"My charge was good, and I was able to square him up," said Daieisho, who beat the ozeki for the first time in four career bouts.

The third ozeki, Goeido (3-0) overpowered No. 3 Nishikigi with his initial charge and ushered him out in a heartbeat to his third loss.

Takakeisho also looked out of sync as he suffered his first loss of the tournament.

The sekiwake, who is seeking promotion to ozeki, came out with his usual slapping and thrusting attack, but Mitakeumi (2-1) hung in. Takakeisho turned the komusubi's right flank and tried to thrust him down, but whiffed with his right arm and set himself up to be forced out.

With the loss, Takakeisho fell to 3-7 in his career against the komusubi.

Sekiwake Tamawashi's bid for a second straight championship took a hit when he was thrust down to his second defeat in a row, losing to No. 2 Myogiryu (2-1).

In the makuuchi division's first bout, 24-year-old Daishoho (1-2) won his first career bout in the top-flight, pushing out No. 2 juryo wrestler Kotoyuki to a third loss.

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