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Asahi Shimbun update - includes Akebono info



Akebono inspired by friend's death

By YUKIO KONDO 

Asahi Shimbun (Nov. 18, 1996)

FUKUOKA--Yokozuna Akebono is regaining confidence. He started with a
loss, then rebounded by winning
seven bouts in a row, reaching the midway point of the Kyushu Grand Sumo
Tournament in Fukuoka with a
share of the lead. 

Asked about the secret of his splendid sumo, Akebono said, "An incident
that happened before the
tournament inspires me." 

During the autumn practices, on Oct. 23, Akebono heard of the death of
his close friend, Kiyoshi Hoshino, 26.
His sudden death was caused by the deterioration of a duodenal ulcer. 

Hoshino, whose sumo name was Takawakami, was like Akebono's big brother
to whom the yokozuna could
take his problems. Hoshino also coached Akebono from the beginning of
his career. 

When Akebono visited Hoshino's home in Sanjo, Niigata Prefecture, his
family asked the yokozuna to "win
the flag of victory." 

Akebono, who hasn't won since last year's spring tournament, has played
second-fiddle to his archrival
Takanohana. In the past few tournaments, Akebono declared he was in good
shape and ready to gun for wins,
but he failed to realize his expectations. 

His adviser's death must have awakened Akebono. 

The yokozuna's briskness showed in Sunday's bout against sekiwake
Kotonishiki. When Kotonishiki (5-3)
feinted to his left, Akebono easily coped with it. 

He thrust under Kotonishiki's left arm, putting him off balance and
grabbing the back of his belt, then edged
him out. 

Last year at the Kyushu tournament, Akebono was also leading on the
eighth day, but he injured his knee the
next day in a bout with Tosanoumi. Akebono was forced to retire from the
tourney on the 10th day. 

"I remember the regret I felt at having to quit," Akebono said. 

With the only other yokozuna, Takanohana injured and absent from this
tourney, Akebono's responsibility is
great. Under that pressure, I hope he continues his winning streak. That
would be the wish of Hoshino. 

Three share lead 

Musashimaru and Kaio shared the lead with Akebono at 7-1 Sunday, The
Associated Press reported. 

One bout behind at 6-2 were ozeki Wakanohana and three
maegashira--Tamakasuga, Asanowaka and
Tochiazuma. 

Ozeki Musashimaru quickly grabbed No. 2 maegashira Mitoizumi's belt and
drove him out. Mitoizumi is 1-7. 

Sekiwake Kaio charged No. 1 maegashira Daihisho (1-7) with hand thrusts,
grabbed his foe's belt and forced
him out. 

Wakanohana slapped down No. 4 maegashira Asanosho (3-5), but ozeki
Takanonami suffered his fourth
defeat against four victories, losing to No. 4 maegashira Oginishiki
(2-6) by an arm throw. 

No. 5 maegashira Tamakasuga pushed down No. 2 maegashira Akinoshima
(5-3), No. 15 maegashira Rikio (5-3)
thrust down No. 11 maegashira Asanowaka, and No. 10 maegashira Higonoumi
(5-3) forced out No. 15
maegashira Tochiazuma. 

No. 7 maegashira Kyokushuzan, or Batbayar Davaa of Mongolia, twice
fought off equally ranked Ganyu's
pushing attempts at the ring's edge and twisted him down in a 1-minute,
48-second bout for his fifth victory
against three defeats. Ganyu is 3-5. A sumo bout usually ends in 10 or
15 seconds. 

No. 9 maegashira Konishiki (3-5) quickly grabbed the belt of No. 5
maegashira Hamanoshima (2-6) and forced
him out.