Hakuho ran into a titanium wall in the form of Estonian big man Baruto and dropped to a first defeat at the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament on Saturday.
Baruto took Hakuho by surprise with a slick move that set up the victory in the day’s finale at Ryogoku Kokugikan and spelled the end of the Mongolian yokozuna’s 30-bout winning streak.
Hakuho slipped to 6-1 after losing for the first time since the sixth day of the autumn meet in September. He sits tied for the lead with eight other wrestlers, including rival yokozuna Asashoryu, ozeki duo Kotooshu and Harumafuji and sekiwake Baruto.
Hakuho appeared to have things under control after getting a firm belt grip and moving directly in for the kill. But Baruto deftly slipped a hand out before forcing Hakuho to touch the dirt surface with a beltless arm throw.
Asashoryu, meanwhile, showed Hokutoriki (2-5) no mercy in a high voltage display after the No. 3 maegashira tried to stare him down before the two locked horns.
The yokozuna got his favored right-handed grip and charged forward, depositing his opponent into the ringside seats with a thud, while adding a cheeky shove for good measure.
Harumafuji, the wrestler formerly known as Ama, sent Kisenosato (5-2) to his second defeat in a row against an ozeki, sending the No. 3 maegashira down with a poetic overarm throwing technique when his opponent refused to go out with a standard forceout.
Kotooshu absorbed a turbo charge by Kakizoe (4-3) before making his counterattack to blast out the diminutive No. 4 maegashira.