OSAKA – Baruto secured European bragging rights Tuesday and took another huge step toward promotion to ozeki with a hard-fought win over Bulgarian ozeki Kotooshu on the 10th day of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament.
The towering Estonian sekiwake put on a gritty display in the day’s penultimate bout at Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium and stayed on track for a showdown with yokozuna Hakuho, who also preserved his flawless record with a routine win over Tosayutaka.
Baruto made a lively start but was made to sweat and needed every ounce of his 188-kg frame to see off Kotooshu (7-3) and all but eliminate him from the title race.
“I thought I would be OK if I attacked him from the side,” said Baruto. “I am taking each day as it comes and hopefully I can keep showing my brand of sumo.”
Meanwhile, it was business as usual for Hakuho as the yokozuna smothered fourth-ranked Tosayutaka (1-9) and guided him to the dirt with a beltless arm throw.
Mongolian ozeki Harumafuji upended fifth-ranked Toyohibiki (1-9) with a “watashikomi” thigh-grabbing push-down to remain one win behind the leading duo.