OSAKA – The only thing Baruto’s would-be opponent was missing was a pacifier and some strap-on diapers.
Estonia-born ozeki Baruto heaved out Yoshikaze in what amounted to child’s play Monday, continuing his bid for yokozuna with a powerful display on the second day of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament.
The pintsized Yoshikaze (0-2) never had a prayer against the goliath, who got both hands on the back of his opponent’s belt and lifted him over with seeming ease from the center of the ring at Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium.
Yokozuna Hakuho, meanwhile, made mincemeat of Myogiryu, stopping his opponent in his tracks before sending him flailing over the edge with a barrage of shoves in the day’s finale to also improve to 2-0.
Baruto, who won the New Year basho in January, is looking to become the first European wrestler to gain promotion to sumo’s highest rank. Japan Sumo Association chairman Kitanoumi has said he will need at least 13 wins.
It will likely be a tall order for the congenial giant, as the only precedent for such an achievement was by former yokozuna Asashoryu, who won the following meet after claiming his first career title as an ozeki at the 2003 New Year tournament.
Hakuho, who is seeking his 22nd career title and third straight in Osaka, will definitely not make it easy for his rival, whom he defeated on the final day of the January meet.
Back in the ring, Kotoshogiku used his huge stomach to belly out Tokitenku (0-2) in a lopsided affair to pick up his second win, while fellow ozeki Kotooshu got his left hand quickly inside on Tochinowaka (1-1) before escorting his opponent over the ridge to also stay undefeated.
Kisenosato, meanwhile, suffered another setback with his second straight loss at the hands of Tochiozan, who pressed ahead after moving inside from the right and grinding out his first win.
“I had a great attack today. I was very relaxed,” said Tochiozan. “I want to keep showing my style of sumo in the days to come.”
Mongolian ozeki Harumafuji was too savvy for the flatfooted komusubi Gagamaru (0-2), sending the 199-kg — the heaviest in the elite makuuchi class — crashing to the dohyo surface after a fierce throat grab.
Mongolian sekiwake Kakuryu, who is gearing for a possible run at ozeki, deployed a perfectly timed overarm throw to send Georgian Tochinoshin tumbling to the dirt for his second win. Tochinoshin slipped to 0-2.