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Unbeaten Hakuho overpowers Gagamaru

Kyodo

Baruto rebounded with a vengeance in his bid for promotion to yokozuna, while Hakuho remained undefeated in a shellacking of Gagamaru on the fifth day of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament Thursday.

Hakuho is tied with sekiwake Kakuryu and rank-and-filer Takayasu at 5-0, while Baruto chases the trio in a pack of eight wrestlers one off the pace as the 15-day Osaka meet heats up.

After losing to Kakuryu the previous day, Estonian Baruto was in no mood for games, when he opened up a powder keg on Tochinowaka in the pair’s match at Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium.

The normally congenial giant was dead serious as he exploded forward with a violent assault, grabbing Tochinowaka (1-4) around the throat before propelling his opponent into the ringside seats.

Hakuho, meanwhile, got his left hand inside on the mawashi of Gagamaru and quickly dumped the bigger man before the winless Georgian knew what had hit him. The lone yokozuna is seeking his 22nd career title here.

Kakuryu dodged swiftly to the side and sent Aminishiki (3-2) out from the rear to stay in the share of the lead, giving him further brownie points following his demolition of Baruto the previous day.

Bulgarian ozeki Kotooshu went on the rampage against Tochinoshin (1-4), muscling his opponent over the edge in a textbook frontal forceout to improve to a 4-1 mark.

But Kisenosato got a face full of dirt when he was tripped up by Tokitenku’s leg sweep for another ignominious drop in the dohyo as he slipped to a third defeat — the first of sumo’s second-highest rank to bite the dust on this day.

“My timing was off at the face-off, so I went with the leg trip,” said Tokitenku (1-4).

Ozeki Harumafuji also fell out of share of the lead when he was sent sprawling forward by Yoshikaze, who finally got into the winner’s circle.