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Harumafuji overpowers Baruto

by David Hueston and Dave Hueston

Kyodo

Harumafuji took full advantage of injury-plagued Baruto to scalp his 10th straight victim at the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament on Tuesday.

The once-embattled yokozuna continued his rampaging ways with a dismantling of the Estonian sekiwake to improve to 10-0 and remained on a collision course with rival yokozuna Hakuho, who trumped Goeido in the next-to-last bout to sit one back alone in second at 9-1.

Four rikishi, including ozeki Kisenosato, are two wins behind the sole leader.

Harumafuji, is now mowing down opponents at will.

He darted quickly out of the crouch and got his left hand on the back of the bigger man’s mawashi before forcing him out from the rear. Baruto, who requires 10 wins to regain his ozeki status in March, was facing an uphill battle to begin with due to an injured left knee and must now win his final five matches to regain his rank.

Hakuho never gave Goeido (5-5) a fighting chance. Before the sekiwake knew what hit him, Hakuho had his left hand in for an outside grip and proceeded to send his opponent reeling over the ridge with a perfectly timed pulling overarm throw.

The final five days present the toughest challenge for the yokozuna pair as they will meet the four ozeki before an anticipated all-out clash on the final day.

Kisenosato won a lung-busting bout against ozeki rival Kotoshogiku, waiting for the perfect time to move in for the kill after the pair came to a standstill with neither able to grab the inside of their opponent’s mawashi for leverage.

But Kisenosato found a way in with his right hand and bulldozed Kotoshogiku (6-4) over with an arm-bar technique to stay hot in the race with a chance of becoming the first Japanese wrestler to win a championship since former ozeki Tochiazuma did so at the 2006 New Year Basho.

Kotooshu (6-4) manhandled Kyokutenho (3-7) after getting a firm grip with both hands around the mawashi for a textbook frontal takeout.

Kakuryu (7-3) read Brazilian Kaisei (4-6) like a book, getting his right hand around for an outer grip on the mawashi and his left inside before administering a clinical pulling overarm throw.

Takarafuji, a No. 14 maegashira, fell out of a tie with Hakuho when Takayasu muscled him to the edge before deploying an overarm throw for the win, leaving both men at 8-2.

Tochiozan (4-6) was sent backpedaling by yokozuna-killer Myogiryu, who got a lightning-quick jump at the tachiai and tied up the komusubi with a right inside grip on the mawashi before barreling him over the edge. Myogiryu, who beat Hakuho on the third day, improved to 6-4.

Shohozan (2-8) was the second komusubi to taste defeat when he was pulled forward by Aminishiki (4-6) to touch the dohyo surface with both hands immediately after the initial charge.

In a battle between maegashira wrestlers, sumo’s “Poppin’ Fresh” Gagamaru (3-7) was catapulted off the raised ring by Toyonoshima (4-6).