Estonian former ozeki Baruto announced his retirement at the age of 28 on Wednesday, citing the lingering effects of his knee injury.
“I’ve decided to retire because of my knee,” said Baruto, who was demoted to the lower juryo division for the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament starting Sunday.
“I want to thank the people in Japan for all their support up to now.”
Baruto, whose given name is Kaido Hoovelson, hurt his left-knee ligament in May and withdrew from the summer basho. Struggling to recover, the Onoe stable wrestler sat out the Nagoya meet altogether in July, which led to his demotion.
In the summer of 2010, the 198-cm Baruto became only the second European to climb to sumo’s second-highest rank. He won his first title last year at the New Year basho as sekiwake, and hopes for yokozuna promotion had been high.