Hakuho takes command as Baruto stumbles

Kyodo News

Sumo’s newest star got his first taste of defeat in his ozeki debut.

Baruto was sent crashing at the hands of Kakuryu while yokozuna Hakuho took a giant leap forward in his bid to win back-to-back titles as he remained undefeated at the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament on Sunday.

Hakuho, who is gunning for his 14th Emperor’s Cup, extended his winning streak to 25 bouts with an 8-0 record. Baruto is one off the pace, while seven wrestlers are tied for third with two losses as the 15-day meet enters the final week.

Things went dramatically wrong for the Estonian ozeki in his match against Mongolian Kakuryu, who tugged on Baruto’s arm to get him off-balance after the ozeki made a timid charge at the faceoff at Ryogoku Kokugikan.

Baruto tried to regroup but the No. 3 maegashira sent him sprawling into the ringside seats with a hard shove to the chest.

“I kept on the attack and didn’t let him get my belt. I knew if I let him grab me, it would be over, so I just kept thrusting forward,” said Kakuryu, who improved to a 3-5 record.

Hakuho, meanwhile, never lost his cool even after Aminishiki (2-6) got his right hand inside for a belt grip, hooking his foot in between the sekiwake’s legs before muscling him over the edge.

In other bouts of note, veteran ozeki Kaio (5-3) used his favored left-leaning grip to perfection against Wakanosato (1-7), shoving the former sekiwake out to pick up his 996th career win.

Ozeki Kotomitsuki flipped Asasekiryu hard to the dohyo surface after getting a firm belt grip on the fourth-ranked wrestler in the day’s penultimate bout, leaving both men at 5-3.

Mongolian ozeki Harumafuji (6-2) pushed Tochiozan (3-5) over the edge with a throat grab, while Bulgarian ozeki Kotooshu immediately dismissed Kitataiki (4-4) in a lopsided affair, marching the No. 4 maegashira over the edge to win his sixth bout.

Kisenosato (5-3) ushered out Kotoshogiku (3-5) in a nonstop frontal force-out after ringside judges called for a rematch due to a false start.