Baruto enjoys basho breakthrough


A day after basking in the joy of having won his first career title, Estonian ozeki Baruto was on Monday still feeling the intoxicating effects of a night of rapturous celebration.

“The sake was delicious. I don’t remember how much I drank,” said Baruto, who won the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament on the 13th day and finished with an outstanding 14-1 mark. “It was a fulfilling 15 days.”

The Onoe stable grappler lost his final match against yokozuna Hakuho on Sunday but thrilled sumo fans with his powerful techniques throughout the tournament at Ryogoku Kokugikan.

Asked his thoughts on how it felt to raise the Emperor’s Cup trophy, Baruto joked, “It felt light.” But he added, “If I think about all that I had to go through to get it, it felt heavy.”

Baruto will take aim at sumo’s highest rank of yokozuna at the spring basho in March. A prerequisite for promotion will be another title victory, or at the very least remaining in contention until the end.

“If I can wrestle at the spring basho like I did at the New Year meet, results will follow. Once you win one tournament, you want to win a second, a third, a 10th and a 30th.”