Baruto remains on course for promotion


Estonian behemoth Baruto stayed in the hunt for promotion to sumo’s top rank of yokozuna with a routine defeat of winless Kyokutenho on Friday, the sixth day of action at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament.

The former nightclub bouncer was never in any danger in the day’s next-to-last bout at Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium, getting both arms around the Mongolian and spinning him around and down with a “shitatenage” underam throw to sit one win behind lone yokozuna Hakuho.

Hakuho, seeking his 22nd title, remained undefeated alongside in-form sekiwake Kakuryu as he wrapped up the day’s action with a hard-fought win over No. 2 maegashira Yoshikaze.

Hakuho looked in all sorts of trouble as he was twice driven up against the ring’s edge, but the yokozuna’s pedigree eventually proved the difference as he sent Yoshikaze (1-5) packing with an armlock throw.

Baruto and fellow ozeki Kotooshu are among a group of six wrestlers at 5-1.

Mongolian trickster Kakuryu, who stunned Baruto on Wednesday, showed nifty footwork to draw in Tochiozan (3-3) and slap the komsubi down to stay tied at the top as the first week of the basho draws to a close.

Ozeki Kotoshogiku cemented his place among the chasing pack by dismantling Myogiru with a frontal push down, sentencing the No. 1 maegashira to his fifth defeat of the tourney.

Kotooshu claimed European bragging rights in a meeting with Georgian komusubi Gagamaru (0-6), the Bulgarian prevailing with a textbook overarm throw. Kisenosato (3-3) followed suit in the next bout, the Naruto stable star rebounding from Thursday’s defeat with a shove that forced Aminishiki (3-3) to lose his footing and step over the straw ridge.

Harumafuji repeatedly thwarted Tochinoshin (1-5) and countered to tip the Georgian No. 3 maegashira over with a hooking inner thigh throw to stay in touch with the front-running duo.