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Friday, Nov. 16, 2007


Baruto pushes out Hakurozan to stay perfect

FUKUOKA (Kyodo) Estonian man mountain Baruto beat fellow European rank-and-filer Hakurozan to retain his share of the lead at 5-0, while Mongolian grand champion Hakuho remained one win back at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament on Thursday.

Back in the makuuchi division after winning the second-tier juryo title with a 13-2 mark in September, Baruto proved an immovable object at Fukuoka Kokusai Center, wrapping up his Russian opponent and working him over the bales to preserve his unbeaten record. Hakurozan dropped to 2-3.

Baruto shares the lead with ozeki Chiyotaikai, while Hakuho stayed in touch with the early pacesetters at 4-1 with a classy win over Dejima in the day's final bout.

Hakuho got a scare as Dejima (3-2) threw him off balance after the charge but the yokozuna's quality shone through as he recovered to send the No. 2 maegashira down with a beltless arm throw.

Hakuho is seeking his fifth career title and is the hot favorite to win the Emperor's Cup in the absence of suspension-hit grand champion Asashoryu.

Asashoryu, who was banned from competing after he was punished for playing in a charity soccer match in his native Mongolia despite having claimed injuries that allowed him to miss a regional tour, will return for the New Year meet in January.

Chiyotaikai took care of business with a flurry of trademark thrusts to easily see off winless Miyabiyama but there were upset defeats for fellow ozeki Kaio and Kotooshu.

Injury weary Kaio is fighting for his pride in front of his hometown fans but he gave them little to cheer about as he slumped to a second defeat after being bundled out by Mongolian komusubi Ama (3-2).

The 35-year-old Kaio is facing demotion for a record 11th time here and needs to post a majority of wins to keep his rank.

Kotooshu was next to bite the dust, the Bulgarian running out of steam at the ring's edge and allowing spunky No. 2 maegashira Kisenosato to bump him out. Both men have 2-3 records.

Kotomitsuki faced a brave challenge from third-ranked Kakuryu (1-4) but prevailed to register a fourth win after flooring the Mongolian with an inner-thigh-grabbing twist-down.

Asasekiryu slipped to 3-2 after being overpowered by local favorite Kotoshogiku (2-3) but Aminishiki (3-2) restored pride for sumo's third rank of sekiwake by sentencing top-ranked maegashira Homasho to a fifth defeat in a row.

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