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Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2010

Baruto stays in contention with another upset

Kyodo News

Giant-killing sekiwake Baruto stunned Kotooshu to claim European bragging rights and keep pace with yokozuna Hakuho and Asashoryu at the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament on Monday.

The Estonian behemoth tore into Kotooshu at the charge and buried his head in the Bulgarian ozeki's chest before methodically working him over the bales to claim to his latest upset win at Ryogoku Kokugikan.

Baruto, who is looking to become only the second European rikishi after Kotooshu (7-2) to lift the Emperor's Cup, heads into the final third of the basho tied at 8-1 with Hakuho and Asashoryu.

The 25-year-old gentle giant has now beaten Hakuho and four ozeki here but he was quick to play down his chances of the title in a post-match interview.

"There is still a long way to go in this tournament yet," said Baruto, whose real name is Kaido Hoovelson. Asked if he was starting to feel pressure, he added, "I get nervous. I'm only human after all."

Asashoryu and Hakuho both won handsomely and chances are they will stay on course for another collision as the 15-day basho winds down.

Asashoryu dodged Kisenosato (5-4) at the charge and got both arms around the third-ranked maegashira to slam him to the sandy surface with a nicely worked twisting backward knee trip.

And it was just another day at the office for Hakuho, who kept a 13th Emperor's Cup in his sights by making short work of fourth-ranked Kakizoe (4-5).

In other bouts, ozeki Kaio gave Hokutoriki a sumo lesson and forced out the third-ranked maegashira to register his third win in a row.

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