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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Baruto remains unbeaten

OSAKA (Kyodo) Promotion-chasing sekiwake Baruto dodged a bullet to floor Aminishiki and retain his share of the lead alongside yokozuna Hakuho at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament on Wednesday.

Baruto looked set to taste his first "kuroboshi" defeat of the 15-day tournament when he was tipped off balance at the start of an absorbing encounter at Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium.

But the Estonian behemoth dug in deep and neutralized Aminishiki's (1-3) attacks before getting both arms around the komusubi and squashing him to the sandy surface to improve to 4-0.

Baruto, whose warm personality and quirky sense of humor has won him a growing number of fans, is gunning for a move up the rankings to ozeki but must keep his form and register at least nine more wins here to be considered for promotion.

The Mongolian yokozuna showed his championship pedigree with another victory and shares the lead with Baruto, ozeki Harumafuji and three other wrestlers.

Hakuho delivered a polished performance in the day's final bout, methodically working out Kyokutenho to improve to 18-2 in 20 meetings with his fellow Mongolian.

Harumafuji faced a potentially awkward opponent in the shape of Russian No. 2 maegashira Aran but prevailed with a powerful two-handed shove to stay among the early front-runners. Aran dropped to 0-4.

In other bouts featuring ozeki, Kotomitsuki (2-2) came a cropper at the hands of local favorite Goeido (2-2) and battle-weary Kaio dropped his second bout in a row when he came off second best in a slapfest against top-ranked maegashira Kakuryu (1-3).

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