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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

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Show of strength: Ozeki Harumafuji (bottom) defeats Toyohibiki on Tuesday in the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament in Osaka. KYODO PHOTO

Baruto, Hakuho still have flawless records

OSAKA (Kyodo) Baruto secured European bragging rights Tuesday and took another huge step toward promotion to ozeki with a hard-fought win over Bulgarian ozeki Kotooshu on the 10th day of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament.

The towering Estonian sekiwake put on a gritty display in the day's penultimate bout at Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium and stayed on track for a showdown with yokozuna Hakuho, who also preserved his flawless record with a routine win over Tosayutaka.

Baruto made a lively start but was made to sweat and needed every ounce of his 188-kg frame to see off Kotooshu (7-3) and all but eliminate him from the title race.

"I thought I would be OK if I attacked him from the side," said Baruto. "I am taking each day as it comes and hopefully I can keep showing my brand of sumo."

Meanwhile, it was business as usual for Hakuho as the yokozuna smothered fourth-ranked Tosayutaka (1-9) and guided him to the dirt with a beltless arm throw.

Mongolian ozeki Harumafuji upended fifth-ranked Toyohibiki (1-9) with a "watashikomi" thigh-grabbing push-down to remain one win behind the leading duo.

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