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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Baruto bounces back; Hakuho still in control

Kyodo News

Estonian giant Baruto got back on the winning track on his ozeki debut Monday while Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho stayed in sole possession of the lead at the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament.

Sent crashing to a shock first defeat at the hands of Kakuryu on Sunday, Baruto came back with a bang at Ryogoku Kokugikan, picking his moment to break free from a mid-ring stalemate and barge out veteran ozeki Kaio to secure a winning record.

Baruto, who is aiming to become only the second European grappler after Kotooshu to lift the Emperor's Cup, stayed within one win of tourney favorite Hakuho at 8-1. Kaio (5-4) needs four wins to reach a milestone of 1,000 career victories.

In the day's last bout, Hakuho was given a serious run for his money by compatriot Kakuryu (3-6) but came through unscathed to extend his winning streak to 26 bouts after bulldozing the third-ranked wrestler into the ringside cushions.

Hakuho put together a spotless 15-0 record in March at the spring meet, his first tournament as the lone yokozuna following the retirement of Asashoryu.

In other bouts in the upper reaches of sumo's premier league, Kotomitsuki (6-3) stood his ground to bundle out plucky komusubi Tochiozan (3-6), but Kotooshu was consigned to his third defeat in the next bout by fourth-ranked Mongolian Asasekiryu (6-3), who got in low at the charge to send the Bulgarian ozeki sprawling with a two-handed overarm "uwatenage" throw.

"I'm happy," said Asasekiryu. "I came into the tournament just hoping to wrestle my brand of sumo in each bout."

In stark contrast, Harumafuji (7-2) was never in danger against veteran Wakanosato (1-8), the ozeki getting behind the former sekiwake and flooring him with a rear push-down.

Elsewhere, Aminishiki claimed sekiwake bragging rights and picked up his third win by dispatching Kisenosato with a routine frontal push-out technique. Kisenosato dropped to 5-4.

Top-ranked Miyabiyama prevailed in an epic tussle with feisty Georgian grappler Tochinoshin. Ozeki slayer Tochinoshin (5-4) threw everything he had at Miyabiyama but eventually lost his way and got hauled down by the one-time ozeki, who improved his mark to 4-5.

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