Hakuho, Rival Baruto Remain Unbeaten In Spring Tourney

Hakuho, rival Baruto remain unbeaten in spring tourneyYokozuna Hakuho and ozeki Baruto moved up to three wins against no losses on March 13 at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament, while two more ozeki fell to upsets that could cost them dearly in the race for the overall title.

Defending champion Baruto blazed a trail straight through new top maegashira Myogiryu, pounding him at the face-off and following up with several unanswered thrusts.

If Baruto can win the tournament in Osaka, he will become the first European-born yokozuna. Thirteen wins is seen as his make-or-break mark, and getting through the first week will be key so that he can build his confidence and momentum.

Hakuho--who needs no confidence boosts--plowed down top maegashira Tochinowaka. He raced out of the gate and offered no quarter as he thrust and then pulled Tochinowaka into submission. Hakuho has 21 top division titles under his belt, and was the only wrestler to beat Baruto the last time out.

After dropping his first two bouts, fledgling ozeki Kisenosato slapped and thrust No. 2 maegashira Yoshikaze out of the ring. Kisenosato looked slow and a tad off center, but he clearly had no intention of losing the match and had enough power in his attack to stay out of any serious trouble.

Bulgarian ozeki Kotooshu, meanwhile, couldn't get a foothold and was unceremoniously dumped by komusubi Tochiozan. Kotooshu slid all the way back to the edge after a limp face-off, and when he tried to fight his way out he leaned too far forward and was easily maneuvered off balance. Both are 2-1.

via AJW