A loss suffered in the Hatsu Basho in Tokyo today has put Estonia's top-division sumo wrestler Baruto one step from having his recent demotion from ozeki rank made permanent.
With a standing of five wins and five losses at the tournament, the 28-year-old will now have to win all five of his remaining bouts to regain the status he lost at the end of last year.
Baruto's defeat today was not a huge surprise as he was facing Mongolian Harumafuji, who holds the sport's top rank of Yokozuna. Harumafuji made quick work of the Estonian with an okuridashi – a rear force-out.
Baruto had been competing as a member of the sport's second-highest rank, ozeki, since May 2010, but was demoted to sekiwake in November after a hamstring tear forced him to pull out of the year's sixth tournament. Because he had missed the previous tournament, that time due to a broken toe, he was already in line for relegation.
The wrestler needs to win a total 10 of this tournament's 15 bouts to win back his rank. Failure to do so will put him on equal footing with all other sekiwake looking to advance, and he will have to win 32 or 33 bouts over three tournaments to qualify.