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Baruto Loses, Ozeki Hopes Crushed

Kaido Höövelson, better known as Baruto
Kaido Höövelson, better known as Baruto Source: Photo: ERR

Estonian sumo wrestler Baruto scored his sixth loss in the Hatsu Basho in Tokyo today, killing his last chance to restore the ozeki rank he lost at the end of last year.

The 28-year-old Lääne-Viru County native needed to finish the tournament with at least 10 wins to avoid having his relegation to sekiwake rank made permanent.

As it was, Baruto was forced out of the ring today by rival Takayasu, who although ranked lower, is one of the tournament's leaders.

The Estonian, known in the non-sumo world as Kaido Höövelson, 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.

Today's result means that the wrestler, like any other sekiwake, will have to win 32 or 33 bouts over three tournaments to qualify for advancement to ozeki.

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