Baruto Kaito

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Baruto Kaito
把瑠都 凱斗
Baruto 2011 Sep.JPG
Personal information
Born Kaido Höövelson
(1984-11-05) 5 November 1984 (age 30)
Väike-Maarja, Lääne-Viru County, Estonia[1]
Height 1.99 m (6 ft 6 12 in)
Weight 193 kg (425 lb; 30.4 st)
Career
Stable Onoe, formerly Mihogaseki
Record 431-213-102
Debut May, 2004
Highest rank Ōzeki (May, 2010)
Retired September 2013
Championships 1 (Makuuchi)
3 (Jūryō)
1 (Makushita)
1 (Jonidan)
1 (Jonokuchi)
Special Prizes Fighting Spirit (5)
Outstanding Performance (1)
Technique (1)
* Up to date as of Sep 2013.

Baruto Kaito (把瑠都 凱斗, born 5 November 1984 as Kaido Höövelson) is a former professional sumo wrestler from Estonia.[1] Making his debut in May 2004, he was one of only two Estonians ever to join the sport in Japan, and the first to reach the top division, which he achieved after just two years in sumo in May 2006. After suffering a number of injury problems in 2007 which delayed his progress, he reached the third highest rank of sekiwake in November 2008, and was promoted to ōzeki rank after finishing the March 2010 tournament with a score of 14–1.[2] He has been a tournament runner-up four times and earned five special prizes for Fighting Spirit, one for Outstanding Performance and one for Technique. In the 2012 January tournament he recorded his first top division championship. He lost his ōzeki rank after more injury problems at the end of 2012, and having fallen greatly in rank after withdrawing from the May 2013 tournament, he announced his retirement in September of that year at the age of 28.[3]

Early life and sumo background[edit]

Höövelson was born in Väike-Maarja, but grew up in the nearby Rohu village in current Laekvere Parish.[1] His family owned a cattle farm and he became accustomed to hard physical labour as a child.[4] His father died when Höövelson was sixteen years old and he worked as a nightclub bouncer to earn a living.[5]

He played basketball as a teenager and also won a national judo championship in Estonia.[6]

Baruto outside a September 2008 tournament.

He was introduced to amateur sumo when he was a little boy. Through his judo coach Riho Rannikmaa, and an official from the Kagoshima Prefecture Sumo Association, Kazuo Kurazono, encouraged him to join the professional sport.[6] Due to the restrictions on foreigners entering sumo, the only stable with a place available was Mihogaseki.[6] He was given the shikona or fighting name of Baruto, a reference to the Japanese name of the Baltic sea, and made his professional debut in May 2004. He moved very quickly up the rankings, reaching the jūryō division after only 8 tournaments (tied for the third fastest rise to sekitori status since 1958 when the current 6 tournament a year format was adopted) and compiling a record of 41–8 on the way.

Baruto won the jūryō division March 2006 honbasho tournament with a perfect 15–0 result. This was only the fourth time ever that a jūryō wrestler has won the championship with such a record. He was the first to achieve this since Kitanofuji, who ultimately reached the top yokozuna rank, in 1963.[7] As a result of this performance he was promoted to makuuchi, the highest division, for the first time in his career in May 2006. It is likely that Baruto could have achieved a more rapid rise to the top division, were it not for him suffering from appendicitis in November 2005, the resulting absence from the tournament sending him back down to the third highest makushita division temporarily. Despite this, his rise to the top division in two years is equal to the second fastest ever.

Top division career[edit]

In his first tournament in the top division Baruto scored a strong 11–4 record and won the kantō-shō (or Fighting Spirit Prize). After a second winning record in July and another promotion, Baruto's quick ascent through the ranks halted at maegashira 1. He withdrew from the September tournament with an injury, which lowered his standing to maegashira 6 in the November tournament. The result of 10–5 there took him up to maegashira 3, but he was again injured in the January 2007 tournament. He suffered a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. He was unable to compete in the March tournament as well and his ranking suffered, resulting in a return to the jūryō ranks. In May he won the jūryō championship with a 14–1 record, resulting in an immediate return to makuuchi in July to the position of maegashira 14 East. However he re-injured his knee on the opening day and decided to withdraw from the tournament.[8] It was the third time he had injured the knee, each time in a different place. He has not yet undergone surgery, which would require a lengthy lay-off.[9]

In September 2007, despite being clearly still troubled by his knee, he took his third jūryō division championship with a 13–2 record. This was enough to earn promotion back to the top division for November. He was in contention for the championship until the final days of the tournament when he was defeated by ōzeki Chiyotaikai and komusubi Ama. He finished with an 11–4 record and was awarded his second Fighting Spirit Prize.

Baruto in May 2009.

In the January 2008 tournament Baruto produced a 7–8 score, the first time in his career that he has completed a tournament and finished with more losses than wins. He performed much better in March, finishing as joint runner-up with 12 wins and being awarded another Fighting Spirit Prize. In the May 2008 tournament he was unable to defeat any of the top rankers and could only manage five wins. In the July 2008 tournament, Baruto finished with a 10–5 score, assuring a komusubi debut in September.

In his first appearance as komusubi in the September tournament, Baruto managed an 8–7 score, while having a less than perfect start to the tournament. He was just 2–7 after 9 bouts where he competed with only the titled ranks of san'yaku wrestlers. His last six matches were against wrestlers from the maegashira ranks and there Baruto managed to hold his ground. He was promoted to sekiwake rank for the Kyushu Basho in November, as the west sekiwake Toyonoshima could not hold his position after a 6–9 finish in the Aki Basho, thus leaving an opening for the position. He came through with a winning record in his sekiwake debut.

Baruto had an excellent start to the January 2009 tournament, winning his first six matches. However he began losing in the second week and finished on 9–6. By contrast, he struggled during the first week of the March tournament in facing the top ranked wrestlers and stood at 3–6 after nine days, but he maintained his rank with a kachi-koshi victory on the final day. He is the first sekiwake to hold his rank for four straight tournaments since his debut since Asashōryū in 2002.[10] He lost the rank in May 2009, but fighting from the maegashira 3 position in July he produced a strong 11–4 record and returned to the komusubi rank for the September tournament. There he became the first non-yokozuna since Hoshi in 1986 to defeat five ōzeki in one tournament. He finished with a fine 12–3 record, guaranteeing his return to sekiwake, and was awarded his fourth Fighting Spirit prize. He scored nine wins in the next tournament.

Ōzeki promotion[edit]

Baruto at the January 2010 basho in Tokyo

On the seventh day of the January 2010 tournament he finally managed to defeat a yokozuna, Hakuhō, by sukuinage, or beltless arm throw, his first win over a yokozuna in nineteen attempts. This earned him his first Outstanding Performance award, and he finished on 12–3. He became only the third wrestler to compile 33 wins over three tournaments in a san'yaku rank and not be promoted to ōzeki, following Kotogahama in 1957 and Miyabiyama (twice) in 2006. At the March tournament in Osaka it was indicated by Sumo Association official Tomozuna Oyakata that he would need to win at least 13 bouts and be in contention for the yūshō to earn ōzeki promotion.[11] Baruto was nursing an injury to his left thumb throughout the basho,[12] which he picked up in a training session with Aran. However, he produced his best score in the top division to date of 14–1, and lost only to Hakuhō on Day 11. He was in contention for the championship until the final bout of the tournament, which Hakuhō won over Harumafuji to complete an undefeated 15–0 performance. Baruto was rewarded with special prizes for Fighting Spirit and Technique, the first time since Kotomitsuki in July 2007 that one wrestler has received two prizes in the same tournament.[2]

Baruto's promotion was officially confirmed by the Sumo Association on March 31. Speaking to reporters at his Onoe stable, he said, "I want to be cheerful and be an ōzeki that can live up to the expectations of the fans." He also made clear his determination to win the yūshō, as "unless I win a championship I can't move up to yokozuna."[7] However, for a significant period he was not able to challenge for the championship as an ōzeki, his best score never being higher than 11–4. This changed in January 2012, when after he recorded 13 straight wins and his nearest challenger yokozuna Hakuhō suffered three losses in four bouts, he took the championship with two days left to spare.[13] This made him the ninth foreigner, and the second from Europe after Kotoōshū, to win a top division championship.[13] He finished on 14–1, denied a perfect record by Hakuhō on the final day.[14] He will need to win the next tournament or be in contention until the final day to earn a shot at yokozuna promotion, but Baruto told reporters the day after celebrating his victory, "If I can wrestle at the spring basho like I did at the New Year meet, results will follow. Once you win one tournament, you want to win a second, a third, a 10th and a 30th."[15] At the Osaka tournament in March he stood at 9–1 after ten days, but lost four of his last five matches to finish on a disappointing 10–5, putting any hopes for yokozuna promotion back to square one. Baruto had been suffering from a fever during the tournament and said afterwards that talk of yokozuna was just "journalistic chatter... that wasn't my goal in this tournament."[16]

Loss of rank[edit]

Baruto was kadoban, or in danger of demotion from ōzeki, after he pulled out of the Aki basho in September 2012 on the 4th day after injuring the big toe on his right foot before the tournament.[17] Needing at least eight wins to preserve his rank in the Kyushu tournament in November, he instead had to withdraw once again on Day 3 after injuring a thigh muscle, and was demoted back to sekiwake.[18] Needing ten wins in the January 2013 tournament, he lost his chance of an immediate return to ōzeki on Day 13 when he fell to his sixth defeat.[19] He would have had to win 32 or 33 bouts in three consecutive tournaments in makuuchi to earn promotion to ōzeki again.[20] Because he sat out the summer tournament 2013 due to injury, he was demoted to the jūryō division in September 2013 and chose to retire on September the 11th.[3]

Fighting style[edit]

Baruto had a solid and straightforward yotsu-sumo style, concentrating on techniques which involved grabbing the opponent's mawashi or belt. He preferred a migi-yotsu grip, with his right hand inside and left hand outside his opponent's arms. His most common winning kimarite or technique was overwhelmingly yori-kiri, or force out. Due to his great strength he was known for using tsuri-dashi, or lift out, a technique which has declined in recent years because of the increasing weight of wrestlers. Baruto used this technique three times in the July 2009 tournament alone. He also frequently used uwatenage, or overarm throw. He was forced to change his yotsu style in his successful ōzeki promotion basho of March 2010, as his thumb injury meant he was less effective on the mawashi, and he used a more aggressive slapping and thrusting attack instead.[21]

At 188 kilograms, Baruto was the second heaviest man in the top division at the time, after Gagamaru. He was popular among other wrestlers due to his friendly character and was known for always smiling, win or lose.[4] His stablemaster Onoe Oyakata commented, "All wrestlers have their unique personalities. Baruto is friendly and gentle and he shouldn't change that. He has to win to get promoted but outside the ring I don't want him to forget to smile."[22] Baruto was also known for taking great care not to injure his opponents.[22]

Personal life[edit]

In 2012 Estonian president Toomas Hendrik Ilves awarded the Order of the White Star to Baruto.

In February 2009 Baruto married Elena Tregubova, a 26-year-old Russian from Vladivostok. They had met four years earlier. The couple was married in Japan.[23]

Baruto received the Order of the White Star, 3rd Class in 2012.[24][25]

Career record[edit]

Baruto Kaito[26]
Year in sumo January
Hatsu basho, Tokyo
March
Haru basho, Osaka
May
Natsu basho, Tokyo
July
Nagoya basho, Nagoya
September
Aki basho, Tokyo
November
Kyūshū basho, Fukuoka
2004 x x (Maezumo) East Jonokuchi #40
7–0
Champion

 
East Jonidan #30
7–0–PPP
Champion

 
West Sandanme #33
5–2
 
2005 East Sandanme #6
6–1
 
West Makushita #32
5–2
 
East Makushita #22
6–1
 
West Makushita #6
5–2
 
West Jūryō #14
12–3
 
West Jūryō #4
0–1–14
 
2006 West Makushita #3
6–1–PPP
Champion

 
East Jūryō #11
15–0
Champion

 
West Maegashira #11
11–4
F
West Maegashira #4
9–6
 
East Maegashira #1
4–7–4
 
West Maegashira #6
10–5
 
2007 West Maegashira #3
2–2–11
 
West Maegashira #13
Sat out due to injury
0–0–15
West Jūryō #11
14–1
Champion

 
East Maegashira #14
0–2–13
 
West Jūryō #9
13–2
Champion

 
East Maegashira #16
11–4
F
2008 West Maegashira #6
7–8
 
East Maegashira #7
12–3
F
West Maegashira #1
5–10
 
West Maegashira #5
10–5
 
East Komusubi #1
8–7
 
West Sekiwake #1
9–6
 
2009 East Sekiwake #1
9–6
 
East Sekiwake #1
8–7
 
East Sekiwake #1
4–11
 
West Maegashira #3
11–4
 
East Komusubi #1
12–3
F
East Sekiwake #1
9–6
 
2010 East Sekiwake #1
12–3
O
East Sekiwake #1
14–1
FT
West Ōzeki #3
10–5
 
East Ōzeki #1
8–7
 
East Ōzeki #2
9–6
 
West Ōzeki #1
11–4
 
2011 West Ōzeki #1
9–6
 
East Ōzeki #2
Tournament Cancelled
0–0–0
East Ōzeki #2
10–5
 
East Ōzeki #1
11–4
 
West Ōzeki #1
10–5
 
East Ōzeki #1
11–4
 
2012 East Ōzeki #1
14–1
 
East Ōzeki #1
10–5
 
West Ōzeki #1
9–6
 
East Ōzeki #2
9–6
 
West Ōzeki #2
1–3–11
 
East Ōzeki #3
1–2–12
 
2013 West Sekiwake #1
8–7
 
West Sekiwake #1
9–6
 
West Sekiwake #1
3–5–7
 
Maegashira #6
Sat out due to injury
0–0–15
East Jūryō #3
Retired
0–0
x
Record given as win-loss-absent    Top Division Champion Retired Lower Divisions

Sanshō key: F=Fighting spirit; O=Outstanding performance; T=Technique     Also shown: =Kinboshi(s); P=Playoff(s)
Divisions: MakuuchiJūryōMakushitaSandanmeJonidanJonokuchi

Makuuchi ranks: YokozunaŌzekiSekiwakeKomusubiMaegashira

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Baruto". Meiebaruto.ee. 
  2. ^ a b "Sumo: Hakuho wins Osaka basho with flawless record". Mainichi Daily News. 29 March 2010. Retrieved 29 March 2010. [dead link]
  3. ^ a b "Baruto retires from sumo at age 28". The Japan Times. 11 September 2013. Retrieved 16 September 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "'Sumo is beautiful': Estonian Baruto Kaito's rough road to the top". Mainichi Daily News. 29 March 2010. Archived from the original on 1 April 2010. Retrieved 29 March 2010. [dead link]
  5. ^ Willacy, Mark (2009-06-09). "Sumo Confidential". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2012-10-04. 
  6. ^ a b c Buckton, Mark (June 2006). "SFM Interview: Baruto". Sumo Fan Magazine. Archived from the original on 31 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-29. 
  7. ^ a b "Sumo: Estonian wrestler Baruto promoted to ōzeki". Mainichi Daily News. 31 March 2010. Archived from the original on 3 April 2010. Retrieved 31 March 2010. [dead link]
  8. ^ Japan Today – News – Estonian wrestler Baruto withdraws from Nagoya meet
  9. ^ Hardy, James (2007-07-11). "INSIDE GRIP: Stoic sumo needs new injury policy". Daily Yomiuri Online. Retrieved 2007-07-13. [dead link]
  10. ^ "2009 May Grand Sumo Tournament Banzuke Topics". Japan Sumo Association. April 2009. Retrieved 7 May 2009. 
  11. ^ "Baruto vajab ozekiks tõusmiseks vähemalt 13 võitu" (in Estonian). Postimees. 16 March 2010. Archived from the original on 22 March 2010. Retrieved 21 March 2010. 
  12. ^ "Hakuho off to flying start in Osaka". Japan Times. 15 March 2010. Retrieved 21 March 2010. 
  13. ^ a b Hueston, Dave (21 January 2012). "Baruto wins New Year basho". Japan Times. Retrieved 26 January 2012. 
  14. ^ "Sumo: Hakuho denies Baruto perfect record on final day of New Year sumo". Mainichi Daily News. 23 January 2012. Archived from the original on 26 January 2012. 
  15. ^ "Sumo: Baruto basking in victory after night of celebration". Mainichi Daily News. 23 January 2012. Archived from the original on 26 January 2012. 
  16. ^ "Baruto Has Sights Set on Yokozuna Title After Disappointing Tournament". ERR News. 27 March 2012. Retrieved 28 March 2012. 
  17. ^ "SUMO/ Hakuho, Harumafuji remain impressive on Day 4". Asahi Shimbun. 12 September 2012. Retrieved 17 November 2012. 
  18. ^ "SUMO/ Hakuho stays one win ahead of Harumafuji on Day 3". Asahi Shimbun. 13 November 2012. Retrieved 17 November 2012. 
  19. ^ "Harumafuji claims perfect record". Asahi Shimbun. 25 January 2013. Retrieved 30 January 2013. 
  20. ^ "Baruto Loses, Ozeki Hopes Crushed". Estonian Public Broadcasting. 25 January 2013. Retrieved 1 February 2013. 
  21. ^ "Baruto reveals injury forced tactical switch". Japan Times. 30 March 2010. Retrieved 29 March 2010. 
  22. ^ a b Hueston, Dave (29 April 2010). "Estonian Baruto aims for sumo's top rank". Japan Times. Retrieved 30 April 2010. 
  23. ^ "Baruto abiellus!" (in Estonian). Postimees. 20 February 2009. 
  24. ^ "Barutole omistati Valgetähe III klassi orden" (in Estonian). Eesti Rahvusringhääling. 1 Feb 2012. 
  25. ^ "Baruto saab presidendilt Valgetähe ordeni". Postimees (in Estonian). 1 Feb 2012. 
  26. ^ "Baruto Kaito Rikishi Information". Sumo Reference. Retrieved 2013-01-27. 

External links[edit]