How to beat Baruto--or Bruto if you announce for the NHK English broadcast
Baruto has just been sweeping through the lower Makuuchi
division leaving nearly every rikishi he faces crumpled in a large heap on the
dohyo. It's almost like watching a super human in the movies brush off his
attackers as if he's swatting flies. Can someone email me and verify whether or
not this guy is a direct descendent of Goliath? Start out with the Philistines
and see if they migrated and settled in Estonia.
Despite Baruto's run the previous seven days (remember, he DID start out 2-2), the dude's sumo is still quite unpolished, and he's made plenty of mistakes. He just hasn't paid for many of them thanks to his size, thus the 9-2 start. Let's go back and review his bouts to this point:
Day 1 Easy force out win over Homasho, a rikishi who has no thrusting power. You gotta come out thrusting against the Philistine.
Day 2 Loss to Tochinohana, a rikishi who is tall to somewhat neutralize Baruto's height and a rikishi who WISELY set up his win with tsuppari to the upper torso
Day 3 Hokutoriki...uh....next please
Day 4 Loss to Kitazakura, once again a rikishi whose height and size can neutralize Baruto's beef a bit. The key here was that Baruto was denied the right outer grip
Day 5 Win over Katayama...is that guy still breathing?
Day 6 Win over Hakurozan where like Homasho, Hakurozan made the mistake of going chest to chest with Baruto
Day 7 Win over Jumonji resorting to a tachi-ai henka. Careful Bruto, what comes around goes around
Day 8 Win over Yoshikaze. I think they're still trying to untangle him from Katayama
Day 9 Win over Kasugao. This was Baruto's worst sumo of the basho set up by an awful tachi-ai. If Kasugao looks forward with his eyes open at the tachi-ai, I think he wins.
Day 10 Win over Futenoh. Bad tachi-ai from Baruto giving his opponent moro-zashi. Futenoh panicked by failing to grab the belt. Mistake avoided for the win.
Day 11 Win over Tamanoshima where Tama really played this one smart using the tsuppari and keeping Baruto moving. He eventually gave up the right uwate (a huge no-no) and it was curtains. A weak Tamanoshima had his way for awhile against Baruto. If that was a genki rikishi like Kotomitsuki or Kisenosato, Baruto would have been in trouble.
Baruto has admitted himself the last few days that his sumo hasn't been pretty...and he's right. He is vulnerable but it will take this kind of attack to beat him:
- Tsuppari from the tachi-ai, no exceptions. If you can't thrust at the tachi-ai, call in sick the morning you face Baruto.
- Never give up the right outer grip or you're toast. I'm not suggesting a tachi-ai henka, but attack from your left side disallowing Baruto a right outer grip.
- Keep Baruto moving and hopefully thrusting...bigger opponents are easier to attack when they're flailing away
- Take advantage of Baruto's tachi-ai. I think the Estonian still tends to stand up too high at the initial charge. Hakuho was a lot like this when he was new, but you've seen how he has settled into the most solid tachi-ai in the bidness. If Baruto learns this, watch out.
I think Iwakiyama is a rikishi who will give Baruto trouble tomorrow IF he has confidence in his tsuppari and fires away with them from the tachi-ai. He's bulky enough like Kitazakura to actually move Baruto around, and he's a veteran who should have a little pride running through his veins. We don't know Baruto's opponents the last three days, but they should all be kachi-koshi rikishi, so don't expect the cakewalk we've seen the last seven days. I'm sure Kyokushuzan will be one of them, and that should be interesting. Anybody wanna bet that Shu doesn't henka to his left? Wily E. hasn't stuck around this long in the division because he goes chest to chest with his opponents. Back to the point, I mentioned in my day 9 report that I didn't think Baruto was a serious contender for the yusho, and my reasoning is that I think over the last 4 days, he's going to get quality rikishi who can expose his mistakes and take advantage of the rough edges to his sumo. Still, it should be no surprise to see this dude hoisting the Emperor's cup in a year or so.
When all else fails against Bruto, dere's always da spinach! A-ga-ga-ga-ga-guh.