Baruto Kaito - Early Career

Early Career

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

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

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. Due to the restrictions on foreigners entering sumo, the only stable with a place available was Mihogaseki. 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 ryō 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. 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.

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