Yokozuna Hakuho wins the May 2017 Grand Sumo Tournament in Tokyo, earning his 38th top-division championship with a perfect record of 15-0. Over the course of fifteen wins he used seven different kimarite (winning techniques): yorikiri (5), hatakikomi (2), uwatenage (2), uwatedashinage (2), yoritaoshi (2), uwatehineri, and oshidashi. Congrats to the champ!
Fantastic end to the tournament, one of the best bouts of the entire two weeks. Hakuho has already clinched the tournament, but fellow Yokozuna Harumafuji would love to play spoiler and prevent Hakuho from getting a perfect 15-0 record. The bout is even with a ton of back and forth, Harumafuji driving Hakuho to the edge, and Hakuho fighting back to the center. Harumafuji has good grips with both hands on Hakuho’s belt, right hand under and left hand over, but Hakuho only has the right-handed underarm grip on Harumafuji. He strains with his left arm, knowing that the overarm grip on that side will turn the tide of the bout in his favor, but Harumafuji can make his torso incredibly long to keep his hips out of reach. Harumafuji charges again, Hakuho reaches again, and no one can get the advantage. Hakuho defends once more at the edge of the ring and now his left arm is on the other side of Harumafuji’s body, so I can’t see exactly when it happens, but there’s a sudden movement, a jerk of their bodies, and I think that’s when Hakuho gets the grip he’s been looking for. Harumafuji knows his doom has come, and tries one last gasp effort to mount some offense. But Hakuho takes a breath and lets go with his right hand so that he can push against Harumafuji’s body, giving him the leverage he needs to shake his right hip free from Harumafuji’s overarm belt grip. Once that grip is broken, Hakuho uses his right arm to lift up Harumafuji’s torso and walk him out the other side of the dohyo. Fifteen days, fifteen wins. Hakuho wins his 38th top-division championship with a perfect record. Harumafuji finishes at 11-4.
Ozeki Terunofuji’s all like, “You’re gonna be Ozeki next tournament, Takayasu, but until then I outrank you. You go ahead and try that arm throw from the right side, I’ll clamp on an armlock and introduce you to the ground.” And Takayasu’s all like, “OK, you made your point, my arm’s a little sore now, but don’t forget that I’ve beat you more times than you’ve beat me. I’ll see you in July.” Terunofuji finishes 12-3, Takayasu 11-4. But Takayasu still holds the edge in head-to-head bouts with Terunofuji, eight wins to seven.
The referee calls a false start between Tamawashi and Goeido after their first attempt at a tachiai, and the second time around is all Tamawashi. He holds his ground at the initial charge, then grabs Goeido by the back of the head and yanks him down to the ground. Goeido is susceptible to pulling techniques, and Tamawashi played him like a drum. The Ozeki finishes with a meh 9-6 record, and Tamawashi should be very happy with his 10-5.
The first eight days of the tournament were a disaster for Kotoshogiku. He only earned one win against seven losses, meaning he needed to win the remaining seven days in a row to avoid a makekoshi losing record. I don’t think anyone expected him to come as close as he did, losing only once in the second half of the tournament to finish at 7-8. His opponent on the last day is the always tough Ikioi, but Kotoshogiku beats him handily, showing flashes of his former brilliance. Hopefully during the next tournament he can put together more performances like this one.
Ishiura can sleep well tonight, having earned his all-important eighth win on the final day of the tournament. Takekaze grabs Ishiura by the face to try and stop his forward charge, but Ishiura cannot be denied. Takekaze finishes with a disappointing 4-11 record.
Takakeisho looks skyward in the moments before his bout, gathering the strength he needs for the upcoming sacrifice. Nothing weird like a goat, just a sacrifice of his own body at the edge of the ring, launching into thin air, stretching out over empty space to gain the few milliseconds necessary for Onosho to step out first. That kind of dedication has led to an excellent 11-4 record for Takakeisho, and he should find himself much higher in the division next tournament. Onosho finishes his first top-division tournament with an outstanding 10-5 record.