March 2016, Hakuho Yusho compilation

Hakuho wins the March 2016 Grand Sumo Tournament in Osaka, collecting his 36th top-division championship (1st all-time) with a 14-1 record. After losing on the first day to Komusubi Takarafuji via yorikiri, he strung together fourteen consecutive wins looking stronger and stronger each day. Until the last day, when I thought he cheated us out of a good matchup with Yokozuna Harumafuji. Of his fourteen wins, he used five different winning techniques: yorikiri (5), oshidashi (5), uwatenage (2), yoritaoshi (1), and tsukiotoshi (1). His longest bout was 53.3 seconds, and the shortest was only 1.4, with an average over the tournament of 7.7 seconds. Anyway, enjoy this compilation of all fifteen of his bouts in a row.

March 2016, Day 15, Harumafuji v Hakuho

It all comes down to a Yokuzuna matchup. If Hakuho wins, he’s the only wrestler with a 14-1 record and takes the championship uncontested. If he loses, he’ll be in a playoff with 13-2 Kisenosato. So I get it, you want to clinch it with this bout, you don’t want to leave it to chance, and Harumafuji can give you fits if he’s on his game. But don’t win it like this. You’re the Yokozuna, and you owe your opponent a fair fight. Especially a fellow Yokozuna. Listen to the crowd – they agree with me. Yeah, yeah, congrats on your 36th top-division championship, but don’t expect me to cheer.

March 2016, Day 15, Kakuryu v Kotoshogiku

Ozeki Kotoshogiku must be really disappointed in his pedestrian 8-7 record. After winning the previous tournament, he had a shot at Yokozuna promotion this time and couldn’t pull it off. Today he starts off strong against Yokozuna Kakuryu, fighting back after a weak tachiai only to get turned around by Kakuryu’s strong right arm. They both have belt grips on the other side, Kotoshogiku with the overhand right and Kakuryu with the underhand left, but then Kakuryu readjusts his left hand all the way around to the far side of the knot on Kotoshogiku’s back. That kind of leverage is hard to defend against, and a quick underarm throw by the Yokozuna ends the bout.

March 2016, Day 15, Goeido v Kisenosato

Would have liked to see a better performance by Goeido on the last day, but it looks like something went wrong with his right leg. There was a lot on the line, as the winner of the bout had to be ready to face Hakuho in a playoff should he lose. Kisenosato can be proud of his 13-2 record, but I’m sure he’d rather have the championship…

March 2016, Day 15, Shohozan v Takarafuji

The only thing on the line for these two guys on the last day is the hope of a smaller demotion next tournament with a win today. They’ve both got losing records, but they still put on a show with some great hand-fighting on both sides. Constantly struggling for belt grips and arm control, the wrestlers range across the dohyo and back before Shohozan side-steps at the edge of the ring (simultaneously breaking Takarafuji’s left-hand underhand grip with an armlock throw attempt), catching Takarafuji off-balance and in position for the oshidashi (front push out) win.

March 2016, Day 15, Myogiryu v Chiyotairyu

Not sure if Chiyotairyu waiting so long at the tachiai was intentional, or just bad timing. Whatever it was, after Myogiryu’s false start the two wrestlers reset and Chiyotairyu absolutely manhandles him. A strong right hand to the face puts Myogiryu completely off-balance and backpedaling, and a split second later he’s down on the floor beneath the dohyo.

March 2016, Day 15, Mitakeumi v Shodai

Mitakeumi earns a double-digit win record on the last day with a superb tachiai that stands up Shodai. He leads with his head with all his weight behind it, throwing a hard right arm at the same time that deflects Shodai off to the left. From there it’s easy enough to walk him out for the yorikiri victory.