May 2016, Day 14, Hakuho v Harumafuji

Hakuho his having to earn every one of his wins against the top wrestlers in the division on these last few days of the tournament. Yesterday Kisenosato gave him a couple of scares, and today Yokozuna Harumafuji does his best to upset his perfect record. Harumafuji charges out guns a-blazin’, moving so fast at the tachiai that he reaches Hakuho’s right shoulder before Hakuho has a chance to wind up and wallop him like he’s been doing to everyone else. Harumafuji locks up the left-hand overhand grip and starts to circle Hakuho, pulling him around before diving in for the right-hand underhand grip. He’s got a belt grip with both hands and Hakuho has none, and he pushes Hakuho to the edge for just a moment before Hakuho fights back by clamping down with his left arm, breaking Harumafuji’s grip on that side, and working back to the middle of the dohyo. Somewhere in there Hakuho gets an underhand grip with his right hand, so all of Harumafuji’s attention is focused on keeping his right arm high under Hakuho’s left to prevent the overhand grip. Harumafuji has the better posture, low and underneath Hakuho’s center of gravity, but when Hakuho feints with an outside leg trip Harumafuji is forced to react. At the same time Hakuho pulls with his vise-like right-handed grip, and Harumafuji ends up completely out of position with no energy left to defend. Yorikiri win for Hakuho, who stays perfect at 14-0. Hakuho returns to sit at the side of the dohyo to wait for the last bout to finish. It’s Kisenosato (13-1) vs Kakuryu, and a Kisenosato loss will guarantee Hakuho’s 37th tournament championship.

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