July 2016, Day 9, Yoshikaze v Harumafuji

And all of a sudden, Kisenosato’s Yokozuna dreams actually seem possible. Yokozuna Kakuryu and Ozeki Kotoshogiku are out with injury. Hakuho has already lost twice. And Lil’ Hulk deals Yokozuna Harumafuji his second loss of the tournament, leaving Kisenosato tied for the lead at 8-1 with Takayasu. It’s all coming together. Anyway, back to the last bout of the day – Yoshikaze wants to make sure he’s absolutely ready before the tachiai, so he actually breaks the rhythm of the pre-bout ritual and stands to gather himself. He apologizes to Harumafuji, who takes it in stride, and they reset. This time there’s no hesitation and he’s ready for a brawl. It looks like he employs the perfect strategy against Harumafuji – absorbing the pushes, slaps, and pulls without overextending his reactions and giving Harumafuji anything to counter-attack against. Yoshikaze takes split-second advantage of a half-strength pull by Harumafuji, and pushes the Yokozuna across the ring. But he knows Harumafuji is primed to counter, so he stops just short of the edge and times a counter-counter-attack perfectly, pulling down the Yokozuna and enjoying the rain of purple cushions and a fat stack of cash.

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