January 2017, Day 8, Arawashi v Hakuho

Who would have thought it possible? Arawashi, with six losses in seven days, wrestling at his highest-ever rank of Maegashira 2 and clearly out of his league in the rarified air against the competition at the top of the Makuuchi division, with his first career bout against arguably one of the greatest sumo wrestlers in the history of the sport. And he takes down Hakuho for his second win over a Yokozuna and only his second win of the tournament. Outstanding. Hakuho reaches with his long left arm for the overhand grip on Arawashi’s belt, but Arawashi rotates to his left, pulling his hips just out of reach. Literally only a half-second into the bout and Arawashi has the better position – a migi-yotsu (right arm under, left arm over) with a decent grip on Hakuho’s belt with the overhand left, while Hakuho still doesn’t have a handle on Arawashi’s belt with either hand. Arawashi continues to circle to his left, lifting up on the Yokozuna’s torso with a right arm under the armpit, while clamping down on the Yokozuna’s right arm. He’s kept his hips low and away, out of danger from Hakuho’s grip, but once the Yokozuna is backed up to the edge of the dohyo Arawashi closes the distance and charges hard, moving his feet forward to stay in control. Yorikiri (front force out) win for Arawashi. The first half of the tournament is finished, with Ozeki Kisenosato in pole position with a perfect 8-0 record. One loss back at 7-1 are Yokozuna Hakuho, M10 Takanoiwa, and M10 Sokokurai. A bunch more guys are still in the hunt at 6-2 and 5-3, and the loss by Hakuho along with Kisenosato’s ability to lose on any given day mean the championship is up for grabs.

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