January 2017, Day 8, Takekaze v Kaisei

Takekaze provides a real treat on Day 8, winning by one of the rarest kimarite (winning techniques) seen in sumo. Ipponzeoi (one-armed shoulder throw) is used by wrestlers only .02% of the time (for contrast, 26% of all bouts are decided by yorikiri), and the last time Takekaze performed it was almost twelve-and-a-half years ago. After a solid tachiai against Kaisei, Takekaze starts off trying to pull his opponent down by the back of the head. When that doesn’t work he transitions quickly into a double-underarm morozashi position, looking for the front of the belt with his left hand to equalize the left-handed overarm grip Kaisei has already secured. Kaisei does a good job clamping down on Takekaze’s left arm and making it hard to get a solid grip, so Takekaze jumps backward. He lands and sets his feet sideways, with Kaisei following closely. The momentum is in Takekaze’s favor if he can pull it off, so he grabs onto Kaisei’s right arm with both hands, turns his back, hoists Kaisei onto his shoulder and cranks on that arm. Kaisei goes over like a 400-pound bag of mulch, and Takekaze gets the win. The crowd is all a-twitter from the action, but listen to the reaction when the announcer calls the official decision as “ipponzeoi.” They know they’ve seen something special.

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