January 2017, Day 9, Kisenosato v Kotoshogiku

Poor Kisenosato is his own worst enemy. He had a chance to put a stranglehold on the rest of the top division, pulling away by two wins ahead of Yokozuna Hakuho, his stiffest competition for the title. Instead he lets the struggling Kotoshogiku spoil his perfect record on Day 9. Other than a fantastic tachiai, Kotoshogiku doesn’t bring any surprises, getting his left arm high inside around the torso and applying his patented “frog-hop” gaburi-yori, launching his bulk into Kisenosato with quick double-leg thrusts. Kotoshogiku’s high left arm denies Kisenosato a couple of times when he goes for an overarm belt grip on the right side, and Kisenosato’s posture is too high to defend without any hold on the belt. The Kotoshogiku train picks up steam, and Kisenosato’s last-gasp attempt to plant his right foot against the tawara completely misses. Kisenosato stays tied for the tournament lead with M10 Takanoiwa at 8-1, and Kotoshogiku is still a long way off from eight wins at 3-6.

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