January 2017, Day 12, Hokutofuji v Ichinojo

Hokutofuji really tries to pump himself up for this bout with Ichinojo. He hits himself hard in the chin with both fists, stretches his back, gives the old mawashi a good readjustment, loosens his shoulders, stamps his feet, and gets down ready to go. Ichinojo doesn’t flinch. He’s a stone wall. Hokutofuji sits up like, “Come on, man, we doin’ this?” Ichinojo, in his own time, is like, “Aight, now I’m ready.” Hokutofuji gives the universal head nod of “Here I come,” and charges. But all that mental prep goes to waste, and Ichinojo takes him out easily with a strong right-handed underarm grip. Ichinojo stays tied with Yokozuna Hakuho and M10 Takanoiwa for second place, one loss behind Kisenosato. If the two lower-ranked guys can win out, then a Hakuho victory over Kisenosato could lead to a four-man playoff on the last day.


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