March 2017, Day 13, Terunofuji v Kakuryu

Terunofuji is a man on a mission. Almost two years after his first and only top division championship, he has another one in his sights. And he’s not letting Yokozuna Kakuryu get in his way. Kakuryu comes out strong, maneuvering for the double-under morozashi grip on Terunofuji’s belt, giving up the double-over to Terunofuji’s long arms. Terunofuji gets Kakuryu to the edge of the ring, but he’s only got one layer of the Yokozuna’s belt and can’t get enough leverage. Kakuryu tries to push forward and Terunofuji reverses his left arm to a deep inside belt grip, which gives him better control over Kakuryu’s hips. Kakuryu re-reverses his arm position on that side for a deep underarm grip of his own, but Terunofuji draws up his strength and muscles the Yokozuna towards the edge. One brief glimmer of hope for Kakuryu as he tries to swing Terunofuji around, but the Ozeki is too heavy. Good solid win for Terunofuji to finish 12-1. Tomorrow he meets Sekiwake Kotoshogiku for what promises to be an entertaining bout, and his last day opponent is still up in the air. Things were set for a final day showdown with Yokozuna Kisenosato, but whether Kisenosato’s Day 13 injury will permit him to continue in the tournament remains to be seen. If Kisenosato drops out, then Terunofuji will have a much lower-ranked opponent on the last day and a much easier path to his second championship.

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