May 2017, Day 15, Harumafuji v Hakuho

Fantastic end to the tournament, one of the best bouts of the entire two weeks. Hakuho has already clinched the tournament, but fellow Yokozuna Harumafuji would love to play spoiler and prevent Hakuho from getting a perfect 15-0 record. The bout is even with a ton of back and forth, Harumafuji driving Hakuho to the edge, and Hakuho fighting back to the center. Harumafuji has good grips with both hands on Hakuho’s belt, right hand under and left hand over, but Hakuho only has the right-handed underarm grip on Harumafuji. He strains with his left arm, knowing that the overarm grip on that side will turn the tide of the bout in his favor, but Harumafuji can make his torso incredibly long to keep his hips out of reach. Harumafuji charges again, Hakuho reaches again, and no one can get the advantage. Hakuho defends once more at the edge of the ring and now his left arm is on the other side of Harumafuji’s body, so I can’t see exactly when it happens, but there’s a sudden movement, a jerk of their bodies, and I think that’s when Hakuho gets the grip he’s been looking for. Harumafuji knows his doom has come, and tries one last gasp effort to mount some offense. But Hakuho takes a breath and lets go with his right hand so that he can push against Harumafuji’s body, giving him the leverage he needs to shake his right hip free from Harumafuji’s overarm belt grip. Once that grip is broken, Hakuho uses his right arm to lift up Harumafuji’s torso and walk him out the other side of the dohyo. Fifteen days, fifteen wins. Hakuho wins his 38th top-division championship with a perfect record. Harumafuji finishes at 11-4.


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