March 2018, Day 15, Kaisei v Ikioi

Kaisei was living the dream for the first half of the tournament, a serious contender until the last few days when Kakuryu knocked him off his pedestal. He should be very pleased with a 12-3 record and a Kanto-sho prize for Fighting Spirit, punctuated with a good uwatenage (overarm throw) victory over Ikioi on the last day. Ikioi also had a great tournament despite an injured leg, finishing at 11-4. Hopefully both men are healthy next time around and continuing to threaten the top ranks.

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March 2018, Day 15, Abi v Daishomaru

Abi brings the same two-handed tachiai as usual, aiming for the shoulders and trying to stand up Daishomaru. He follows with a series of sharp tsuppari thrusts at the head and neck, and only a well-timed sideways shove from Daishomaru knocks him off course. With Abi briefly off-balance and near the edge, Daishomaru charges, but Abi quickly circles out of the way and gets a hand on Daishomaru’s belt to send him rolling over the edge. The referee and judges decide that Daishomaru hit the ground while Abi’s feet were still in bounds. Abi finishes with an excellent 10-5 record, and Daishomaru should be happy at 9-6 (although he lost a couple of close ones in the last few days).

March 2018, Day 15, Kagayaki v Ishiura

Sometimes a 7-7 record sparks a great performance, sometimes it’s not enough to overcome a 90-pound weight difference. Ishiura admirably dives into the belly (literally) of the beast, but Kagayaki handles the smaller wrestler nicely, keeping Ishiura in front of him and working quickly towards the edge. Ishiura misses the tawara with his foot and slides out of the ring. Both wrestlers finish the tournament at 7-8.

March 2018, Day 15, Asanoyama v Ryuden

Few things more desperate than a sumo wrestler on the last day of the tournament with a 7-7 record, needing that last win for promotion, career advancement, glory, salary, bonuses, all that jazz. And Ryuden guts it out, refusing to go over the edge despite Asanoyama’s best efforts. Asanoyama burns out and has nothing left when Ryuden turns the tables after a particularly nice one-footed save, and Ryuden gets the yorikiri (front force out) win for his kachi-koshi (winning record) of 8-7. Asanoyama also finishes the tournament at 8-7.

March 2018, Day 15, Chiyoshoma v Nishikigi

There’s a collective groan from the crowd when Chiyoshoma goes airborne at the tachiai, launching up and to the side to grab Nishikigi’s belt, pulling Nishikigi into the negative space where Chiyoshoma should have been. A smattering of applause as he pads his record to 9-6, but a general disappointment at the henka. Nishikigi falls to 5-10, arguably in danger of dropping back down to the Juryo division next tournament.

March 2018, Day 14, Kakuryu v Goeido

Yokozuna Kakuryu clinches the title with his Day 14 win over Ozeki Goeido. At 13-1, even a loss tomorrow can’t deny him the championship, as the closest competitors have three losses already. Goeido plays his part, letting his upper body get way out ahead of his feet and falling victim to Kakuryu’s expected retreat-and-pull. Kakuryu will win his fourth tournament championship, and his first in about a year and a half.

March 2018, Day 14, Takayasu v Mitakeumi

Oh, what a great bout. How in the world does Takayasu escape? Fantastic display of agility and strength by both men. Mitakeumi falls hard to his eighth loss, guaranteeing demotion next tournament. Takayasu continues another excellent tournament, improving to 11-3.