Maegashira 3 Tochinoshin wins the January 2018 Grand Sumo Tournament in Tokyo, his first-ever top-division championship and the first from a mid-ranked Maegashira since M7 Kyokutenho in 2012. He finished with an outstanding 14-1 record, losing only to Yokozuna Kakuryu on Day 7. Over the course of the tournament he used five different kimarite (winning techniques): yorikiri (9), tsukiotoshi (2), tsukidashi (1), tsuridashi (1), and oshidashi (1).
Takayasu wins easily over Arawashi, blasting him off the line and needing but a few short shoves to send him out. Still two losses behind the tournament leader, Takayasu will have to hope that Tochinoshin loses both of the last two days in order to force a playoff. With Tochinoshin’s performance today, that looks unlikely.
Chiyonokuni backs up Arawashi with a fine series of shoves to the throat and head before grabbing onto his left wrist and yanking. Arawashi has been paying attention in class and always gets an A in fall practice, so he cartwheels safely down preventing further injury. Arawashi is at 6-6, Chiyonokuni at 4-8.
Oh, Goeido, maybe someday you’ll grow up to be a real Ozeki. Gone is the stable footing and good posture of the first half of the tournament, and now you’ve fallen back into the bad habit of either letting your opponent get inside or leaning too far forward on the attack. Or both, one often leads to the other. Arawashi got you today with nice kotenage (arm lock throw) while going backwards, but it didn’t have to be that way. Both men finish at 6-5.
After a seven-bout winning streak to start the tournament, Mitakeumi has now lost three in a row. He has a solid tachiai that backs up Arawashi, but Arawashi defends with an arm bar on Mitakeumi’s left side. Shifting his hips and applying all his weight to Mitakeumi’s arm, Arawashi drives Mitakeumi into the clay. Nice tottari (arm bar throw) for Arawashi to improve to 5-5.
Yokozuna Kakuryu stays perfect at 9-0, beating Arawashi with no drama and a perfect belt game. There are still a bunch of contenders two and three losses back, but only Tochinoshin is within one.
Arawashi reaches deep into his bag of techniques, defending against Ikioi’s sukuinage (beltless arm throw) attempt by wrapping his left leg around Ikioi’s right knee. He gets a good hook in and pulls Ikioi’s leg out from under him for the sotogake (outside leg trip) win.