Yokozuna Kakuryu wins the March 2018 Grand Sumo Tournament in Osaka, his fourth top-division championship and his first since November 2016. He finished with an excellent 13-2 record, losing only to defending champ Tochinoshin and Ozeki Takayasu. Over the course of the tournament he used four different kimarite (winning techniques): hatakikomi (6), yorikiri (3), oshidashi (3), and tsukiotoshi (1).
Despite losing on the last day to Shohozan (who is fired up at 7-7 and needing the win), Endo earns the prestigious Gino-sho (Technique Prize) with a 9-6 record overall. Personally, I’m not really sure he deserves it, as he won quite a few times going backwards and not exhibiting particularly stellar technique, but I guess those in the decision-making position decided his pull-downs were well-executed. And I guess he did beat both Ozeki, a Sekiwake and a Komusubi. Endo will likely see a promotion back up to the sanyaku rank of Komusubi next tournament.
“Olé!” or whatever the matadors say.
Endo sets a tough task for himself, trying to reach around Chiyomaru’s ample belly for the underarm grip with his right arm while fending off Chiyomaru’s shoves with his left. Chiyomaru does a great job keeping Endo off his belt, but Endo manages to push Chiyomaru all the way to the edge of the ring. With Chiyomaru shoving back hard in defense, Endo executes a perfectly timed sidestep to drop Chiyomaru and his belly to the clay. 8-5 for Endo, 6-7 for Chiyomaru.
Kaisei’s been on a hot streak, at or near the top of the leaderboard for the entire tournament. Only one loss to Ichinojo has marred his record coming into today’s bout with Endo, and it looks like schedule makers are going to force him to earn a shot at the title by giving him some high-ranked opponents in the last days (Kakuryu tomorrow, for example). Maybe he’s thinking ahead instead of focusing on today, but he stumbles against Endo, who beats him with a soft, slow sidestep that Kaisei really should have avoided. Kaisei can’t stop his forward momentum and steps out on his own. His chances at his first title will depend largely on if Kakuryu wins or loses later in the day… Endo improves to 7-5.
Takarafuji gets the right-handed overarm grip he’s looking for, but it’s only on the top strand of Endo’s belt – not much leverage. And Endo has both arms underneath, so when Takarafuji goes for the overarm throw and loses the belt grip, Endo’s in prime position to crush Takarafuji to the clay.
Tamawashi manhandles Endo, taking him out with prejudice in a few short steps. Endo gets ragdolled around and takes a short trip to the third row, but escapes with his head still attached. Silver linings.