Yokozuna Hakuho wins the May 2017 Grand Sumo Tournament in Tokyo, earning his 38th top-division championship with a perfect record of 15-0. Over the course of fifteen wins he used seven different kimarite (winning techniques): yorikiri (5), hatakikomi (2), uwatenage (2), uwatedashinage (2), yoritaoshi (2), uwatehineri, and oshidashi. Congrats to the champ!
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.
After a thundering tachiai from both men sends vibrations through the dohyo, Goeido takes over and pushes Harumafuji all the way to the other side of the ring. Harumafuji gets his foot planted in the cut-out tokudawara and escapes to the side, but when he charges forward he comes in too low and Goeido slaps him down. It’s all academic as Hakuho has already clinched the championship, but Goeido earns his ninth win of the tournament, a good sign after a losing record last time out. Harumafuji, finishing the day at 11-3, will go up against fellow Yokozuna Hakuho tomorrow on the last day.
Takayasu proves his mettle against Harumafuji, recovering nicely after whiffing on an overarm throw that lets the Yokozuna get behind him. Spinning back to face Harumafuji just in time to absorb a hand to the throat, Takayasu holds his ground before slapping down hard just as Harumafuji charges. The Yokozuna tumbles off the dohyo and Takayasu remains standing. This brings to three the number of wrestlers at 11-2 (Harumafuji, Terunofuji, and Takayasu), the only men still with a chance to deny Hakuho his 38th championship.
It’s feast or famine for Mitakeumi, earning his second straight win after a bad stretch of six consecutive losses. Yokozuna Harumafuji has been complaining of a toe injury for the past few days, but Mitakeumi doesn’t cut him any slack. After a solid tachiai that stops Harumafuji in his tracks, Mitakeumi unbalances the Yokozuna with a slick outside leg hook on the right side. Harumafuji loses his left-handed overarm grip, and then misses the tawara with his left foot, stepping out under the force of Mitakeumi’s pressure. Mitakeumi improves to 5-6, looking forward to an easier schedule over the last four days (not counting Kotoshogiku tomorrow) now that his bouts against the Yokozuna and Ozeki are finished. Harumafuji loses for the first time this tournament, dropping to 10-1 right behind 11-0 Hakuho, and one win ahead of 9-2 Terunofuji, Takayasu, Tochinoshin, and Ura. Yokozuna Kisenosato has dropped out of the tournament due to his chest injury, with a final record of 6-4. Hopefully he takes the proper time to recover fully before July.
Another day, another dollar, another win closer to a ninth top-division championship for Yokozuna Harumafuji. Technically, another day closer to a showdown with Yokozuna Hakuho in what will likely be the deciding bout of the tournament. I’m sure he’s not thinking ahead, but Harumafuji wades through Tochiozan like he’s not even there.
Tamawashi hits Harumafuji hard at the tachiai, buckling his legs for a split second before the Yokozuna recovers. Pulling down on Tamawashi’s head to get him off balance, Harumafuji then charges forward and blasts Tamawashi out of the ring with a throat push that stands him upright and opens up his middle for the final shove. Harumafuji and Hakuho lead the tournament at 9-0, followed by 8-1 Takayasu and four other wrestlers at 7-2.