January 2018, Day 15, Hokutofuji v Aminishiki

Aminishiki pulls one more rabbit out of his hat, pulling down Hokutofuji and sending him stumbling gracelessly off the dohyo. With only three wins this tournament, Aminishiki is facing a likely demotion from Maegashira 10 down to the Juryo division, so we can only hope this wasn’t his last top-division win.

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January 2018, Day 11, Hokutofuji v Ichinojo

When a 400 pound man pushes down on the back of your head, you have two options. Just kidding, you only have one. You fall down.

January 2018, Day 9, Takakeisho v Hokutofuji

Takakeisho earns his paycheck today, with Hokutofuji forcing him to use every trick in the book to get the win. Despite a strong tachiai, Takakeisho can’t push Hokutofuji out, and he has to use good lateral movement and some stiff neck muscles to defend against Hokutofuji’s counter attack. What ends up working is a subtle technique consisting of repeatedly smashing his head into Hokutofuji’s, until Hokutofuji is backed up to the edge of the ring and Takakeisho can put a hand on his face and throw him out. It’s a much-needed win for Takakeisho, who improves to 3-6.

January 2018, Day 8, Hokutofuji v Onosho

Here’s the Onosho we’d like to see more of. When he’s low and centered, his pushing attack cannot be ignored. But if you push back too hard, he’s got a viciously quick pull/slap down to make you pay. Which is exactly what happens to Hokutofuji, who survives several feints and pulls before falling hard for the last one. Onosho evens up his record at 4-4, Hokutofuji falls to 2-6.

January 2018, Day 6, Mitakeumi v Hokutofuji

After a bruising tachiai brings both men to a halt in the middle of the ring, Mitakeumi works his way to the lower position, getting the edge he needs to lift Hokutofuji by the left pec and move him backwards. It’s a good enough handhold to get the yorikiri win and stay tied for the tournament lead at 6-0. Hokutofuji falls to a disappointing 1-5.

January 2018, Day 5, Hokutofuji v Takayasu

Ozeki Takayasu’s taking out some pent-up frustration on his poor opponent after yesterday’s millimeter-close loss against Tochinoshin, completely blowing up Hokutofuji at the tachiai. Check out Takayasu’s totally serious face of fury as he chases Hokutofuji around the ring, sending him out with a mighty shove to the chest. And then like a good Ozeki, he instantly composes himself into the picture of calm reserve as he walks back to his side of the ring. Great stuff.

January 2018, Day 4, Goeido v Hokutofuji

Watch out you guys, Goeido’s looking sharp. Good mobility, good balance, good defense, constantly looking for offensive opportunities. Best thing I see is the way he finishes without overextending. That’s been his weakness in the past, leaving his feet behind while his upper body sails forward. Goeido stays perfect at 4-0.