(Thanksgiving Holiday commentary hiatus)
This is a fantastic example of good old-fashioned blue-collar sumo, just two guys locked up in the middle of the ring trying to figure out who’s stronger. Hokutofuji comes out on top, surviving an armlock throw and using his own belt grip to sling Chiyonokuni off balance, ending with a shove to Chiyonokuni’s chin that sends him backwards out of the ring. Great effort from both wrestlers.
Yokozuna Harumafuji wins the September 2017 Grand Sumo Tournament in Tokyo, earning his ninth top-division championship. He beat front-runner Ozeki Goeido on the last day to tie things up at 11-4, and then beat Goeido again in a single playoff bout to claim the title. Over the course of the tournament he used four different kimarite (winning techniques): yorikiri (8), uwatedashinage (2), uwatenage (1) and shitatenage (1).
There have been few bright spots for Tochinoshin this tournament, but today’s victory over Hokutofuji is one of them. Despite losing the tachiai and getting pushed back to the tawara, Tochinoshin reaches his long arm over Hokutofuji’s back for the left-handed overarm grip. A posture reset gets him low enough to add the underarm grip on the right side, and then he just out-muscles his opponent, slowly turning his body and dumping Hokutofuji out of the ring by uwatenage (overarm throw). Tochinoshin earns his third win, and Hokutofuji falls to 4-8.
There’s the old ‘Giku we know and love! He finally gets the classic frog-hopping belly bump machine in gear and takes care of Hokutofuji in fine style. Along with ten other wrestlers at 7-4, Kotoshogiku needs a complete collapse by Goeido to have a shot at the title. But anything’s possible (if not likely).
Onosho has found success several times this tournament with this move, but it only works because he’s so strong at the tachiai. Pushing hard against the opponent forces them to push back hard, setting them up for the sideways evasion that has seen multiple wrestlers go sailing by, easy pickings for the follow-up shove. Onosho is surprisingly quick for someone of his shape, and I think his opponents are caught off-guard by how fast he’s able to get out of the way. Onosho stays tied with the leaders at 6-1.
Choo choo, the Shohozan train is coming through. The express will not be making a stop at this station, so please stand back from the platform to avoid any unfortunate accidents.