May 2017, Day 13, Hokutofuji v Onosho

Hokutofuji and Onosho smash together at the tachiai, Hokutofuji getting both hands underneath and Onosho backpedaling until his heels hit the tawara, where he tries to pull Hokutofuji down and past him. But both men go crashing to the floor, and even Ura seated ringside perks up to see who won, unable to maintain the usual stoic indifferent composure of wrestlers waiting their turn. The judges want to talk it over, and they determine that the two hit the ground at the same time, and call for a rematch. The do-over goes better for Onosho this time, as he slaps down Hokutofuji who is unable to keep from falling down. Onosho has an excellent record of 9-4 in his first top-division tournament. Hokutofuji falls to 8-5.

May 2017, Day 12, Hokutofuji v Ura

Ura swings hard at Hokutofuji at the tachiai, trying to drive him to the left. But Hokutofuji holds his ground and squares up with Ura, tangling arms in an attempt to control the tricky wrestler’s body. It doesn’t work. Ura jumps sideways and backwards, ending up behind Hokutofuji as Hokutofuji stumbles by on his way out of the ring. Hokutofuji already has a winning record of 8-4, but he’d love to add more to the win column and earn a better promotion. Ura has compiled an outstanding record of 10-2 in only his second tournament in the top division. He’s still in the title hunt with three days remaining.

May 2017, Day 8, Hokutofuji v Takarafuji

Fantastic epic battle between these two evenly matched wrestlers in their third-ever head-to-head meeting. Takarafuji won the first two, but Hokutofuji gets one back today with a gutsy performance, surviving several scares at the edge of the ring. He uses his left foot against the tawara well, and a tenuous right-handed belt grip to execute the come-from-behind victory. Hokutofuji earns his sixth win, and Takarafuji loses for the fifth time.

May 2017, Day 5, Hokutofuji v Takakeisho

Takakeisho looks great on Day 5 against Hokutofuji, standing up to his opponent’s fierce attack with solid hips and good lateral movement. He sets up Hokutofuji for the fall,  using a great matador move after some hard shoving to force Hokutofuji to push back. At 4-1 after five days, this is Takakeisho’s best start to a top-division tournament. Hokutofuji falls to 3-2.

March 2017, Day 9, Hokutofuji v Takanoiwa

This one’s not for the faint of heart. After a false start and the accompanying apologies, Hokutofuji and Takanoiwa clash in the center of the ring. The huge right-handed harite (slap) by Takanoiwa catches Hokutofuji right in the nose, which Hokutofuji later admitted in an interview totally knocked him loopy. It also opens up a river of blood which isn’t readily apparent until after the bout is over, since Hokutofuji spends much of the match with his face buried in Takanoiwa’s chest. It’s a great performance by both men, but Hokutofuji digs deep and out-muscles the tough Takanoiwa to win by yoritaoshi (front crush out). The bout finished and adrenaline having run its course, Hokutofuji makes his way back to his side of the dohyo still visibly staggered and covered in gore. Impressive win.

March 2017, Day 6, Chiyoshoma v Hokutofuji

Hokutofuji gets run in circles by Chiyoshoma, and just when he sees the light of day, just when Chiyoshoma gives him the tiniest opening, just when he thinks he can turn the tide of the bout with a headlong charge, that’s when Chiyoshoma disappears. Hokutofuji eats clay and falls to 1-5. Chiyoshoma picks up his fifth win.