September 2017, Day 12, Tochinoshin v Hokutofuji

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.

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September 2017, Day 11, Hokutofuji v Kotoshogiku

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).

September 2017, Day 7, Hokutofuji v Onosho

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.

September 2017, Day 6, Hokutofuji v Shohozan

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.

September 2017, Day 5, Hokutofuji v Yoshikaze

Where has this Yoshikaze been? He earns his first win of the tournament in fine fashion, taking care of Hokutofuji with a few quick steps. His low posture and good balance keep him from getting pulled down, and he sends Hokutofuji airborne off the dohyo.

September 2017, Day 4, Hokutofuji v Harumafuji

Yokozuna Harumafuji wins the tachiai, driving Hokutofuji until his heels are on the straw bales at the edge of the ring. But Hokutofuji pulls down hard on the back of Harumafuji’s head and scoots around to reverse the position, securing a strong overarm belt grip with his right hand that has Harumafuji scrambling to stay low and find some kind of leverage. Hokutofuji seizes the opportunity, pulling hard with his right arm to control Harumafuji’s hips and prevent the Yokozuna from pushing back. A stable base and patient pressure seal off any escape, and Hokutofuji drops Harumafuji from the dohyo to his second loss. The crowd in Tokyo appreciate the effort, and they send their purple seat cushions raining down in celebration of the upset.

September 2017, Day 2, Hokutofuji v Goeido

Ozeki Goeido gets back on track with a solid performance against Hokutofuji, showing great footwork that keeps him agile when necessary, while maintaining his center of gravity and grounding him for strong offense. Goeido improves to 1-1 on his road to the all-important eighth win.