Yokozuna Kakuryu wins the March 2018 Grand Sumo Tournament in Osaka, his fourth top-division championship and his first since November 2016. He finished with an excellent 13-2 record, losing only to defending champ Tochinoshin and Ozeki Takayasu. Over the course of the tournament he used four different kimarite (winning techniques): hatakikomi (6), yorikiri (3), oshidashi (3), and tsukiotoshi (1).
Lesson for the day: Do not get in a contest of strength with Tochinoshin. The dude is rock-solid. Ichinojo exhibits a display of his own power, lifting Tochinoshin clear off the ground, but he can’t finish the move and all he succeeds in doing is pissing off Tochinoshin. As soon as his feet are back on the ground Tochinoshin turns on the jets and marches Ichinojo out of the ring. Tochinoshin finishes the tournament at 10-5 and wins the Shukun-sho prize for Outstanding Performance, usually awarded to a wrestler who beats the tournament champion. Currently ranked at Sekiwake, a good run over the next two tournaments could put him in contention for Ozeki promotion.
Ichinojo makes up for two previous lackluster days with a magnificent, mighty throw. He lifts Shodai completely off the ground by the belt and slams him down with authority. Uwatenage (overarm throw) for the dominating win.
Shohozan must have watched tape of Goeido beating Ichinojo yesterday, because he tries the exact same technique to similar effect. Getting in close and deep, both arms underneath, moving quickly to the edge before Ichinojo has a chance to set his weight and lean. If Ichinojo can learn to get his hips lower he could be a real threat, but otherwise the puzzle might have been solved.
This is how you beat a taller, heavier wrestler. Goeido stays low and centered, head down, squared up. With a good belt grip and good foot movement, he’s got total control over Ichinojo’s center of mass. Goeido is at 9-3, Ichinojo at 8-4.
Things look dire for a moment for Kakuryu when Ichinojo reaches over his back to grab the left-handed overarm grip, adding to the underarm grip Ichinojo’s already got on the right side. But Kakuryu has two belt grips of his own and keeps his head buried in Ichinojo’s chest, showing great strength to out-muscle his giant opponent, walking him over the edge for the yorikiri (front force out) victory. Kakuryu stays perfect at 11-0, one win ahead of Kaisei (who won today by default due to a Takakeisho injury withdrawal) and two wins ahead of Takayasu. Ichinojo falls to 8-3, tied for fourth place with five other wrestlers who still have a mathematical shot at the title.
The Baby-faced Mountain of Meat versus The Humongous Hairy Human. 816 pounds on the dohyo. Kaisei’s perfect record on the line. It’s a simple bout, starting with an impact that sounds like 816 pounds of bologna falling off a building. Ichinojo leans, Kaisei leans, and Ichinojo rests up for the big push that takes him to 8-2, and drops Kaisei out of the tournament lead to 9-1.