Maegashira 3 Tochinoshin wins the January 2018 Grand Sumo Tournament in Tokyo, his first-ever top-division championship and the first from a mid-ranked Maegashira since M7 Kyokutenho in 2012. He finished with an outstanding 14-1 record, losing only to Yokozuna Kakuryu on Day 7. Over the course of the tournament he used five different kimarite (winning techniques): yorikiri (9), tsukiotoshi (2), tsukidashi (1), tsuridashi (1), and oshidashi (1).
Ichinojo goes back on beast mode after his loss to Tochinoshin yesterday, rolling Takarafuji with a good shitatedashinage (pulling underarm throw). Takarafuji falls to 7-7, and Ichinojo improves to 9-5.
Ichinojo has been steamrolling opponents the past few days with displays of surprising strength, but Tochinoshin is not intimidated. Tochinoshin dives right into the mouth of the lion, ignoring defense and betting everything on his ability to out-muscle his giant opponent. His confidence is not misplaced. No tricks, no sidesteps, nothing fancy whatsoever. Just grabbing the belt with both hands and walking inexorably towards the edge of the ring. Tochinoshin stands alone atop the leaderboard at 12-1, now two wins ahead of his closest competitors with two days remaining. Which means a win on either of the next two days will clinch his first championship. Go Tochinoshin!
It’s like these two are not even the same species. From entirely different planets, even. The strength differential is enormous. Ichinojo decides it’s over, and Yoshikaze has absolutely no say in the matter. Wow. Yoshikaze picks up his second straight make-koshi at 4-8, despite upsetting two Yokozuna earlier in the tournament. Ichinojo earns his kachi-koshi at 8-4.
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.
Takakeisho aims too high. With the height difference between him and Ichinojo, I think he would have been better served to focus his attack on the midsection of his giant opponent, staying low and keeping Ichinojo off balance. But his thrusts are directed at the chest and head, letting Ichinojo get below Takakeisho’s arms and work him back to the edge. Once there, Takakeisho tries a last-gasp escape to the left but runs out of room, and Ichinojo sends him tumbling. Ichinojo has won five in a row to improve to 6-4, and Takakeisho is one loss away from demotion at 3-7.
Ichinojo once again shows us his power, which seems to come out of some hidden place deep behind his baby face with no warning. Just a small shift of his hips and he applies all his bulk to the arm lock on Onosho’s left arm, sending Onosho crashing off the dohyo. A crushing kotenage (arm lock throw). Ichinojo finishes the day at 5-4, and Onosho falls to 4-5.