July 2016, Harumafuji Yusho compilation

Harumafuji wins the July 2016 Grand Sumo Tournament in Nagoya, earning his eighth top-division championship with some superb performances, amassing a record of 13-2. During his thirteen wins he used six different kimarite (winning techniques): yorikiri (5), uwatedashinage (3), uwatenage (2), yoritaoshi (1), hatakikomi (1), and watashikomi (1).

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July 2016, Day 15, Hakuho v Harumafuji

All Harumafuji has to do to win his eighth career upper-division championship is beat the greatest sumo wrestler of all time. No biggie. Both Yokozuna turn in a spirited performance, a very technical bout of arm position, posture, and belt grips. Harumafuji makes his torso impossibly long, keeping his belt out of reach of Hakuho. And Hakuho makes it hard for Harumafuji to hang on with his right-hand underhand grip, but at the expense of good posture. In the end Harumafuji just goes for it, getting the double-underhand grip with the left-hand switch and charging Hakuho out of the ring. He looks completely spent. I’m sure a ginormous trophy full of sake will re-energize him. Congrats to Harumafuji!!! And Kisenosato will probably go home and cry in his pillow, comforted by the fat stacks of cash he picked up this tournament (seriously, it took two hands to handle the bundle on Day 15), and the knowledge that his runner-up finish this time (third in a row) means he can always challenge for Yokozuna promotion in September. We’ll be waiting, and cheering.

July 2016, Day 15, Kisenosato v Goeido

Kisenosato wants to win the championship, but it’s out of his hands. He needs Hakuho to beat Harumafuji in the final bout of the day to even force a playoff. But it’s all moot if he doesn’t beat Goeido, so he beats Goeido. Kisenosato gets pushed back off the line by a desperate Goeido, who wants to notch his eighth win and prevent Ozeki kadoban status (probation) next tournament. But Goeido whiffs with his right arm much like he did against Hakuho, finding himself turned around and completely out of position. Kisenosato pounces, and Goeido falls to 7-8. He’ll need at least an 8-7 record next tournament to avoid demotion from the Ozeki rank. Kisenosato finishes with a strong 12-3 record, and sits down to await his chances at his first championship trophy . . .

July 2016, Day 15, Kaisei v Terunofuji

Ozeki Terunofuji has to reach deep down the list of sumo techniques to pull off a nice komatasukui (over thigh scooping body drop) to earn the crucial eighth win on the last day of the tournament. He also gets the super-special arrow bundle presented only on the last day to the winner of the first bout between wrestlers exclusively of the top-top-top-top ranks (Komusubi, Sekiwake, Ozeki, Yokozuna).

July 2016, Day 15, Shodai v Tochinoshin

OK, right at the beginning of this video there’s totally a guy picking his nose. And right in front of him is another old guy with a little girl’s haircut. But the sumo is really great! Tochinoshin finishes with a disappointing 6-9 record at his highest-ever rank of Sekiwake, but he turns in a good performance on the last day against Shodai, mixing tsuppari thrusting attacks with solid footwork and a well-timed slap down.

July 2016, Day 15, Takarafuji v Tochiozan

Tricky stuff by Takarafuji – he sidesteps Tochiozan at the tachiai and slaps down on Tochiozan’s back as he flies past. It’s not pretty, but it earns Takarafuji a 10-5 record and his first Fighting Spirit prize.

July 2016, Day 15, Takanoiwa v Yoshikaze

Yoshikaze pushes Takanoiwa right to the edge before giving himself enough time to get properly angry. So Takanoiwa pulls off a fantastic reversal, sneaking his right arm underneath Yoshikaze’s left and securing an underhanded belt grip in the nick of time, moments before Yoshikaze tries to push him out by the face. That belt grip helps him stay in and push out Yoshikaze, who went all out on his attack and was out of position for Takanoiwa’s counter-attack. Fine tournament for both men – Yoshikaze finishes 10-5 and picks up his second Outstanding Performance prize, and Takanoiwa finishes 12-3, runner-up for the championship and earning his first Fighting Spirit prize.