When ‘Giku’s firing on all cylinders, you have to bring your A-game. Chiyotairyu does not bring his A-game. His game is, at best, somewhere in the low Cs.
Someone had to win this bout between two 0-3 ex-Ozekis. Terunofuji continues his downward slide, showing little strength or effort and getting dominated by Kotoshogiku. His only display of emotion is a small head shake after the loss, but there shouldn’t be anything mysterious to him about it. He needs to find the fire again.
One former Ozeki on his way down, one likely future Ozeki on his way up. The way Kotoshogiku applies pressure with both legs equally can be really powerful when he stays on his line and uses his arms to control his opponent. But it can also be a weakness when his opponent shifts off-center, making him susceptible to easily tipping over. Like today. Good work by Mitakeumi to exploit ‘Giku’s style and get the sukuinage (beltless arm throw) win.
My face hurts after watching Kotoshogiku take Goeido’s forehead to the chin at the tachiai. I’m sure this didn’t hurt Goeido’s dominant performance, as the Ozeki stays nice and low and works Kotoshogiku quickly over the edge. Good, solid base from Goeido at the end – he’s prone to overextending so it’s good to see him keep his hips low and underneath him.
Yokozuna Hakuho is back after missing all of last tournament due to injury, and it looks already on Day 1 like he’ll be the man to beat. Which, to be honest, is the usual situation in pretty much every tournament. Today he takes on a feisty Kotoshogiku, maneuvering for an early overhand grip on the left side and executing a quick pulling overarm throw (uwatedashinage) that rolls ‘Giku like a bale of hay. No sign of slowing down for the Yokozuna.
Yokozuna Harumafuji wins the September 2017 Grand Sumo Tournament in Tokyo, earning his ninth top-division championship. He beat front-runner Ozeki Goeido on the last day to tie things up at 11-4, and then beat Goeido again in a single playoff bout to claim the title. Over the course of the tournament he used four different kimarite (winning techniques): yorikiri (8), uwatedashinage (2), uwatenage (1) and shitatenage (1).
Former Ozeki Kotoshogiku hasn’t had double-digit wins in over a year, but he puts it all together this tournament to finish an impressive 10-5. It was only January of last year (seems like ages, though) that he won the championship at 14-1, but two tournaments later he dropped out due to injury and has endured a precipitous decline since then. Nice to see him back in fighting shape. Takarafuji puts up some tough resistance, but ‘Giku keeps his feet under him until he finds an opening for the slick kotenage (arm lock throw). Takarafuji has a fine tournament as well, finishing at 9-6.