Yokozuna Hakuho wins the May 2017 Grand Sumo Tournament in Tokyo, earning his 38th top-division championship with a perfect record of 15-0. Over the course of fifteen wins he used seven different kimarite (winning techniques): yorikiri (5), hatakikomi (2), uwatenage (2), uwatedashinage (2), yoritaoshi (2), uwatehineri, and oshidashi. Congrats to the champ!
The first eight days of the tournament were a disaster for Kotoshogiku. He only earned one win against seven losses, meaning he needed to win the remaining seven days in a row to avoid a makekoshi losing record. I don’t think anyone expected him to come as close as he did, losing only once in the second half of the tournament to finish at 7-8. His opponent on the last day is the always tough Ikioi, but Kotoshogiku beats him handily, showing flashes of his former brilliance. Hopefully during the next tournament he can put together more performances like this one.
The old guard meets the new generation, and this time it’s youth and vigor that overcome experience and guile. After a crushing, head-smashing tachiai, Mitakeumi manhandles Kotoshogiku around with a strong right-handed overarm grip. When Kotoshogiku fights back, Mitakeumi uses an outside leg hook (a move we’ve seen from him previously in this tournament) to keep from getting reversed, and quickly has the ex-Ozeki over the edge. Solid stuff from the youngster, who sends Kotoshogiku to a disappointing eighth loss. Mitakeumi holds on to hope of a winning record, finishing the day at 6-6.
It’s always great to see Kotoshogiku firing on all cylinders. He’s still got to win the remaining four days of the tournament to avoid demotion, but he has no trouble dominating the likes of Chiyonokuni. Chiyonokuni tries to shake off the ex-Ozeki, shifting hard to both sides, but Kotoshogiku holds his ground and doesn’t deviate from the plan. ‘Giku finishes the day at 4-7, Chiyonokuni drops to 2-9.
Yokozuna Kisenosato appears to have run out of steam, losing his second bout in a row and fourth of the tournament to former Ozeki Kotoshogiku who steamrolls him with a solid effort. ‘Giku stays alive in his hopes for a winning record, staving off the makekoshi and holding fast at 3-7. Kisenosato’s chances of a winning record look dire – in the remaining five days he’ll have to face Hakuho, Harumafuji, Goeido, Terunofuji, and Tamawashi, hoping for at least two wins against that intimidating bunch. Yikes.
Kotoshogiku staves off a losing record for one more day, dominating the inconsistent Endo with his straightforward brand of sumo. Good strong tachiai followed by hip control and some good hops.
Hakuho’s strength is evident in his tachiai – he’s not trying to blast Kotoshogiku off the line, he’s just trying to get his arms in there for a belt grip, but he still stops Kotoshogiku like a brick wall. Hakuho absorbs the massive impact and gets the left hand under, working on the other side for the right-handed overarm grip. Once he gets it, he lets go with the left hand and moves it to the back of Kotoshogiku’s head, cranking with the right arm and executing the uwatedashinage (pulling overarm throw). Hakuho stays perfect at 8-0.