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).
Despite losing on the last day to Shohozan (who is fired up at 7-7 and needing the win), Endo earns the prestigious Gino-sho (Technique Prize) with a 9-6 record overall. Personally, I’m not really sure he deserves it, as he won quite a few times going backwards and not exhibiting particularly stellar technique, but I guess those in the decision-making position decided his pull-downs were well-executed. And I guess he did beat both Ozeki, a Sekiwake and a Komusubi. Endo will likely see a promotion back up to the sanyaku rank of Komusubi next tournament.
Ikioi must really want that post-bout beer. He improves to 11-3. Ishiura at 7-7 will need a win tomorrow to avoid demotion.
Wait, Ikioi has ten wins? He’s been quietly having a fantastic tournament, showing good energy and mobility, and churning through the bottom of the division from his M14 rank. Great bout against Chiyonokuni, who requires anyones full attention. The tachiai is strong from both men, and Ikioi immediately attempts a pull-down that Chiyonokuni avoids. Everything after that is a blur of arms until Ikioi has Chiyonokuni at the edge of the ring and tackles him, managing to take Chiyonokuni out before Ikioi falls down himself.
Tamawashi looks strong today, walking Takarafuji out by the throat and peppering slaps at the face with his other hand along the way. Takarafuji can’t dislodge Tamawashi’s arms despite several attempts at deflection, and falls to 2-10. Tamawashi improves to 7-5.
Takayasu’s strong tachiai knocks Tochinoshin back off his line, and Tochinoshin is forced to grab Takayasu’s arm and try to circle away from the edge. But Takayasu turns on a dime, following Tochinoshin around and pushing him out just as Tochinoshin pulls down on the back of Takayasu’s head and drives him into the dirt. The judges get up to talk about it, and confirm the referee’s decision in favor of Takayasu. They weren’t sure that the two didn’t go out/down at the same time (or Takayasu a bit first), but it turns out that Tochinoshin’s heel stepped over the edge at the end of Takayasu’s initial charge. Takayasu has sole possession of third place at 9-2. Tochinoshin falls to 7-4.
Chiyoshoma solves the Abi puzzle. I mean, it’s not like it’s a difficult puzzle to solve, but several wrestlers seem to be flummoxed by Abi’s long arms and strong shoves. Chiyoshoma grabs onto Abi’s left arm and swings him around with an arm bar, pulling off a nice reversal for his fifth win.