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).
7-7 Chiyotairyu is extra-motivated to pick up the all-important eighth win, and he takes it out on Daieisho’s face. Daieisho finishes with a fine 9-6 record.
Forgoing his usual belt grip, Tochinoshin controls Endo’s torso with a left-side arm lock and a right arm deep under Endo’s armpit. Endo has a hold on Tochinoshin’s belt but can’t move the big Georgian, who trudges forward with ox-like strength until Endo is out of the ring. Endo finishes the tournament with a 9-6 record, and Tochinoshin, who clinched his first-ever top-division championship yesterday, pads his record to an unbelievable 14-1. Congrats again to Tochinoshin, the first mid-ranked wrestler to win the tournament in six years.
After a false-start where Abi fails to get his hands down in time, Shohozan gives him a serious glare that nearly sends him off the dohyo with its intensity. But the restart sees Shohozan get out-Shohozanned, as Abi takes the win with a great display of dexterity and footwork. Both men should be happy with their results this tournament, Shohozan at 9-6 and Abi an excellent 10-5.
Kyokutaisei, wrestling from the top position of the second-tier Juryo division, finishes the January tounament with an 8-7 record, so it’s likely that we’ll see his debut as a top-division Makuuchi wrestler in March. But then he’ll be facing Makuuchi-level competition every day, and it remains to be seen if he’s ready. Nishikigi needs this win today to keep his top-division rank, so he digs deep and fights back from the edge of the ring to push out Kyokutaisei and finish 8-7 as well.
There’s some speculation that something is physically wrong with Yokozuna Kakuryu, but it’s honestly hard to tell against the fury of Takayasu. The Ozeki is a churning hive of activity, like thousands of bees clumped together into a 360lb dynamo. Kakuryu tries his best, though, a last-gasp push on Takayasu’s throat serving merely to anger the bees further. Takayasu launches Kakuryu off the dohyo for his eleventh win. All of this is academic however, as Tochinoshin has already clinched the championship.
Ishiura picks up his big eighth win against a man about twice his size, the roundest wrestler in the top division, Chiyomaru. Diverting Chiyomaru’s not-inconsiderable momentum to the side, Ishiura charges in and attacks just underneath Chiyomaru’s also-not-inconsiderable “sphere of influence” and pushes him out. Both men finish the day at 8-6.