May 2017, Day 14, Ishiura v Takarafuji

Ishiura’s hopes of a winning record and promotion stay alive, and he’ll move into the last day with a record of 7-7. Fighting off the larger Takarafuji at the edge of the ring, Ishiura gets a left hand around to the back of Takarafuji’s belt, swinging sideways and turning that circular momentum into a smooth underarm throw. Ishiura plants his feet in a wide stance, and you can watch the power flow through his hips all the way to his arm as he tosses Takarafuji down to his eleventh loss.

May 2017, Day 7, Tochinoshin v Ishiura

When the long arm of Tochinoshin reaches out for you, there’s no escaping justice. Ishiura’s size betrays him today, as Tochinoshin reaches over his back with both arms for a deep two-handed belt grip. The underarm throw isn’t pretty, but it gets the job done.

May 2017, Day 6, Mitakeumi v Goeido

Whoo, that’s a pretty throw. Mitakeumi meets Ozeki Goeido hard in the center of the dohyo, and does well to halt his forward momentum when Goeido jumps to the side. Goeido charges forward and smashes into Mitakeumi, who tries his own sideways maneuver. But the Ozeki adjusts instantly, getting a right arm underneath and putting his right leg in perfect position, transitioning into as smooth a shitatenage (underarm throw) as you’ll ever see. Watch Goeido’s feet during the throw – he’s so anchored to the ground, they don’t move at all. Solid.

March 2017, Day 8, Ikioi v Takayasu

Ikioi has had a rough tournament, dropping to 1-7 with today’s loss against Takayasu, but he’s a tough out for anyone. He gives Takayasu fits, fighting through the initial tsuppari attack to lock up at the center of the ring. Ikioi wants the right-hand overarm belt grip, but Takayasu keeps his left arm high under the armpit of Ikioi and his hips back out of reach, so Ikioi’s repeated attempts to grab the belt fall short. Takayasu uses the left-handed underarm grip to work Ikioi to the edge, but Ikioi does a fantastic job of surviving with his feet on the tawara, then slips to the side and clamps onto Takayasu’s left arm, almost taking him down with an armlock throw. Takayasu drops his hips to avoid going down, and the two reset back in the middle. After catching his breath, Takayasu cranks with the left-handed belt grip and Ikioi finally hits the clay. Takayasu stays perfect at 8-0.

March 2017, Day 4, Shohozan v Arawashi

Arawashi bends like a reed, absorbing Shohozan’s attempts to remove his head from his body. Once the match settles into a contest at the belt, Arawashi takes over and ends it quickly with a nice underarm throw from the left side.

March 2017, Day 3, Kotoshogiku v Takayasu

Ex-Ozeki Kotoshogiku falls to his first loss in Osaka, running into a strong Takayasu who has Ozeki dreams of his own. At the initial charge, Takayasu does a good job handling the thrashing Kotoshogiku, and looks to be in control of the match until ‘Giku uses a nice left arm to swing Takayasu around. ‘Giku gets his left arm high under Takayasu’s right, elevating his posture and setting up what looks like a classic finish. But Takayasu plants his right foot against the tawara and works his left arm underneath for a belt grip, so when ‘Giku mounts his second charge, Takayasu is in good position to shift his hips and execute the underarm throw from the left side. Takayasu improves to 3-0.

January 2017, Day 5, Okinoumi v Harumafuji

No trickiness or overwhelming speed today from Yokozuna Harumafuji, just a perfectly executed underarm throw. His technique is flawless, from the switch of his stance to the rotation of his hips to the torque of his arm. Masterful.