There aren’t many wrestlers who can push Takayasu back at the tachiai, and Shodai isn’t able to do it today. But he fights back through Takayasu’s strong slaps, reaching under with his left arm just as Takayasu secures the overarm grip. Shodai leans hard into Takayasu’s body to counter the throw, and manages to keep horizontal long enough for Takayasu to touch down first. The win gives Shodai a 9-5 record. Takayasu, at 11-3, will face Ozeki Terunofuji tomorrow on the last day.
When Tochinoshin is healthy, he’s a formidable wrestler. He seems to be mostly recovered from the injury that knocked him out of the January tournament, and his excellent record this time should see him promoted back up to the upper half of the division. Today he takes on Shodai, and uses the long overarm left-handed belt grip to work Shodai all the way to the edge. But Shodai digs in his heels and fights back, getting the dominant position with a moro-zashi grip (both hands under), while Tochinoshin only has the left-handed grip, his right arm occupied trying to dislodge Shodai’s left. This time it’s Shodai who pushes Tochinoshin right to the edge, and Tochinoshin has to plant his heels, lifting hard with the left-side grip to get Shodai briefly airborne. Now with momentum on his side, Tochinoshin presses forward and crushes Shodai to the clay by abisetaoshi (backwards force down).
Ozeki Terunofuji needs all the techniques in his skillset to overcome the shifting defenses of Shodai. Shodai does well to recover from a brutal armlock throw and some fierce nodowa (throat push) and tsuppari slaps, but ends up in an headlock before somehow letting Terunofuji (not the most mobile of wrestlers) end up behind him. Terunofuji pushes out Shodai from behind for the okuridashi win, improving to 10-2 and still in championship contention. Shodai has a winning record of 8-5.
Yesterday Shodai reversed his position against Sokokurai and slipped out of danger for the win. Today he gets a taste of his own medicine when Ura seemingly vanishes out of thin air, reappearing behind him and ushering Shodai out for the okuridashi (rear push out) victory. Ura improves to an impressive 9-2, still in contention for the championship, while Shodai finishes the day at 8-3.
Shodai somehow slips suddenly sideways, surprising Sokokurai with his shockingly speedy slipperiness as Sokokurai steps southward out of the sumo circle.
Our first tripping technique comes on Day 6, as Takanoiwa takes advantage of Shodai’s sideways posture to hook his right leg around Shodai’s left and drop him backwards with the sotogake, or outside leg trip. It’s a nice setup, forcing Shodai to defend against the right-handed overarm belt grip, and finishing the move with a left hand to the chin.
Yokozuna Kisenosato wins the March 2017 Grand Sumo Tournament in Osaka, earning his second-straight top-division championship with a record of 13-2, defeating Ozeki Terunofuji on the last day in a playoff. Over the course of thirteen wins (plus one playoff win) he used six different kimarite (winning techniques): yorikiri (6), oshidashi (3), tsukiotoshi (2), kotehineri (1), okuridashi (1), and kotenage (1).