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).
Ichinojo makes up for two previous lackluster days with a magnificent, mighty throw. He lifts Shodai completely off the ground by the belt and slams him down with authority. Uwatenage (overarm throw) for the dominating win.
This was literally the only throwing technique in the entire top division today, and it’s beautiful. Mitakeumi looks good at the start, getting a right-handed overarm grip while clamping down on the other side on Shodai’s right arm. But Shodai reaches in for a left-handed underarm grip of his own, and it’s deep on the far side of Mitakeumi’s mawashi knot. Mitakeumi turns to throw Shodai, but his arm trails behind him without applying much force, and his grip on the belt isn’t secure enough to really move Shodai’s hips. Shodai uses his stronger belt grip to keep from falling over. Now it looks like Shodai’s got the advantage, with his left arm high under Mitakeumi’s armpit, hurting Mitakeumi’s posture and keeping that overarm grip relatively harmless. And then, the picture-perfect underarm throw. Stepping in front of Mitakeumi’s right foot with his left, Shodai plants his foot and uses his thigh as a fulcrum, putting all his force into that underarm grip and tossing Mitakeumi onto his back. Slow. Clap. Mitakeumi is now one loss away from his make-koshi at 5-7, while Shodai pulls even at 6-6.
Goeido makes up for yesterday’s henka with a strong showing against Shodai today. He keeps his arms tight inside at the tachiai and is rewarded with a right-handed underarm grip that he uses to spin Shodai around and get the easy win. Goeido improves to 8-3, Shodai falls to 5-6.
Takayasu’s all like, “Talk to the hand!” and Shodai’s all like, “Whatevs, Takayasu, I’ll talk to whoevmpmmph.”
Kakuryu, usually stoic in the ring win or lose, has to crack a smile at the escape he pulls today against Shodai. Less of a technique and more of a sideways stumble, it does the trick and Shodai lumbers out. Kakuryu stays perfect at 9-0 along with Kaisei, tied for the lead. Second place is crowded with seven wrestlers at 7-2.
Kaisei gets the advantage off the tachiai, moving Shodai backwards towards the edge. But Shodai fights back, moving the action to the center of the ring and Kaisei is forced to defend with a right-side arm lock. Shodai stays upright and Kaisei now switches his right arm inside to block Shodai’s left-handed grip. Shodai circles around trying to use that grip to swing Kaisei out, but eventually he loses the hold on the belt. That’s the beginning of the end for Shodai, as Kaisei finally lands a good shove that turns Shodai around and sends him over the edge. Okuridashi (rear push out) for Kaisei’s fourth straight win.