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.
Shohozan survives the arm lock and takes Tamawashi to the edge, but Tamawashi suddenly gets real slippery and Shohozan eats clay.
Shohozan must have watched tape of Goeido beating Ichinojo yesterday, because he tries the exact same technique to similar effect. Getting in close and deep, both arms underneath, moving quickly to the edge before Ichinojo has a chance to set his weight and lean. If Ichinojo can learn to get his hips lower he could be a real threat, but otherwise the puzzle might have been solved.
It’s an even bout at first, both men striking well but not overextending, until Shohozan yoinks sideways and gets a hand on Mitakeumi’s belt. Mitakeumi circles back around to the center of the ring, but in the scramble Shohozan finds a really deep left-handed grip all the way on the other side of the mawashi knot. With his right arm over Shohozan’s shoulder, and his torso too elevated, Mitakeumi can’t defend when Shohozan throws him down at the edge. 5-5 for Mitakeumi, 6-4 for Shohozan.
“Hello, Shohozan. Please meet my left forearm. You two get acquainted for a minute until I introduce you to your fourth loss.”
Shohozan will be glad to finish his tour of the exalted ranks and get back to fighting merely the very very good. After winning the first five days in a row, he’s now lost three consecutive bouts to both Ozeki and the Yokozuna. Kakuryu handles Shohozan fairly well, diverting his head first one way and then the other with some well-aimed strikes. The last one is too much for Shohozan to handle and sends him tumbling to the ground. Kakuryu stays perfect at 8-0, tied for the tournament lead with M6 Kaisei. M16 Daiamami has sole possession of second place at 7-1, and the group of seven wrestlers at 6-2 include both Ozeki and defending champ Tochinoshin.