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).
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.
Shohozan is a tough out for anybody. He smashes Tochinoshin in the face and throat, slaps his arms to the side, and generally makes himself a painful nuisance. But Tochinoshin is destined for the history books, and he weathers the storm. Returning fire with thrusts of his own and holding his ground when Shohozan knocks him to the side, Tochinoshin gets the hold on the belt that’s served him so well this tournament and walks out Shohozan to clinch his first ever top-division championship. There’s still one day left, but no one can catch him. Huge congratulations on a great performance.
One goes up, one goes down. Shohozan picks up his eighth win, and Sokokurai his eighth loss, in a bout that highlights all of Shohozan’s strengths. He starts with strong pushes to Sokokurai’s face, which Sokokurai defends by grabbing onto Shohozan’s arms and working inside for a belt grip. But Shohozan adapts well, using his own belt grip to swing Sokokurai around and set up the final push. With an overarm grip and a hand on the side of the head, Shohozan crushes Sokokurai to the clay.
TSUPPARI BATTLE!!! After a furiously energetic slap-fest from both wrestlers, Ikioi blinks first and tries an ill-advised arm lock throw on Shohozan’s left arm while pedaling backwards. But Shohozan extracts his arm from Ikioi’s grasp and happily uses it to shove Ikioi out to his ninth loss. Shohozan’s looking good at 7-4.
To be honest, this isn’t the kind of bout I expect Endo to win. He does fine when he’s in charge of the action, but he usually crumbles under pressure and finds it difficult to come from behind and grind out a victory. So it’s nice to see him struggle against a fierce Shohozan and not fold like a wet napkin. Both men finish the day at 6-4.
Chiyoshoma wallops Shohozan a couple of times in the face with his right hand, but it only serves to piss off Shohozan. Shohozan’s head is well-attached to his thick shoulders, and he focuses his attack on Chiyoshoma’s torso. Getting both hands on Chiyoshoma’s chest proves to be the winning move, and Shohozan shoves him out for an excellent 6-1 record.