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).
This is not the tachiai I expected from these two. Both are capable of full-force, head-on power blasts that knock their opponents off the line. But today they seem to have the same tentative strategy of standing up and reaching in, and when Takakeisho inexplicably decides to start pulling, Takayasu needs only a couple of steps to shove him out.
Yokozuna Kakuryu stays perfect at 7-0, taking down the solid Takakeisho who gives him no small amount of trouble. At the end of the bout Kakuryu’s left toe is hanging over the tawara, and the ring judges want to talk about whether or not it touched the soft dirt on the other side. A long 3-minute conference later, and they determine that it in fact did not. Takakeisho falls to 3-4, while Kakuryu stays tied with Kaisei for the tournament lead, one win ahead of Daishomaru and Daiamami at 6-1, and two wins ahead of a host of ten contenders at 5-2.
Disappointing loss for Mitakeumi against Takakeisho, who is a tough opponent but shouldn’t be able to handle Mitakeumi so easily. One sidestep and a good shove, and Mitakeumi’s on the outside looking in.
It’s not easy to get lower than Takakeisho, but that’s what Goeido manages to do. He keeps his feet moving forward and his upper body centered over his feet for great posture and a powerful stance that Takakeisho can’t defend against. The Ozeki improves to 3-2, not a great record for the first five days.
Great, furious bout between these two today. Tochinoshin gets the left-handed overarm grip right after the tachiai, but Takakeisho pushes hard against his torso and dislodges it. After that it’s a free-for-all, with Takakeisho circling away from Tochinoshin’s long-armed shoves and barely surviving a stumble in the center of the ring that Tochinoshin is half a step too slow to capitalize on. Tochinoshin gets a couple of sharp slaps at the head of Takakeisho, who has set up shop at the edge of the ring, but this time when Takakeisho circles away from danger he pulls down hard on the back of Tochinoshin’s neck, executing a flawless matador move that sees Tochinoshin flop to the clay while Takakeisho balances with one-footed balletic grace on the straw bales.
Takakeisho loses the tachiai badly, and things go downhill from there. Chiyotairyu dominates him start to finish to improve to 6-7, while Takakeisho falls to 4-9.