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.
Takanoiwa’s huge right shoulder at the initial charge lifts up Takarafuji and opens him up for the ensuing massive right paw to the face. That heavy hand puts Takarafuji down on the ground, where he spends a brief moment reconsidering his career decision.
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).
After a good back-and-forth that sees both wrestlers try and fail to pull down the other, Chiyonokuni spins out of one belt grip only to find himself wrapped up and struggling to stay in the ring as Takanoiwa presses hard. Takanoiwa can’t get the last bit of forward power he needs to seal the deal, so he uses the left-hand overarm grip to lift Chiyonokuni off the ground and set him down on the other side of the tawara.
Tough loss for Endo, who gets repeatedly bludgeoned on the left side of the head by Takanoiwa, who keeps up the pattern until he gets a grip on Endo’s belt and rolls his stumbling opponent with an uwatedashinage (pulling overarm throw). Endo’s still hanging in there with a 6-5 record, while Takanoiwa already has his eighth loss.
Instant karma. Takanoiwa reaps the bitter harvest of his sideways jump at the tachiai when Takayasu is able to stop on a dime and turn to face him. Takanoiwa puts his head down and charges forward, thinking he’s got Takayasu on the defensive, but Takayasu is ready and takes one small step to his left, slapping down on Takanoiwa’s head and shoulders to send him down to the clay. Justice in the blink of an eye. Takayasu stays perfect at 10-0, Takanoiwa earns his losing makekoshi record of 2-8.
This one’s not for the faint of heart. After a false start and the accompanying apologies, Hokutofuji and Takanoiwa clash in the center of the ring. The huge right-handed harite (slap) by Takanoiwa catches Hokutofuji right in the nose, which Hokutofuji later admitted in an interview totally knocked him loopy. It also opens up a river of blood which isn’t readily apparent until after the bout is over, since Hokutofuji spends much of the match with his face buried in Takanoiwa’s chest. It’s a great performance by both men, but Hokutofuji digs deep and out-muscles the tough Takanoiwa to win by yoritaoshi (front crush out). The bout finished and adrenaline having run its course, Hokutofuji makes his way back to his side of the dohyo still visibly staggered and covered in gore. Impressive win.