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).
Tamawashi looks strong today, walking Takarafuji out by the throat and peppering slaps at the face with his other hand along the way. Takarafuji can’t dislodge Tamawashi’s arms despite several attempts at deflection, and falls to 2-10. Tamawashi improves to 7-5.
Takarafuji gets the right-handed overarm grip he’s looking for, but it’s only on the top strand of Endo’s belt – not much leverage. And Endo has both arms underneath, so when Takarafuji goes for the overarm throw and loses the belt grip, Endo’s in prime position to crush Takarafuji to the clay.
Takarafuji spends the first part of the bout trying to get around Kotoshogiku’s left arm and reach the belt with his right hand. When Kotoshogiku gives a heave, Takarafuji finds the angle he needs to secure the grip. Now Takarafuji has some leverage over Kotoshogiku’s center of gravity and moves him to the edge of the ring. And like a mirror image of yesterday, Kotoshogiku is forced to push back hard, giving Takarafuji the perfect opportunity to reverse the momentum and roll Kotoshogiku by uwatenage (overarm throw).
Arawashi gets his first win of the tournament, grabbing onto Takarafuji’s arm and sliding around to the outside, pressing Takarafuji into the clay with the arm bar. Winning technique is tottari (arm bar throw), but it’s too late for Arawashi who already has eight losses and a guaranteed demotion for next tournament. Takarafuji is also at 1-8.
Ozeki Goeido gets in all kinds of trouble during this bout, but to his credit he doesn’t resort to his usual defense of retreat-and-pull. Granted, his heels are on the edge of the ring so he doesn’t have anywhere to retreat to, but he plants his foot and pushes back until he gets enough space to slip out the side with an armlock throw that’s more for defense than offense. Charging back into the fray, he gets both arms around Takarafuji and uses the right-handed underarm grip to throw Takarafuji to the ground. 5-2 for Goeido, 0-7 for Takarafuji.
Ozeki Takayasu lost the first two days of the tournament to Endo and Ichinojo, and you get the feeling that he’s not going to give up any more upsets. Takarafuji is super motivated to climb out of his five-loss hole, but he can’t get past a determined Takayasu, who seems relatively careful and conservative against an opponent he knows he should beat. The right-handed overarm belt grip proves to be the key, as Takayasu uses it to swing Takarafuji around and out for the uwatedashinage (pulling overarm throw) win. Takarafuji falls to 0-6, Takayasu improves to 4-2.