(Thanksgiving Holiday commentary hiatus)
Ozeki Takayasu drops to 4-1 and out of the tie for the tournament lead thanks to a spirited performance by Tamawashi. After a strong tachiai Takayasu gets too close to Tamawashi, who keeps his hips low and gets the positional advantage on the Ozeki. Good footwork from Tamawashi sends Takayasu sliding across the dohyo and out the other side.
Yokozuna Hakuho must have watched the tape of Tamawashi’s great performance against Yokozuna Kisenosato yesterday, and wastes no time completely negating the potential aggression. Leading with a classic left-handed slap to set up a right forearm to the chin, Hakuho pushes Tamawashi back at the tachiai and the two men pause for a moment to consider the next course of action. It happens fast, but Hakuho feints with his right arm before lunging forward and grabbing onto Tamawashi’s belt with his left hand. Tamawashi goes for the throat, but Hakuho yanks hard with his left hand and turns Tamawashi completely around. And just like that, the danger is averted. Hakuho takes a stroll and Tamawashi finds himself on the wrong side of the straw bales.
The big, big question this tournament revolves around Yokozuna Kisenosato’s recovery from shoulder/chest injury. Has he had enough time to rehab? Will he be at full strength? Everyone agreed he wasn’t ready in July, and no one faulted him for sitting out all of September. But it would be a real shame if he had to drop out of this tournament after a few lackluster losses. Hard to say after watching this bout against Tamawashi. He looks strong enough, and it doesn’t appear that his shoulder is bothering him. But Tamawashi was excellent today, staying low and driving hard against the Yokozuna’s chest and chin to keep him upright. Things will be much clearer after a couple of days.
Yokozuna Harumafuji wins the September 2017 Grand Sumo Tournament in Tokyo, earning his ninth top-division championship. He beat front-runner Ozeki Goeido on the last day to tie things up at 11-4, and then beat Goeido again in a single playoff bout to claim the title. Over the course of the tournament he used four different kimarite (winning techniques): yorikiri (8), uwatedashinage (2), uwatenage (1) and shitatenage (1).
Tamawashi is supremely motivated today, not wanting to drop his eighth loss and demotion from his elevated Komusubi rank, but young M5 Takakeisho has other plans. Takakeisho hits hard at the tachiai and starts slamming away with sharp tsuppari thrusts, driving Tamawashi back to the tawara in short order. One last mighty shove sends Tamawashi over the edge to a losing record, and Takakeisho’s so in the zone he finishes a few shadow shoves against the air just to wind down. With a record of 9-6 and a kinboshi win over Yokozuna Harumafuji, Takakeisho earns the Shukun-sho, or Outstanding Performance Award.
Harumafuji leads with a right-handed slap to the face that lets him slip his left arm under and get the belt grip he’s aiming for. Tamawashi tries to shake him off with an arm lock, but Harumafuji’s grip is too strong. With good low posture, the Yokozuna bulls forward and takes Tamawashi over the edge of the ring. Tamawashi is in a precarious position at 5-7, while Harumafuji stays mathematically in the title hunt with ten other wrestlers tied for second place at 8-4.