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).
Here’s a man who’s not pulling down on anybody. Tochinoshin takes the best that Tamawashi has to give, and pushes back harder. Strong, fast, solid. He’s at the top of his game. Protecting his single-loss record, he waits at 11-1 to see how Kakuryu does just a few moments later . . .
It’s not too surprising that Kakuryu loses a bout. He’s only ever had one perfect tournament, a 7-0 championship in the Sandanme division way back in 2004. But I didn’t expect Tamawashi to be the one to knock him down this time. It’s hard to say exactly what goes wrong, but pulling down on Tamawashi’s head and basically inviting him to continue his attack closer to the edge of the ring was probably not a good idea. Kakuryu just misses the straw with his right foot, stepping out when a good foothold might have given him a chance to fight back. So the tournament leaderboard looks like this: Yokozuna Kakuryu and M3 Tochinoshin are tied at 10-1. Nobody is within one loss at 9-2. At 8-3 are Ozeki Takayasu and M13 Daieisho. Mathematically still in it at 7-4 are a host of ten wrestlers, but I don’t think either Kakuryu or Tochinoshin will suffer a collapse like that in the last four days.
At least one of the Ozekis is performing up to standards. Despite a slightly more tentative-than-usual tachiai, Takayasu controls the action against Tamawashi, sending him out of the ring to his seventh loss. Tamawashi’s heading the wrong direction at 3-7.
Goeido did not like losing so decisively to rank-and-filer Chiyotairyu yesterday, and he takes it out on Sekiwake Tamawashi today, winning in the same dominant fashion. The Ozeki stays low at the tachiai, getting under Tamawashi’s chin and walking straight out the opposite side of the dohyo. Goeido finishes at 6-3, while Tamawashi sits at 3-6.
Ichinojo knocks Tamawashi off balance with a shoulder hit that sends him stumbling, and follows up nicely with a shove to the throat that puts him on his butt. If Ichinojo could perform consistently with sumo like this, he’d have a better record than 2-4. Oshitaoshi (front push down) for the win.
Mitakeumi stays perfect at 5-0, keeping pace with Yokozuna Kakuryu and tied for the tournament lead with Tochinoshin and Asanoyama. Great effort today to send Tamawashi to his third loss.