Yokozuna Hakuho wins the May 2017 Grand Sumo Tournament in Tokyo, earning his 38th top-division championship with a perfect record of 15-0. Over the course of fifteen wins he used seven different kimarite (winning techniques): yorikiri (5), hatakikomi (2), uwatenage (2), uwatedashinage (2), yoritaoshi (2), uwatehineri, and oshidashi. Congrats to the champ!
The referee calls a false start between Tamawashi and Goeido after their first attempt at a tachiai, and the second time around is all Tamawashi. He holds his ground at the initial charge, then grabs Goeido by the back of the head and yanks him down to the ground. Goeido is susceptible to pulling techniques, and Tamawashi played him like a drum. The Ozeki finishes with a meh 9-6 record, and Tamawashi should be very happy with his 10-5.
This one’s a bit long, but it’s a prime example of the tension that builds before a sumo bout, a facet of the sport that’s missing from most highlight videos. Check out the stare as they slowly settle in for the charge. Ice cold. The crowd feels it. Tamawashi flinches at the tachiai and decides to reset, standing back up and forcing Hakuho to go through the motions again. Hakuho purposefully sets his feet and lowers himself to meet Tamawashi, but this time it’s Hakuho who appears unnerved(!) and stands up. The crowd goes nuts and the referee looks flummoxed. The build-up is intense, and the referee tells both men several times to get their hands down. This time the bout goes off without a hitch, but Hakuho slaps and sidesteps at the tachiai! Tamawashi does a great job fighting off the fierce throat attacks of Hakuho and working to get a belt grip, but Hakuho has a mighty left-handed overarm grip of his own and that’s all he needs. The Yokozuna keeps it simple and squashes Tamawashi at the edge of the ring, winning by yoritaoshi (front crush out). Tamawashi has a fine record of 9-4, and Hakuho stays perfect at 13-0. The only way Hakuho loses the tournament is if he loses both remaining bouts against Terunofuji and Harumafuji, and then a playoff against Harumafuji and/or either Takayasu or Terunofuji (both of whom can’t finish with only two losses, since they’ll likely face each other on the last day). Things are looking good for Hakuho’s 38th top-division title.
The first six times Endo met Tamawashi, Endo emerged victorious. The last five times, the script has flipped. Whether Tamawashi has deciphered the puzzle or Endo’s just mired in mediocrity, there’s not much he could have done today against a tough armlock that sends him stumbling off the dohyo. He rubs his elbow a couple of times to make sure it’s still bending the right way, and contemplates his seventh loss of the tournament. Tamawashi, on the other hand, improves to 7-3.
Tamawashi hits Harumafuji hard at the tachiai, buckling his legs for a split second before the Yokozuna recovers. Pulling down on Tamawashi’s head to get him off balance, Harumafuji then charges forward and blasts Tamawashi out of the ring with a throat push that stands him upright and opens up his middle for the final shove. Harumafuji and Hakuho lead the tournament at 9-0, followed by 8-1 Takayasu and four other wrestlers at 7-2.
After a good hard fight (and Tamawashi don’t let up on nobody), Tamawashi slaps down hard on Chiyonokuni’s head, dropping him to the dirt. Once the job is done, Tamawashi pats him gently on the shoulder, no hard feelings, while Chiyonokuni checks to make sure he has all his limbs and teeth.
Takayasu’s perfect streak ends on Day 6, as Tamawashi knocks him out of the championship lead with his first loss. Nothing complicated here, just a strong effort by Tamawashi who blasts straight forward at the tachiai and gets a good shove at Takayasu’s center of mass. Takayasu is tied at 5-1 with M13 Daishomaru and M14 Onosho, one loss behind the two tournament leaders. Those three are ahead of a host of wrestlers bunched up at 4-2.