September 2017, Day 14, Tochinoshin v Ishiura

A whirlwind of a bout! Tochinoshin survives Ishiura’s quasi-henka at the tachiai despite being on only one good leg, and the two lock up in the middle of the ring. Tochinoshin reaches over Ishiura’s back with his left arm for a belt grip, but his arm is on the left side of Ishiura’s head, giving Ishiura a low position on the side and access to a deep right-handed belt grip. Then the fun begins. The two pinwheel wildly across the ring, each trying to throw the other, and when they reach the edge Tochinoshin slings Ishiura past him and out. The winning technique is the exceedingly rare harimanage (backward belt throw), a move which is seen only .02% of the time across all wrestlers.

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September 2017, Day 13, Tochinoshin v Shohozan

It’s a contest of strength between Tochinoshin’s favorite double-overarm belt grip and Shohozan’s low inside position. Tochinoshin lifts Shohozan off the ground and rotates towards the edge, but Shohozan gets his feet down before going out. Both men pull on the other, mirror images leaning over towards defeat, but Shohozan digs deep and muscles Tochinoshin over the straw for his seventh win.

September 2017, Day 12, Tochinoshin v Hokutofuji

There have been few bright spots for Tochinoshin this tournament, but today’s victory over Hokutofuji is one of them. Despite losing the tachiai and getting pushed back to the tawara, Tochinoshin reaches his long arm over Hokutofuji’s back for the left-handed overarm grip. A posture reset gets him low enough to add the underarm grip on the right side, and then he just out-muscles his opponent, slowly turning his body and dumping Hokutofuji out of the ring by uwatenage (overarm throw). Tochinoshin earns his third win, and Hokutofuji falls to 4-8.

September 2017, Day 9, Tochinoshin v Kotoshogiku

Kotoshogiku stops his losing streak against the struggling Tochinoshin, using a left-handed overarm throw to move Tochinoshin out of position before finishing him off with a standard ‘Giku belly-bump. Tochinoshin drops his eighth loss for the guaranteed make-koshi (losing record resulting in demotion), while Kotoshogiku improves to 5-4.

September 2017, Day 8, Tochinoshin v Onosho

Tochinoshin clearly is not at 100%, but Onosho doesn’t cut him any slack. Staying nice and low, and keeping his opponent in front of him, Onosho pushes hard against Tochinoshin until the perfect time to pull back. Tochinoshin can’t move his feet fast enough to stop his fall, and Onosho improves to 7-1, still tied for the tournament lead.

September 2017, Day 4, Tochinoshin v Goeido

Oh, not again. Ozeki Goeido pulls a henka against Tochinoshin, who can’t recover before Goeido pushes him out. Sigh. I get that Goeido is worried about demotion from the Ozeki rank, but I wish he’d earn the necessary wins in a more honorable fashion. Every now and then is forgivable, but not two days in a row early on in the tournament.

September 2017, Day 2, Tochinoshin v Harumafuji

As the lone member of the Yokozuna contingent participating in the September tournament, Harumafuji seems to be making a statement early. He’s meeting his opponents head-on and beating them with pure strength and technique, without a whiff of trickery. (I happen to have no problem with Harumafuji’s usual technique of sliding around the side at the tachiai, but others find it questionable.) Today he smashes face-first into Tochinoshin, catching the taller wrestler off-guard and quickly securing belt grips with both hands. Before Tochinoshin can use his height advantage to pull him in close, Harumafuji pivots and tosses Tochinoshin to the dirt with incredible core strength. The Yokozuna shows great balance, anchored to the ground and completely in control. Winning technique is shitatenage (underarm throw).