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).
Chiyonokuni backs up Arawashi with a fine series of shoves to the throat and head before grabbing onto his left wrist and yanking. Arawashi has been paying attention in class and always gets an A in fall practice, so he cartwheels safely down preventing further injury. Arawashi is at 6-6, Chiyonokuni at 4-8.
Great bout with a lot on the line for Tochinoshin, wanting to protect his one-loss record and probably not expecting Takarafuji to give him so much trouble. But Takarafuji is built like Tochinoshin with a solid core and strong legs, and the similarity results in an entertaining back-and-forth battle. Tochinoshin spends the first half of the bout trying to get inside and grab Takarafuji’s belt, but Takarafuji keeps his torso long and his belt out of reach. A few times Tochinoshin tries to soften up Takarafuji with a slap to the face, but Takarafuji’s head is attached to his spine with a tree trunk, and he doesn’t even blink. Then Takarafuji diverts Tochinoshin off to the side with a nicely timed shove and follows up immediately, putting his head in Tochinoshin’s chest to try and push him out. But Tochinoshin slides just enough to the right, getting a hand on the back of Takarafuji’s head and pushing him to the clay just a moment before Tochinoshin’s feet go out. It’s close. The judges and referee have a discussion and Tochinoshin gets the win.
Shodai has the best “oh, crap, I lost again” face in sumo. Ozeki Takayasu is happy to be the cause of it, earning his sixth win of the tournament.
How frustrating it must be for Kagayaki to see a tiny opponent in front of him and not be able to put him away. Kagayaki is 6’4″ tall, and Ishiura’s only 5’8″, but Ishiura does a phenomenal job staying alive at the edge of the ring until he finds the perfect time to slam his left arm into Kagayaki’s side and knock him down.
Uh oh. Things are looking dire for Yokozuna Kisenosato, losing for the third time in four days. Not the way he wanted to start this tournament. Props to Kotoshogiku, using his torso to take Kisenosato over sideways before finishing the deal with a shove in the ribs to earn his first win.
Tough loss for Ozeki Takayasu, falling to a fully-recovered Tochinoshin on Day 4. It seems like he’s going to get the win charging forward, but his feet don’t keep up with his top half and Tochinoshin pulls him down at the edge. Tochinoshin’s right foot stays in bounds by the tiniest of margins, hanging over the toku-dawara with his heel millimeters from the surface of the outside of the ring until Takayasu hits the ground. The camera zoom at the end of the bout shows no disturbance in the soft dirt where Tochinoshin’s heel was levitating. Tochinoshin wins his fourth in a row, and Takayasu loses for the first time.