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!
Fantastic end to the tournament, one of the best bouts of the entire two weeks. Hakuho has already clinched the tournament, but fellow Yokozuna Harumafuji would love to play spoiler and prevent Hakuho from getting a perfect 15-0 record. The bout is even with a ton of back and forth, Harumafuji driving Hakuho to the edge, and Hakuho fighting back to the center. Harumafuji has good grips with both hands on Hakuho’s belt, right hand under and left hand over, but Hakuho only has the right-handed underarm grip on Harumafuji. He strains with his left arm, knowing that the overarm grip on that side will turn the tide of the bout in his favor, but Harumafuji can make his torso incredibly long to keep his hips out of reach. Harumafuji charges again, Hakuho reaches again, and no one can get the advantage. Hakuho defends once more at the edge of the ring and now his left arm is on the other side of Harumafuji’s body, so I can’t see exactly when it happens, but there’s a sudden movement, a jerk of their bodies, and I think that’s when Hakuho gets the grip he’s been looking for. Harumafuji knows his doom has come, and tries one last gasp effort to mount some offense. But Hakuho takes a breath and lets go with his right hand so that he can push against Harumafuji’s body, giving him the leverage he needs to shake his right hip free from Harumafuji’s overarm belt grip. Once that grip is broken, Hakuho uses his right arm to lift up Harumafuji’s torso and walk him out the other side of the dohyo. Fifteen days, fifteen wins. Hakuho wins his 38th top-division championship with a perfect record. Harumafuji finishes at 11-4.
It’s an epic bout with the tournament on the line, with Ozeki Terunofuji needing to defeat Yokozuna Hakuho to have any chance at a championship. A win by Hakuho today will separate him from the second-place wrestlers by two losses with only one day remaining, guaranteeing him his 38th title. Hakuho fakes the face slap, opting to go in and meet Terunofuji head on at the tachiai. From there on out it’s a tactical battle, with Terunofuji doing a fantastic job staying low and fighting off the Yokozuna’s arms. But Terunofuji can’t get a belt grip either, and eventually Hakuho’s strength is too much to overcome. Hakuho pushes out Terunofuji, taking him over the edge with an extra shove to let him know who’s boss. Congrats to Hakuho, finishing the day still perfect at 14-0, and winning the top-division championship no matter what happens tomorrow.
Tochiozan has really underperformed this tournament. From the M4 rank, I expected him to easily earn a winning record. But he earns his ninth loss against a motivated Yoshikaze, who does well to fight through Tochiozan’s defenses and wrap up his waist at the edge. Yoshikaze earns his kachikoshi, finishing the day at 8-6.
Ichinojo moves at a glacial pace, pushing out Daishomaru with the feel of inevitability. Both “The Glacier” and Daishomaru have earned kachikoshi winning records of 8-6.
Onosho’s lighting up the bottom of the division, showing no fear in his first tournament against top-level competition. Today he pushes out Arawashi a split second before getting upended by an armlock throw, but Arawashi plants his foot outside the ring and falls to his eighth loss. Onosho improves to 10-4.
Big sigh of relief from Ozeki Goeido as he picks up his eighth win on Day 13, meaning he’s clear of kadoban status and the threat of demotion. He shows good composure, working patiently for a belt grip through Takarafuji’s stiff defense. In the end he doesn’t need a hand on the belt, walking Takarafuji over the edge of the ring to his tenth loss.