March 2018, Day 11, Endo v Takarafuji

Takarafuji gets the right-handed overarm grip he’s looking for, but it’s only on the top strand of Endo’s belt – not much leverage. And Endo has both arms underneath, so when Takarafuji goes for the overarm throw and loses the belt grip, Endo’s in prime position to crush Takarafuji to the clay.


March 2018, Day 10, Mitakeumi v Shohozan

It’s an even bout at first, both men striking well but not overextending, until Shohozan yoinks sideways and gets a hand on Mitakeumi’s belt. Mitakeumi circles back around to the center of the ring, but in the scramble Shohozan finds a really deep left-handed grip all the way on the other side of the mawashi knot. With his right arm over Shohozan’s shoulder, and his torso too elevated, Mitakeumi can’t defend when Shohozan throws him down at the edge. 5-5 for Mitakeumi, 6-4 for Shohozan.

March 2018, Day 6, Sokokurai v Meisei

Meisei is up from Juryo for the day to fill out the top-division schedule, and veteran Sokokurai doesn’t go easy on the youngster. Meisei charges in with a good tachiai, showing no tentativeness on the bigger stage, but Sokokurai changes levels well and doesn’t let Meisei get settled underneath. After some hand fighting Meisei gets an overarm belt grip on the right side, but it’s only the loose top layers of Sokokurai’s belt and doesn’t provide any real leverage. Sokokurai, on the other hand, gets both arms in deep for the two-handed belt grip and uses it to lift Meisei off the ground before setting him down and squashing him to the dirt by yoritaoshi (front crush out).

January 2018, Day 14, Chiyoshoma v Asanoyama

Asanoyama breathes a big sigh of relief, picking up his eighth win after a streak of losses. Chiyoshoma, after picking up his eighth loss, has to pick himself up off the floor below the dohyo.

January 2018, Day 12, Shohozan v Sokokurai

One goes up, one goes down. Shohozan picks up his eighth win, and Sokokurai his eighth loss, in a bout that highlights all of Shohozan’s strengths. He starts with strong pushes to Sokokurai’s face, which Sokokurai defends by grabbing onto Shohozan’s arms and working inside for a belt grip. But Shohozan adapts well, using his own belt grip to swing Sokokurai around and set up the final push. With an overarm grip and a hand on the side of the head, Shohozan crushes Sokokurai to the clay.

January 2018, Day 9, Yutakayama v Chiyonokuni

Yutakayama takes a beating from Chiyonokuni before finally getting a hand on his face long enough to stop him from running around. Chiyonokuni is trapped at the edge with nowhere to go, and Yutakayama exacts his revenge for the earlier vicious face slap by throwing Chiyonokuni down to the clay with great gusto.

January 2018, Day 9, Sokokurai v Ryuden

Great battle for the belt in this one, with Sokokurai and Ryuden both gaining and losing grips on both sides, trying to be the first to land both hands solidly. It looks like they both lock up at about the same time, but Sokokurai’s grip has all the layers of Ryuden’s belt, while Ryuden’s grip just has the top layer of Sokokurai’s. So Sokokurai’s effort is directly transmitted to Ryuden’s center of gravity, and Ryuden wastes energy moving Sokokurai’s belt around without really affecting his body. This makes all the difference, and Ryuden can’t defend at the edge. Both men crash down to the floor below the dohyo, with Sokokurai landing in the lap of an elderly gentleman in the first row. A gentleman himself, Sokokurai makes sure the man is alright before getting up.