A battle at the Sekiwake rank today, and Yoshikaze comes out top to earn his first victory of the tournament. Terunofuji seems to lack power – his tachiai is lackluster and he has no answer for Yoshikaze, who stays busy to get underneath Terunofuji’s center of gravity and walk him out for the yorikiri win. Former Ozeki Terunofuji falls to 0-3.
Chiyotairyu beats Yoshikaze at his own game, a solid, straightforward pushing attack that crumples Yoshikaze. No fuss, no muss.
This bout starts with the intensity expected of these two wrestlers, but Shohozan comes out on top after a perfectly timed sidestep at the edge of the ring just as Yoshikaze puts his head down and charges. At least Yoshikaze escaped the bout without a bloody nose.
Yokozuna Harumafuji wins the September 2017 Grand Sumo Tournament in Tokyo, earning his ninth top-division championship. He beat front-runner Ozeki Goeido on the last day to tie things up at 11-4, and then beat Goeido again in a single playoff bout to claim the title. Over the course of the tournament he used four different kimarite (winning techniques): yorikiri (8), uwatedashinage (2), uwatenage (1) and shitatenage (1).
Yoshikaze has his eight wins already, and Mitakeumi wants what he’s got. Some see the higher winning percentage of 7-7 wrestlers on the final day as evidence of match-fixing (or at least an unspoken code of generosity among wrestlers), but I think much of it can be explained simply by the extra motivation brought about by the desperation of a wrestler in that position. Either way, Mitakeumi barely squeaks by Yoshikaze today, relying on a last-ditch pull on the back of the head to drive Yoshikaze into the dirt at the edge of the ring. The match leading up to that is full of great sumo, with Yoshikaze looking sharper and stronger than Mitakeumi. But there can be only one winner, and Yoshikaze eats clay first.
This one takes a while to get going, but doesn’t disappoint once the action begins. Several false starts interrupt the pace of the initial charge, so on the third try when they both get their hands down, it seems like neither Arawashi nor Yoshikaze are really ready. But the ref lets it go, and boy do they go. Both men pivot on one foot and crash out of the ring, each trying to pull the other to the ground an instant earlier than himself. The ref calls it for Arawashi, but the ring judges want to talk it over and decide that the wrestlers touched down simultaneously, so we get a re-do. This time the bout starts without a hitch, but Arawashi’s charge is much stronger and he knocks Yoshikaze back a step. Yoshikaze charges in without looking up and falls into a headlock, failing to move his feet forward when Arawashi pulls him down to the dirt. Arawashi finishes the day at 9-5, Yoshikaze at 8-6.
Harumafuji gets the job done quickly, totally dominating Yoshikaze with strength and speed to carry him over the edge. With Goeido’s (10-3) loss today, the Yokozuna (9-4) can force at least a playoff for the championship by beating Goeido on the last day. The math for all the other possible outcomes is complicated, but there are still a host of wrestlers with a chance at the title.