March Tournament 2015: Day 8 – Hakuho leads alone

Gold Star for Tochinoshin! Harumafuji has now given up two this tournament…granted they’re to LEGIT wrestlers, Ichinojo and Tochinoshin…but he still needs to get these wins if he’s to get another yusho. He’s a yokozuna so he doesn’t get the luxury of Stay-Puft marshmallow pushovers.

Tochinoshin (Harumafuji)

Hakuho stands alone at the top of the leaderboard. He’s plainly invincible. A few days ago, against Takayasu, he seemed bored – basically inviting the hapless maegashira to try something, anything to take him down. Perhaps afraid of making Hakuho angry, Takayasu just landed a couple limp-wristed slaps to his face before Hakuho finally pulled him down. The next day, against Tamawashi, Hakuho was able to quickly get a right-handed belt grip and he threw the komusubi across the ring. Today, more of the same. He met Toyonoshima with a strong tachiai and then quickly forced him out behind what must be a killer nodo-wa throat grab. Tomorrow, he faces Aoiyama. Someone he’s never lost to in 10 bouts. Also someone who’s looked out-of-sorts for most of this tournament….seems perfect (almost poetic) setup for an upset.

Harumafuji’s loss to Tochinoshin effectively takes him out of contention. After each of his last two bouts, he’s been flexing his right arm in pain. Seems his elbow may be giving him issues and I won’t be surprised if he goes kyujo tomorrow. Meanwhile, the ozeki have been worthless. Goeido went down again today against Aoiyama. I was very disappointed with Kotoshogiku the other day, not being able to just push Ichinojo over the bales. It seemed the Mongolian was inviting him to try a yorikiri win but just leaned on him and then walked him out the other side. Ozeki need to be able to contend for championships. It looks like at this point next year, certainly by summer 2016, there will be a raft of new Ozeki.

Terunofuji (potentially one of the ozeki-in-waiting) and Aminishiki have been providing great story lines with their undefeated runs. Unfortunately, both lost today, several days before we could really start talking about yusho contention. Meanwhile, Osunaarashi and Gagamaru have been looking great among the lower maegashira. Osunaarashi’s been finding different ways to win, mostly on the belt instead of his forceful slaps. It’s been refreshing.


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