I thought you all would be interested to watch some of the highlight videos posted by the Sumo Kyokai. Click on the “Details” link under Match details for the video. There are highlights from several of the big matches, like Harumafuji’s losses to Ichinojo and Tochinoshin. Surprisingly, Aminishiki’s loss to Tokushoryu is here and they’ve edited out the aftermath of the injury. Aminishiki goes down and winces in pain and then it cuts to Tokushoryu collecting his bounty. Terunofuji’s loss to Kaisei is here, too. It’s just odd that it seems Terunofuji put up little resistance. He probably wishes he could get that match back. My favorite, though, is the one below…the marquee yokozuna matchup on day 15 with Hakuho’s title on the line:
Chiyootori’s knee buckled as he tried to get the special prize today. His injury adds to Aminishiki and Endo. None of the three could walk away from the dohyo under their own power. Endo seemed in the least pain of the three but all of these cases show how the Kyokai needs to make a change in the way it handles injuries. These wrestlers need medical attention quickly and they should not be walking after these injuries. After seeing what Homasho and Tochinoshin went through, and how he battled back from the lower ranks just last year, I’m not sure Aminishiki will have that much time to battle back.
The build-up during the tachiai was certainly more dramatic than the actual bout. Tochinoshin dominated early, going for a quick throw which was rebuffed. But the momentum was clearly against Gagamaru. Once Tochinoshin had Gagamaru on the edge, he displayed his prodigious strength by lifting his 200 kilo compatriot over the straw bales. It’s always painful to watch him do this against Ichinojo but he’s certainly capable with those massive thighs. With this critical win securing a winning record he’ll probably jump a spot or two to M1 or M2 next tournament. Much hay was made of Robert Myers’ massive quads during the NFL combine but those writers have never seen the likes of Tochinoshin or Kotoshogiku.
This loss for Gagamaru ended a four-bout winning streak which began with an impressive win over Osunaarashi and continued through Ikioi, Kaisei, and Kyokutenho – certainly not cream puffs. I’m glad to see Gagamaru back and on form. He’ll be back in the mid-maegashira next tournament. As he’ll be battling more upper-maegashira and even sanyaku wrestlers, he’ll likely not get double-digit wins but he’s back where he belongs. In the meantime, he’ll be joined by Osunaarashi and Chiyootori who also had excellent tournaments…but will face stark reality in May.
It’s good to have a tournament be decided on the last day during the last match between the yokozuna. Today, Terunofuji did his part. After the big win yesterday against Ichinojo to keep the pressure on, he was able to throw Goeido, setting up Harumafuji. Harumafuji needed to beat Hakuho to force a play-off between Terunofuji and Hakuho but he couldn’t seal the deal. With a yorikiri pushout victory over his yokozuna compatriot, Hakuho notched another tournament victory.
For the outstanding efforts of the tournament, during his sanyaku debut, Terunofuji secured two special prizes: Outstanding Performance and Fighting Spirit. It is his first Outstanding Performance award but his second Fighting Spirit prize. I’m just still a bit sad that Aminishiki couldn’t get the Technique prize as he’d had to pull out of the tournament with injury.
Terunofuji beat Hakuho in a pretty evenly contested bout. If anything, Terunofuji was the dominant wrestler, able to control position and pace. Each had a one-handed belt grip but in the end, he was able to use his size advantage to force out the yokozuna. The crowd erupted, and Hak just looked stunned.
Terunofuji came to ball. He still needs help though, to compete for the yusho as Hakuho sits on a one-win lead going into Day 14. Also, if he wins, I think there will be an asterisk next to the yusho as he does not compete against Harumafuji and other wrestlers from his heya and Kakuryu is out. However, in the head-to-head match, there’s no denying his strong victory.
Yes, that’s Gagamaru tied with Harumafuji, 2 wins off pace. He’s been able to use his girth to dominate the lower ranks of the maegashira. It will be great to see him get a special prize after having been in Juryo for much of the last year.
Thanks to Kintamayama for the videos!