May Tournament, Day 13: Hakuho really is something special!
Mie Furuya’s Sumo Blog, Vol. 25
And so, Kisenosato entered the final match of Day 13 carrying the hopes and dreams of an entire nation on his shoulders. A win against Hakuho, and the path towards his first tournament title and yokozuna promotion would be all but clear. And yet…
Kisenosato lost. However, he really contributed to a great match.
Hakuho may have clobbered him with an open right at the jump-off, but Kise still managed to latch onto Hakuho’s belt with his left hand and secure an over-arm grip with his right. And so it became a pure belt battle – game on! As Kise had secured his favored fighting stance, I thought he would dictate the pace from there on, but Hakuho simply broke his grip, established an under-arm hold of his own and put Kise down to the clay with a magnificent throw.
Hakuho is just simply majestic. He probably even let Kise establish his favored grip simply to test himself… and still ended up crushing his foe! There has been much talk of Hakuho having “passed his peak” in recent years, but he’s still easily the strongest sumo wrestler on the stage today. If a rikishi had to better Hakuho in order to become a yokozuna, I’m sure nobody would make the grade!
Yes, it was a match which hammered home Hakuho’s brilliance, but it was also one in which Kisenosato gave a very good account of himself. And if Kise can knock over the other two yokozuna on Saturday and Sunday, might that not still be enough to gain promotion?
I hope that rather than simply cave in, he keeps his spirits raised for one final assault.
Mie Furuya, Premium Japan’s Official Sumo Columnist
Mie Furuya has been an avid sumo-watcher since attending live sumo at the Kokugikan with her parents as a child. Brought up as a “natural sumo fan,” she continues to live her life around sumo during tournaments. Mie’s other passions include surfing and oyster bars. She also writes extensively on beauty care.
English translation／Chris Gould