Technical Readout: Hakuho vs. Takanosho

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Throughout sports there is hardly ever a consensus “greatest.” LeBron James vs. Michael Jordan. Tom Brady vs. Dan Marino. GSP vs. Khabib. But in the world of sumo, the question isn’t “Who is the GOAT?” It is, “Will anyone get close?” That man that sits at the top of the throne is Hakuho. 44 career basho wins. Over a thousand matches won. The longest lasting Yokozuna. There is none above Hakuho. In today’s Technical Readout, we’re looking at his spectacular win over Takanosho on day four of the Nagoya basho.

Technical Readout is best on video which you can find below. A transcript and accompanying GIFs have been provided below for those who wish to read. Enjoy!

Hakuho: Making The Best Out Of A Bad Situation

While Hakuho is the best, it doesn’t mean the best doesn’t make mistakes. In this match, Hakuho gets himself out of position against Takanosho. But what makes him so great is the ability to take a bad situation and make the best of it. That’s what Hakuho does here.

Right off the line, Hakuho and Takanosho slam into each other. Hakuho pushes and slaps down the hand of Takanosho continuing his forward progression looking for the mawashi and a slap down.

Hakuho turns up the pressure and starts pushing forward, looking to push Takanosho out of the ring. Takanosho over extends as Hakuho circles out. While Takanosho almost falls, he maintains balance against the edge of the dohyo.

In the final sequence, Hakuho makes a rare mistake by stepping in as Takanosho steps to the side, allowing him to escape the attempt and get behind Hakuho, a dire situation for most rikishi. All Takanosho has to do is push Hakuho out here. But, being ever-vigilant, Hakuho spins away from Takanosho, to his left, where he can escape. Takanosho is on edge and feels he’s beat the great Hakuho. Instead, Hakuho takes the over-pursuit of Takanosho, who is off balance from pushing, and pushes the back of the head knocking Takanosho to the ground for the win.

Sumo is one of my favorite sports. It’s simplicity has room for much improvisation that produces results like this and allows creativity like this one and almost anything Enho does. The sport is full of high level grappling tailored to the ruleset that is sumo.