- Fantasy Basho
Aki 2021 Day Fifteen
Hidenoumi beat Hoshoryu officially with a makiotoshi, which translates very simply as "twist down." The remarkable thing is that he did this after Hoshoryu dislodged his grip, butthe two men were still locked by their arms. Hidenoumi just twisted his arms and sent Hoshoryu reeling.
Match of the Day
Maegashira 8 East Okinoumi versus Maegashira 11 East Endo
These two mounted the dohyo with a possibility at a Jun-Yusho, and it showed in their performance. Endo looked best at the start by pushing Okinoumi back with his weird front of the mawashi grip, but Okinoumi stalled the momentum and brought it back to center. At that point, they began trying to reverse moves. Somehow, and it's not always clear with Endo, a forceful uwatenage sent Okinoumi down to the clay. With Myogiryu's later loss, that gave Endo the runner-up tie.
Day Fifteen ended with no drama. Myogiryu lost to Meisei in the third to last match, which meant Terunofuji had the yusho locked up before getting on the dohyo. The Emperor's Cup would be his whether he won or lost. The Yokozuna still took care of business and beat Shodai convincingly. He made it clear he was the best rikishi competing.
In reality, there was little drama throughout the basho. Terunofuji was never even tied with any other rikishi after Day Six. He led relatively comfortably for most of Aki 2021. This was a significant basho for him, as it was his first as a Yokozuna. He made it his on the dohyo. Despite two losses, he never even seemed to have a fatal flaw that was exposed. Beats happen, and Daieisho and Meisei pulled out quality matches. It never disrupted the view Terunofuji was by far the best sumotori competing.
Some of that feeling is because of the performance of the Ozeki. Both Shodai and Takakeisho achieved 8 wins. That keeps Shodai from kadoban and makes Takakeisho lose kadoban, but not being in danger of losing the Ozeki rank isn't really the point of sumo's second highest rank. There was also never a great Sanyaku challenger. The Ozeki didn't perform like Ozeki should, but no one else looked like they were close to making Ozeki, either.
Daieisho, the highest ranked man with 10 wins after the Yokozuna at Maegashira 4, won the Outstanding Performance Prize. It's deserved for double-digit victories and a kinboshi, but it isn't telling the very top of the Banzuke to watch out. Myogiryu received the Technique Prize, which was also fairly deserved. But that was it, as Onosho lost his shot at the FIghting Spirit Prize by falling to Tamawashi. Myogiryu could have gained the same prize by completing the uphill task of winning the yusho in a playoff.
Day Fifteen closed with a few 7-7 matches, and there was potential at times for Aki to deliver something amazing. In the end, Sanyaku has only one open slot, which is likely Kiribayama's. Daieisho may vault both Kiribayama and Wakatakakage due to his double-digit wins. On the Juryo-Makuuchi line, the promotions and demotions seem simple, too. There was fun sumo to be had throughout, but the overall picture was never in much doubt.
The shin-Yokozuna came in the best rikishi competing at Aki. Terunofuji left with a clear Yusho.