- Fantasy Basho
Aki 2021 Day Twelve
Shitatenage. You beat a Yokozuna with a less than common maneuver, that's notable. Mesei got Terunofuji sideways and pulled out the underarm throw. Special mention should also be made for the kubinage, headlock throw, Tobizaru beat Tokushoryu with. He kind of leapt up and grabbed Tokushoryu's head to get him down.
Match of the Day
Maegashira 8 East Okinoumi versus Maegashira 2 West Kiribayama
Kiribayama had a slightly quicker tachiai, but the veteran began to shut him down. Intriguingly, Kiribayama fought back in a very Okinoumi-like way. This became a series of small repositionings with both hands and feet. Okinoumi got the win, but Kiribayama made him work in a way that shows Kiribayama will be around.
Meisei put an exclamation point on Day Twelve with an impressive win over Terunofuji. Terunofuji is still the leader, but his lead is much narrower, and the chase pack is bigger. Terunofuji never really had Meisei, and then Meisei was just relentless. Meisei hasn't had the basho he would have wanted, but he has shown some impressive moments and had his best moment on Day Twelve.
That final match was fitting ending to a day of upsets and surprise results. It began with the Chiyonokuni-Tochinoshin match, where the yusho-competitive thruster Chiyonokuni lost to the visibly injured grappler Tochinoshin in a slapfest. Two matches later, the one man sitting one loss behind Terunofuji coming in lost. Myogiryu got flatly overwhelmed by Kagayaki to fall further back.
Then the day was really on. The real excitement took place in the Sanyaku ranks. Takayasu had to withdraw after his heavy fall on the dohyo on Day Eleven. Mitakeumi got powered out by Onosho. Shodai was pretty well overwhelmed by Ichinojo. Mitakeumi and Shodai are notable for inconsistency, but these losses were still somewhat surprising. Onosho and Ichinojo have been performing solidly enough, but Mitakeumi and Shodai basically fell out of the yusho race by losing to lower-ranked opponents.
If Terunofuji had beaten Meisei, the story of Day Twelve would have been Takakeisho's win. After a terrible neck injury in July and two awful matches to kick off Aki, Takakeisho seemed destined to lose his Ozeki rank. Instead, he's improved steadily, reeling off six straight wins to clinch his make-koshi on Day Twelve. Now, Takakeisho is staying at Ozeki for November, and he still has an outside chance at being in the yusho race.
The yusho is still Terunofuji's to lose. He will probably have the 8-win, top of Sanyaku trio Mitakeumi, Takakeisho, and Shodai for his final matches. Beating any of them knocks them out of the yusho race, yet he also becomes more vulnerable with just one loss. The group of Maegashira at 9 wins could be in position for an extremely unusual playoff. Aki apparently still has lots of surprises, so don't rule anything out.