- Fantasy Basho
Haru 2021 Day Five
Of the twenty matches on Day Five, a full seven were settled by yorikiri, the front force out. This is the most common kimarite in sumo, but it was notably absent from Day One and has been barely seen all basho.
Match of The Day
Maegashira 10 East Midorifuji versus Maegashira 8 West Tobizaru
These are two athletic, dynamic rikishi who are known for flying around the dohyo and unleashing unexpected maneuvers. When they faced each other on Day Five, the two grabbed each other's mawashis and grappled forever. Their match went for 2 minutes, 23 seconds before Tobizaru eventually got the yorikiri win.
The leaderboard after five days features one undefeated rikishi and seven rikishi with one loss. That's a bit unusual, as many basho have multiple wrestlers undefeated through the first third. More strange is the identity of the sekitori on top, Myogiryu. Myogiryu is a good rikishi, but he's also 34 and hasn't had a successful basho in upper Maegashira for awhile.
Myogiryu hasn't faced anyone ranked above Maegashira 3 yet, a fact that will change immediately since he is at Maegashira 4. Likely, he will need to see some of the men one loss behind him. Sanyaku men Asanoyama, Terunofuji, Takanosho, and Takayasu seem to be lying in wait. While they all have one loss, they've been strong and are pointed towards being competitive into the second week. Asanoyama and Terunofuji have been here before, and they know what it's like competing for a yusho and then winning it.
The other three 4-1 rikishi are all strong candidates for piling up wins in the lower part of the Banzuke. Aoiyama and Kaisei are both massive foreign born rikishi on the wrong side of 30, but who have Sanyaku experience and know exactly what they're doing. Don't bet against them on any day. Chiyonokuni meanwhile, was on the precipice of Sanyaku, then faced injuries that pushed him down the Banzuke. In particular, he had a knee surgery that sent him down to Makushita in 2019. Now he's on the climb back and ready to take on all comers.
Apart from the 8 wrestlers in the yusho arasoi, this basho is proving any match could go any way. Takarafuji is at 0-5, with a heavy duty loss on each day, but also has proven a hard out. If the solid, redoubtable veteran is 0-5, this is a tough basho. Myogiryu is likely to get a loss, so a zensho yusho is probably not happening. More importantly, this tournament seems like it could be won with just 12 wins. People will get a loss when you least expect it.
On Day Five, Onosho got in on Terunofuji for a powerful Yorikiri win. It wasn't just surprising that Onosho beat the previously undefeated Terunofuji. Onosho pulled out a level of power that surprised Terunofuji. The Mongolian tried to turn Onosho around, just like he did the day before against Meisei. It didn't happen. These are the kind of matches that will define the basho from here on out.