- Fantasy Basho
Haru 2021 Day Twelve
Kiribayama won with a sukuinage over Onosho, because "bodyslam" is not a kimarite.
Match of The Day
Sekiwake 1 East Terunofuji versus Maegashira 6 East Tamawashi
Tamawashi went for his typical nodowa, which Terunofuji just withstood. Somehow, that ended up with an awkward grapple, which Tamawashi then broke. That appeared to give Tamawashi the edge in a chaotic thrusting battle. Instead, Terunofuji peddled backward for a second, planted his feet, and redirected Tamawashi's final shove into a slap down.
Likely, the yusho will go to Takayasu, Asanoyama, or Terunofuji. The clutch of rikishi at 8 wins do have a chance still, although it would take both winning out and some serious slips among the three men at the top. Asanoyama and Terunofuji still have to face each other over the final three days. The winner of that match gets a leg up, but isn't guaranteed of anything else.
Over the next three days, Shodai, Asanoyama, Takakeisho, and Terunofuji will all face each other. These are the top four men on the Banzuke, and this is how the JSA would want this basho to finish without Yokozuna competing. Shodai will face Terunofuji on Day 13, while Asanoyama will square off with Takakeisho. Likely, those matchups on Day 14 will be Shodai against Asanoyama and Takakeisho against Terunofuji. That would leave the battle of the titans for Day 15 if Asanoyama and Terunofuji win the next two days.
That's no guarantee. Takakeisho got his eighth win, and eliminates his kadoban status, on Day 12 against Okinoumi. He doesn't look to be 100% again, but much of his power has returned. He is also still tricky with his tsuppari, even when he can't shove an opponent off the dohyo in one shot. Shodai is at 7-5 now, and he too has been displaying his brand of sumo. Of course, for Shodai that is absorbing his opponent's best attack then rerouting it into his own offense. Either of them can beat Asanoyama or Terunofuji.
That leaves Takayasu in more of a catbird seat than just having a one win advantage. He doesn't have an easy slate, but it's better than his nearest competitors. On Day 13, he will see a feisty Wakatakakage, and he still needs to see Sekiwake West Takanosho. The third opponent will likely be a lower Maegashira who has performed well, probably Chiyonokuni or Tobizaru. He will have faced everyone he can Maegashira 4 East and above.
Essentially, there are two different tournaments over the last three days. Takayasu gets his slate, and then there is the four-way round robin. Meanwhile, the bottom of Makuuchi features a few rikishi with about even records. They will all be fighting to avoid a demotion to juryo. Throughout the Banzuke, rikishi will be fighting for a kachi-koshi. And at the top, there's a yusho race.