Hatsu 2021 Day Two
Match of the Day
Komusubi 1 East Takayasu vs Ozeki 1 West Shodai
Perhaps unsurprisingly, these two took awhile for sumo. Takayasu had much more offense, but little of it landed. Shodai's defensive sumo was top-notch, he kept his feet and withstood all kinds of attacks. Finally, he found an opening and turned Takayasu around forcefully enough to end with the crush out.
Takarafuji over Mitakeumi
Onosho over Terunofuji
Daieisho over Takakeisho
Midorifuji won with a Katasukashi, the under sholder swing down. Most of the time this comes about as an attempt to win from a weaker position. Midorifuji whipped it out against the bigger Yutakayama as a weapon.
The story is unavoidably Takakeisho, after the Yokozuna hopeful went down for a second day in a row. He literally fell on his face against Daieisho, after the Oitekaze man withstood the tachiai and hammered the Ozeki with enough tsuppari to matter. Takakeisho isn't out of the running for Yokozuna promotion yet officially, but it's a heck on an uphill climb.
There are other top rikishi performing very well. Shodai had a nice win against Takayasu. Takanosho is also unbeaten still at the Sekiwake West slot. Daieisho is also showing he might be a menace, although Shodai and Daieisho face each other on Day 3. Not all the top rankers besides Takakeisho are cruising, though. Asanoyama got a win on Day Two after a Day One loss, but he still looks sloppy. Terunofuji lost on Day Two after only going backwards against Onosho. Mitakeumi followed up his Day One win over Takakeisho with a loss to Takarafuji.
It might be worth considering Onosho more closely. Onosho was a school rival of Takakeisho, and both were rising stars in 2017. Onosho was actually ahead of Takakeisho, reaching Komusubi at age 21. Then he had a knee injury, which he recovered from quickly in terms of returning to the top division. Yet he has been on a rollercoaster for three years as Takakeisho made Ozeki and won two yusho. Onosho was trying to figure out what his best sumo might be now.
Perhaps he has found it again. In both of his first two matches he won the tachiai convincingly. Day One against Takayasu, he got inside and didn't allow Takayasu to have anywhere to go. Day Two he knocked Terunofuji, who otherwise is an imposing force, backwards and out in the blink of an eye.
It's two days, and the next thirteen could change all of these thoughts. Right now Takakeisho's missing power seems to have been transferred to his former school rival, and Onosho is the bigger threat for the yusho.