Kyushu 2021 Day Eleven
Tsukitaoshi. Aoiyama ended up getting so overwhelmed by Chiyonokuni that he lost by the surprisingly rare "frontal thrust down." And then Ura went so low on Abi to avoid getting hit in the chest that he got in the shoulders and also lost by tsukitaoshi.
Match of the Day
Yokozuna East Terunofuji versus Komusubi East Ichinojo
Ichinojo is a lot to handle, and he gave all he could to Terunofuji. The two locked up in the pure power battle that would be best, yet that ended up looking like it would favor Terunofuji's better footwork and mobility. Ichinojo instead got some advantage by getting under Terunofuji's arms. The Yokozuna showed his ability by reworking the grip, which did get Ichinojo sideways. To the Komusubi's credit, he didn't instantly go out, but the match was effectively done.
Terunofuji remained undefeated in the final match, overcoming Ichinojo's best. He needed to do that to remain in sole possession of first place on the leaderboard. Takakeisho beat Endo in a way that showed his power is not threatened too much, as he just forced Endo off his belt and backward. Abi beat Ura in a way that showed he probably can take on more serious challengers in the next few days. Mitakeumi, Tamawashi, and Hokutofuji are two wins off the pace, just in case things get really crazy.
Of course, things will get crazy in some way. On Day Twelve, Abi and Tamawashi square off for the first time in nearly two years. Throats will be hit, slaps will be delivered, and the yusho race will get further clarified by a Maegashira match on Day Twelve. Before that match, the Ura-Hokutofuji match will see if Hokutofuji is still in the conversation. If Hokutofuji and Abi both win, they will maybe both need to see a Sanyaku opponent on Day Thirteen.
The obvious candidate is Mitakeumi. Intriguingly, he gets Endo on Day Twelve, who is sitting at 5-6 and is on a knife's edge for kachi-koshi. Since he sees Endo, that means his final three days should be the two Ozeki and the Yokozuna. That is almost a bet that Tamawashi will knock Abi out of the yusho race. If Abi is two back with three days remaining, he will need a playoff. Yet if he wins, someone needs to give him an extra loss. That someone would probably need to be Mitakeumi, Takakeisho, or Terunofuji.
Takakeisho and Terunofuji are still set up to face each other with the yusho on the line, presumably on the final day. Both men are standing above the rest of the contenders so far, and they'll be marching towards their showdown. Neither has faced Mitakeumi or Shodai so far, and those are matches that could go either way. Mitakeumi's usual second week fade is usually because he can't quite do as well against the top rankers. Shodai is just wildly uneven. They both have won yusho and are not pushovers against the top two men on the yusho arasoi.
The Day Thirteen torikumi will be extremely telling. That cannot be made until the outcome of Day Twelve. That is the joy of sumo in many ways. Each day matters, and each day will bring something new. And if everything goes to plan, we will get a renewal of the Takakeisho-Terunofuji rivalry to end the basho.