Kyushu 2021 Day Six
Kirikaeshi. In a back and forth where both men seemed hellbent on a throwing victory, Hoshoryu beat Chiyoshoma with a twisting backward knee trip. Basically, he stuck a leg between Chiyoshoma's legs and yanked him sideways.
Match of the Day
Ozeki East Shodai versus Maegashira #2 West Takanosho
Takanosho got the better of the Ozeki at the tachiai, and began working him backwards to the tawara. At that point, Shodai's defensive sumo took hold. Shodai actually pulled off a nice dance on the edge and threw Takanosho over. The problem was he didn't quite do enough before stepping out. What's crazy is that description applies to both matches these two had. The first one was so close at the end that they called a torinaoshi. Shodai lost the second one by a hair's breadth.
The three undefeated rikishi all won on Day Six, and the yusho race is still led by Terunofuji, Takakeisho, and Abi. Among the one-loss crowd was where the leaderboard thinned out. Six rikishi came into Day Six with one loss, and Sadanoumi, Hokutofuji, and Takayasu all dropped their matches. That means the one-loss crowd after Day Six is Mitakeumi, Tamawashi, and Ura.
Mitakeumi is a two-time yusho winner in his prime sitting at Sekiwake, and he should be among the leaders. Tamawashi and Ura are slightly different cases. They are back-to-back on the Banzuke at Maegashira #6 West and Maegashira #7 East. Those ranks mean that Tamawashi and Ura have had relatively easy schedules so far compared to rikishi just a few ranks ahead. In fact, Tamwashi's one loss is to Ura on Day One, while Ura dropped a weird one to Maegashira #8 West Tobizaru on Day Four.
In other words, neither man has shown the kind of sumo that says yusho threat so far. Of course, they've won enough to be in the conversation, and they deserve credit for it. The tough fact about sumo is that you have to beat the man in front of you, which means rikishi can have very different strengths of schedule. This is very much intentional, and sumo is made to have the Sanyaku get the toughest matchups.
Basically, fully expect that everything can change over the middle weekend. Tamawashi and Ura are about to get the men ranked just above them who have been facing Sanyaku wrestlers so far. That's who needs to fight the Maegashira #6 and #7 soon. Terunofuji, Takakeisho, and Mitakeumi will start the rougher closing kick of their schedule. Who knows who Abi will face in the second week. Much of it will depend on who else has a strong record and how the yusho race needs to be narrowed.
Day-by-day, a basho should help clarify the yusho race. Scheduling is ad hoc and done after each day's matches, with exceptions for Days One and Two and sometimes Day Fifteen. That allows for matchups to happen when they need to, but also means a key matchup is still in the backpocket of the schedulers. The next day's matchup is what will always matter. On Day Seven, Abi faces Hokutofuji, Tamawashi faces Takayasu, Ura gets Endo, Mitakeumi sees Kiribayama, Takakeisho battles Okinoumi, and Terunofuji squares off with Myogiryu. If any of the first-named men loses, we can reconsider the yusho race.