- Fantasy Basho
Kyushu 2021 Day Ten
Susoharai. Chiyoshoma beat Endo after a chaotic opening by grabbing him and yanking him backwards over his leg. The Japanese translates as "bottom sweep."
Match of the Day
Ozeki East Shodai versus Maegashira #5 East Takayasu
Takayasu seemed to have this one, except that he never really gained control. Both men are good at a long match, but different kinds of long matches. Takayasu excels at the long stalemate with mirrored mawashi grips; Shodai excels at the chaotic back and forth like no one else. Shodai was going backwards most of this match, but Takayasu couldn't get him. In the end, Shodai launched himself at Takayasu well enough to force Takayasu out before he crashed to the dohyo.
The moment of the day was Meisei's victory over Takakeisho. That put the Ozeki one behind Terunofuji in the loss column, and made the yusho race a little more clarified. It also put Meisei in a slightly better position to chase a kachi-koshi. Above all, it put a dent in Takakeisho's previously spotless record by fighting him in his own style. The match was also ugly, a slap fest that never engaged well.
The match's less than stellar sumo could be a sign for the rest of Takakeisho's basho. He landed hard on Day Nine after beating Hoshoryu, and his return to the dohyo to be announced as the winner took a concerning amount of time. Then his knee didn't look good on Day Ten. A Takakeisho without full power is a different kind of rikishi, and he has less of a chance at beating Terunofuji, or anyone else, with a bothersome knee. Takakeisho also much more needs to win out now that he dropped his first match.
He is also tied with just Abi at one loss, one off the pace from Terunofuji. That is because Mitakeumi had no ability to handle Takarafuji on Day Nine. Mitakeumi's threat of a yusho run is much less severe now. Yet he still has a chance to make a difference in the yusho race. In the final five days, he is guaranteed to see both Takakeisho and Terunofuji. He might also see Abi, who gets Ura on Day Eleven. The winner of that will likely get a Sanyaku challenge to make sure he really is a yusho contender. If Mitakeumi gets the surprise Maegashira, then the Ozeki and Yokozuna in the last five days, he'll be in the thick of the key matches.
Terunofuji is the favorite even more strongly now. He is in the position of only needing to win out to get the yusho himself. Of course, that would be a zensho yusho, which is not a common thing for a reason. Terunofuji sees Komusubi Ichinojo on Day Eleven, and that could be the lowest ranked man he sees from here on out. Based on the Banzuke, the route would be Meisei, Mitakeumi, Takakeisho, and then Shodai. If Takakeisho is still closest to him on the leaderboard, Terunofuji will see Takakeisho on Day Fifteen instead. If Abi keeps winning, he could be an interloper for either Meisei or Shodai.
And any of those men could win against Terunofuji. They would be heavy underdogs, except for Takakeisho, but it wouldn't be out of the question for Terunofuji to drop a match or two. After ten matches, Terunofuji is in pole position. Just remember that plenty of capable rikishi are running immediately behind him.