Kyushu 2021 Day Three
It was a pretty straight ahead day, so note should be made of Takakeisho's tsukiotoshi win over Kiribayama. Kiribayama got sideways to the Ozeki, and Takakeisho just wound up his left arm and struck Kiribayama's right arm hard enough to make the Komusubi cartwheel to the dirt.
Match of the Day
Sekiwake East Mitakeumi versus Maegashira #1 East Daieisho
At the start, this one seemed to be Daieisho's kind of match. He began with his rapid fire thrusting attack that got him a yusho in January. Mitakeumi didn't get his offense going, but he was holding firm. Then he slowly kept absorbing Daieisho's blows until he could wrap up the Maegashira's arms. With one move, Mitakeumi got the victory and executed a beautiful sukuinage, a beltless arm throw.
Day Three was the day that the basho kept moving forward. 10 rikishi came in undefeated, 9 left that way. Takayasu was the one wrestler who was 2-0 at the start of the day and lost. He got the marathon bout he usually seems to want, but Myogiryu stayed with him and had a burst of power at the end. The fact that such a simple match between upper Maegashira was the closest thing to an upset says more about Day Three than anything else.
The day saw 7 yorikiri and 5 oshidashi, sumo's most common kimarite. There were no wild maneuvers. Some slapdowns and thrust downs were the variety. Even some of the marathon matches (Kotonwaka vs. Hidenoumi) were not necessarily intense back and forths. That is an interesting kind of sumo to watch, and what it really does is show who is standing out. Three days is not really much to get a profile of yusho contenders, but the undefeated rikishi stand out.
In the lower Maegashira ranks, Hokutofuji, Abi, and Sadanoumi are all undefeated. Sadanoumi is the outlier here. He is a veteran rikishi that returned to the top after seeming to be a juryo man on the downslope of his career. He knows what he's doing, and it's gotten him three wins. By contrast, Hokutofuji and Abi are clearly better than their current ranks. Hokutofuji was injured last time out. He is subsequently lower than he has been fighting at for most of the last few years. Abi is making his return from suspension, and he is lighting up his current opponents like he did Juryo and Makushita. They both could keep this up for awhile.
In mid-Maegashira, Aoiyama, Ura, and Chiyoshoma have perfect records. Few people would bet these three would stand out. Aoiyama is in the experienced veteran with a strategy phase of his career. Ura is a wildly interesting rikishi who still seems to be figuring out what his bandaged knee can handle. Chiyoshoma is Makuuchi's current master of tricks. They all are just below the joi-jin line, meaning they were not scheduled to meet the top ranked men. That could easily change in the middle weekend if their records don't tumble before then.
That leaves the three men at the top of the Banzuke with 3-0 records, Sekiwake Mitakeumi, Ozeki Takakeisho, and Yokozuna Terunofuji. These are the men who should be dominating sumo. Mitakeumi has it in him, but has had a consistent issue with being consistent across basho. He could win a third yusho, but he's got two big stumbling blocks in front of him. Takakeisho's strategy has been working well through three days, and his match with Kiribayama showed his power might be back. Terunofuji has little left to prove, but he's still got his focus. These three are the main reason this could be a great basho, and their doing what they should so far.