- Fantasy Basho
Nagoya 2021 Day Eight
Sukuinage. Hokutofuji looked like he was going to provide another upset of Shodai by knocking him back. Instead, the Ozeki moved slightly aside, grabbed Hokutofuji's arm, and won with a beltless arm throw.
Match of The Day
Maegashira 1 West Daieisho versus Komusubi West Meisei
Neither man has had the basho they would like (especially Daieisho), but they proved on Day EIght they both can have a slapfest. Not only did both men unleash a heavy dose of tsuppari, they absorbed the blows. Meisei got the best of Daieisho in the end, but the match was exciting from start to finish.
Kotonowaka fell off, losing via a mono-ii reversal to Chiyonoo. That doesn't change that he is still having a great basho, and he pulled off impressive sumo. What is does change is the leaderboard. With Kotonowaka's defeat, there are just two undefeated rikishi and no one with just one loss. The possibility of Hakuho-Terunofuji on the last day determining the yusho is even more likely.
The trio at two losses are not obvious threats, either. All three are ranked Maegashira 10 or below. Kotonowaka is establishing his Makuuchi bonafides, Tamawashi is arresting his slide to Juryo, and Ichiyamamoto is having a nice top-division debut. None of that sounds like the recipe for lifting the Emperor's Cup. Perhaps they are heading towards a special prize.
The rest of the Sanyaku and upper Maegashira that are still competing are not very threatening themselves. Shodai escaped Hokutofuji on Day Eight, in a perfect summation of his mediocre tournament. Takayasu seems to win mostly be belaboring everything to where his opponent wears out. Mitakeumi, Meisei, and Wakatakage have had flashes, but not consistency to make it matter. Takanosho, Ichinojo, and Hokutofuji are threatening enough at times, but haven't shown they can always topple the best. This crowd might just beat each other up over the next week.
The leaders kept up their undefeated pace. Terunofuji had a less comical version of Hakuho's match with Tobizaru from the previous day. Tobizaru didn't back off as much, and Terunofuji had a stronger sense he should just grab the Maegashira. This wasn't an easy match. Tobizaru tried to keep getting away, but that just meant Terunofuji won ugly. An overly clever smaller man will not disrupt his path.
Hakuho similarly had a match that started awkwardly, but which he ended up dominating. Kotoeko, as it turns out, is no match for the White Phoenix. Hakuho worked a grip and just went forward. The result was that he followed Kotoeko out and down in a manner which tackled a shimpan inadvertently. He also nearly took out Terunofuji. That was likely unintentional, but the symbolism is huge. Even on a day when the yusho race became less interesting, the clash between Hakuho and Terunofuji was just looming.