Nagoya 2021 Day Eleven
Utchari, or backward pivot throw. Imagine a rikishi who is about to lose by a simple yorikiri, up against the tawara. His only hope is to grab his opponent, turn, and dramatically throw him sideways. That's what Chiyonoo had to do to Myogiryu, and the win was only granted after a mono-ii.
Match of The Day
Maegashira 13 West Ura versus Maegashira 6 West Kiribayama
At the tachiai, these two got in an interesting little stalemate. Ura was stuck with his head in Kiribayama's chest. Kiribayama had both his arms wrapped around Ura's outstretched arms, but was standing awkwardly. Once they moved, Kiribayama began pushing Ura backward. Then, Ura moved sideways for what was declared a sukuinage. In any other sport, Kiribayama would have argued with the referee and judges, and a replay did show that Ura's hand was very close to Kiribayama's top knot.
It's probably time to consider who is in serious danger of dropping down to Juryo. After eleven days, a handful of kachi-koshi and make-koshi have already been decided. Others are in the position of needing to win out to avoid a make-koshi. Daiamami, at Maegashira 14, and Tokushoryu, at Maegashira 15, are already 3-8. That is probably all she wrote for Tokushoryu. Daiamami certainly cannot lose again, and he may already have punched his return to Juryo.
Ishiura and Ichiyamamoto, the last two men on the Banzuke, have 7 wins with 4 matches remaining. If they can each pick up just more win, they will safely remain in the top division. Chiyonokuni sits at 6-5 after Day Eleven, so he needs two wins. Yet an 8-7 survives, so the math for the trio at Maegashira 16 and 17 control their own destinies. Chiyonoo has more of a cushion at Maegashira 14, but he can't add many losses if he wants to be comfortable.
The question of how many rikishi will be demoted is tough, because it always depends on how many deserve promotion. Yutakayama is at Juryo 1 and leading that yusho race with 9 wins already. He is definitely coming up. Immediately behind him on the Banzuke are Kyokutaisei and Akua, who both sit at 6 wins. A total of 8 or more will get them up in all likelihood. No one else is an obvious promotion candidate, so that trio may just require 3 to fall.
This discussion of the lower end of the Banzuke is not because there is no interest at the top. Hakuho and Terunofuji keep winning to stay undefeated. The 8 win group, Ichinojo, Hoshoryu, Tamawashi, and Kotonowaka, all still theoretically have a chance for the yusho. It is mostly theoretical, though. Hakuho and Terunofuji can drop two matches, while the quartet behind them can win out, and still be ahead of the chase group. They aren't fighting like they'll go 2-2, much less 1-3.
Until the weekend, intrigue might be limited to who collects a kachi-koshi or make-koshi each day. The current 8 win group will want to push on, but all will be happy to have already achieved a winning record. That means a higher rank next time out, as well as a little more prestige. Ichinoho will probably return to Sanyaku, while Hoshoryu has a very outside shot of making his Sanyaku debut. Pay attention to that until the clash of the titans comes closer.