Nagoya 2021 Day Five
Isamiashi. Okinoumi lost due to the "non-technique" known as the forward step out. Basically, he had the match won, he was basically tackling Kiribayama out of the dohyo, when he stepped out of the dohyo as he was winning.
Match of The Day
Ozeki 2 East Shodai versus Maegashira 3 West Tobizaru
An odd, but interesting, match. Shodai and Tobizaru both showed their weaknesses and strengths. Tobizaru began the match looking almost afraid of engaging with Shodai. That was a problem for Shodai, because his best tachiai involves essentially catching his opponent. Then they started moving. Shodai showed all of his bouncy, reactive sumo. Tobizaru showed his athleticism and made the Ozeki react more. The chaos didn't end until Shodai danced off the dohyo.
There are two leaders now, Hakuho and Terunofuji. Neither rikishi has been so dominant that a loss is inconceivable, but they are both a challenge. Hakuho is still the best ever, and there's a shade of it even in his advanced stage. Terunofuji seems to have found a way to unleash his power in short enough bursts to both win and keep himself healthy. Good luck to whoever has to face these two.
And the 4 win group is not full of obvious threats. Mitakeumi is a Sekiwake with two yusho on his career record. He also has a history of fading in the second week, which would halt anyone's faith in his ability to topple the leaders. Hoshoryu, Kiribayama, Kotonowaka, and Ichiyamamoto are exciting young rikishi showing good sumo so far. That doesn't guarantee anything moving forward, and Kiribayama and Kotonowaka have had very up and down basho lately. Tamawashi and Chiyonokuni are older rikishi who are very good, but also have not held up well over 15 days recently.
Interestingly, Hoshoryu and Kiribayama will likely face Hakuho and/or Terunofuji before long. The top opponents have been thinned out by the injuries to Takakeisho and Endo. At Maegashira 5 and 6, the youngsters are creeping into position to square off with the two powerful veterans. Hoshoryu is the intriguing wrestler in this. He just turned 22, and his sumo seems to have evolved into something better. He'll be the underdog against either Hakuho or Terunofuji, but the youthful master of throws could pull the upset.
With one-third of the basho down, such an upset would be the best bet for entertainment over the next week of matches. Right now, Terunofuji versus Hakuho is a near certainty for the final day. They both will also need to face Mitakeumi, Takayasu, and Shodai in some order in the final few days. (Unless Shodai really falls off in terms of record, but that's another story.) Until those matches, Hakuho and Terunofuji are wanting to just win as simply as possible.
Sumo has a habit of pulling out at least one surprise match each basho. A kinboshi is also a live option for rikishi for the first time in over a year, so the matches against Hakuho will show some extra excitement from any opponent. That leaderboard is still likely to stay close to what it is now for a few more days.