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  • Fantasy Basho

Nagoya 2021 Day Four



Notable Maneuvers

Oshidashi. An astonishing nine matches of the twenty of Day Four were won with the simple frontal push out.

Match of The Day

Yokozuna 1 East Hakuho versus Maegashira 2 East Takanosho

Takanosho never really had one moment where he should have had Hakuho, but he made him scramble all around the dohyo. One of Hakuho's best skills has always been his recovery balance, and he needed it all. Hakuho remained undefeated not by dominating but by escaping a game Takanosho.


There are just three undefeated rikishi: Hakuho, Terunofuji, and Tamawashi. With 11 matches remaining, that is no guarantee that a veteran Mongolian is bound to lift the Emperor's Cup. It is a sign that this basho might not need a zensho yusho or even 14 wins for the yusho. The leaderboard has already shrunk considerably in four days. This may be a wild one.

Let's discuss Tamawashi for a second. Over the last year or so, the 36 year old has fallen off considerably in the second week. It's the way his age shows, as he still appears to be that special combination of strong and agile that makes him so dangerous. He has also already one won match by his signature kotenage (against Hidenoumi on Day Three). Tamawashi has also won a yusho previously, although it was two and a half years ago and shocking in the moment. It's nice he's undefeated now, but all signs point to it unraveling.

So maybe it is going to just be the Hakuho-Terunofuji show. Neither rikishi was dominant on Day Four. Terunofuji took a long time to wrap up Daieisho, who never really got his pushing going but did trouble Terunofuji's offense. At the end, he sent out Daieisho with a hard shove. Hakuho regrouped multiple times just to handle Takanosho, whose main asset in the match was perseverance. Hakuho and Terunofuji are still undefeated, but they do not appear invincible.

The one-loss group after four days has some intriguing names. Mitakeumi and Tokushoryu are former yusho winners. Hoshoryu, Kiribayama, and Kotonowaka are youngsters who are establishing new levels of sumo. Hokutofuji, Okinoumi, and Chiyonokuni all appear healthy at a slightly lower rank than their true level of ability. Individually, none of these rikishi might be excellent candidates for a yusho challenge. The field, however, can upset the Hakuho-Terunofuji showdown at the end.

With Takakeisho out and Shodai on two losses already, the story is even more focused on Hakuho and Terunofuji. When it comes down to it, sumo is very simple. All any rikishi needs to do is win, and you win by avoiding going down or stepping out. That is much, much easier said than done, but that's what Hakuho and Terunofuji need to do right now.

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