- Fantasy Basho
Nagoya 2021 Day Seven
Uwatenage. Three rikishi, Kiribayama, Chiyoshoma, and Yokozuna Hakuho, all won with the overarm throw. Tellingly, all three are Mongolian, as the maneuver relates to those used in traditional Mongolian wrestling.
Match of The Day
Yokozuna East Hakuho versus Maegashira 3 West Tobizaru
Well, that was something. Tobizaru's approach was to stand as far back as he could in the dohyo, then try and get a jump on the dai-Yokozuna. It led to a matta, followed by a sort of but not really tachiai. Tobizaru touched Hakuho only enough to not back up. Hakuho grew fed up with this, and ended up just standing there waiting for Tobizaru to attack. Tobizaru didn't attack, so Hakuho kept just standing there for awhile. This advantage Tobizaru only in the sense that he didn't go down to the ground. As soon as they did engage, Hakuho grabbed the Flying Monkey and flipped him over.
Hakuho and Terunofuji continue to lead the basho with zero losses, and only Kotonowaka stands one win back. The leaders remain the same as they were on Day Six. The real story of the first week of matches might be the other end of the yusho arasoi. There are a collection of rikishi with just one or two wins who are not just obviously struggling, but seem to be hopeless unless they are squaring off with each other.
Chiyotairyu, Tochinoshin, and Myogiryu look like age is catching up to them. Chiyotairyu is coming off a good basho at Maegashira 14, but a 10 rank jump seems like too much. At Maegashira 4, he is clearly a step slower than he needs to be for his overpowering style of sumo to work. Tochinoshin's right knee is not just heavily bandaged, but appears to be unable to move side-to-side. If he isn't going straightforward, the Big Georgian is in serious trouble. Myogiryu's athletic style is straining against his diminishing athletic abilities more and more.
Kotoeko, Daiamami, and Chiyonoo all are fighting way above their best rank. Those three just look overwhelmed, and Kotoeko and Chiyonoo are at career high ranks. None of the three look injured or otherwise bothered, they're just getting beaten. That is unfortunately not a pattern that will necessarily change with the second week. They are still over-ranked for their ability.
That brings us to Onosho, Terutsuyoshi, and Daieisho. These three are just plain off. They certainly could fight well at their rank. Onosho has flashes of his raw talent coming through, yet it is too often accompanied by a sense he still isn't used to his mid-twenties, post-injury athletic abilities. He should be winning more, but he can't pull it together. Terutsuyoshi has immense power in his small frame, but he doesn't always direct it as needed. Daieisho is fighting against Sanyaku opponents, and his tsuppari is not as on-point as he needs it to be.
Those collections will provide different opportunities for whoever matches up with them over the next eight days. The aging veteran and over-ranked groups will probably be easy opponents. The same cannot be said of the final trio. Betting on strong second weeks from all three is probably foolish. Yet they can get their sumo together occasionally. When and if that happens might determine the yusho as much as anything.