Nagoya 2021 Day Six
Yorikiri. The plain old frontal force out won 7 matches in Makuuchi on Day SIx. It was just that kind of a day.
Match of The Day
Maegashira 5 East Okinoumi versus Maegashira 3 West Tobizaru
Okinoumi very nearly bottled Tobizaru up to make quick work of this one, but Tobizaru forced up Okinoumi's arms to prevent a solid grip. As Okinoumi struggled to really grab a hold, Tobizaru worked his hand to the back of Okinoumi's mawashi. That allowed Tobizaru to pull out a shitatenage, the underarm throw.
And then there was one just one win back. Kotonowaka's victory, and losses from all the other one-win rikishi coming into Day Six, means there is just one runner-up behind the two leaders. Hakuho and Terunofuji won easily at the end of the day. They now stand well ahead of the other high rankers. It was almost like everyone else decided to leave it to the two leaders, except that the way many lost was clearly not what anyone would plan.
Kotonowaka's chances of pipping the yusho are exceedingly slim. However, he could be making rumblings he is about to be a serious player in upper Maegashira and then Sanyaku. He is just 23, with a year in Makuuchi already and a 10 win basho in January. After some injury-related struggles, Kotonowaka is delivering on his promise. The promise is immense, too. His shikona is the same as his father's, current Sadogatake-oyakata and a former sekiwake. When and if he makes Ozeki, the thought is he will adopt the shikona Kotozakura. That was his maternal grandfather's, who was a Yokozuna. (No pressure, kid.)
He is the one in the best position to challenge Hakuho and Terunofuji now. 9 matches remain for everyone and plenty could still happen. Injuries are the most common disruptor in sumo, and neither leader is exactly a model of health. Hakuho is competing past Day Two for the first time in more than a year. Terunofuji has one of the most remarkable injury histories in sumo. The two could succumb to injury at any time.
Although easiest to envision, physical problems are not the only way that a Hakuho-Terunofuji clash for it all could be disrupted. On any day, anyone can beat anyone in sumo. The odds are lower when it comes to Hakuho and Terunofuji, but they are not guaranteed to win every match. The remaining Sanyaku wrestlers should particularly be flagged. They are ranked where they are for a reason, even if no one is having a standout basho.
Yet if Hakuho or Terunofuji do suffer a loss, they still have a cushion. If Kotonowaka drops another match, then a loss from either leader keeps them ahead still. A 14-0 senshuraku clash for all the marbles would be fun, but they could still have a yusho decider while having just one or two losses. Now all they need for it is to win almost all of their matches for the next week.