- Fantasy Basho
Nagoya 2021 Day Thirteen
Tottari. Hakuho decided to end his match against Takayasu early with a textbook arm bar throw that sent the Sekiwake to the dirt.
Match of The Day
Ozeki 1 East Terunofuji versus Ozeki 2 East Shodai
Shodai gave Terunofuji all that he could handle by doing all the Shodai things. The tachiai was awkward, with Shodai standing Terunofuji up and Terunfouji getting a shallow grip on the mawashi. Shodai broke that and began moving. Shodai was never in a great position to win, but he kept Terunofuji on edge. After dancing, Shodai very nearly spun well enough as he was headed out to beat Terunofuji. The next Yokozuna held his foot in and won.
The two man clash will be for it all, no matter what happens on Day Fourteen. Terunofuji and Hakuho at worse could both go in at 13-1, and even if just one loses we have it to set up a playoff for all the marbles. Even if the yusho is just the two rikishi, forty other rikishi are on the basho. Plenty of them are still fighting for quite a bit over the last two days. They showed it with a chaotic day full of mono-ii and wild finishes.
The current 7 win group is led by Sanyaku men Shodai, Takayasu, Mitakeumi, and Meisei. Takayasu and Shodai are unlikely to both secure their eighth, because they get each other on Day Fifteen. That's after Takayasu gets Terunofuji and Shodai sees Hakuho. One of them will be kachi-koshi due to their likely matchup. Mitakeumi and Meisei will be looking to hold onto rank, which is massive in this area of the banzuke.
In the relegation zone, Tsurugisho, Chiyonokuni, and Ichiyamamoto all also need one more win. They would not just hold their rank, but hold their Maegashira status by avoiding a drop to Juryo. The demotion setup is so close right now, a bare make-koshi in the lower Maegashira is dangerous. Even Tokushoryu, sitting on 5-8 at Maegashira 15, could stay up with two more wins. These rikishi are going to be fighting as hard as anyone over the last few days, which is exciting since they've produced some wild matches.
Even a match like Ura versus Kaisei on Day Thirteen could be a preview of the final weekend's excitement. Ura danced successfully, but Kaisei kept wrapping him up. After twisting and moving sideways, Ura seemed to have a clear win. Then the shimpan noted a hairpull and reversed the decision. There were also two torinaoshi. Kagayaki and Tobizaru had such an odd, twisting finish that the judges said there was nothing between them Kagayaki easily won the rematch with pure determination.
Then there was Hoshoryu and Ichinojo. A stylistic clash between two Mongolians who went to school in Japan, they countered and switched grips constantly. Ichinojo looked like he had it, except Hoshoryu danced well enough to get a torinaoshi. Then Hoshoryu got a decisive win. What are Hoshoryu and Ichinojo fighting for? Maybe a special prize, maybe an outside shot at a Komusubi rank. They are also just trying to get a better rank and get up the Banzuke. Every rikishi wants a yusho, but they also are always fighting to get the best rank they can next time out.