Nagoya 2021 Day Three
Kainahineri. Takanosho had managed to stalemate Terunofuji. For a long while, they just leaned on each other, Takanosho's right shoulder against Terunofuji's left. Then Terunofuji let go with his left hand, grabbed Takanosho's left arm with it, and pulled off a two-handed arm twist down.
Match of The Day
Maegashira 5 East Okinoumi versus Maegashira 5 West Hoshoryu
Hoshoryu has looked good so far in Nagoya, and he nearly had his third victory in a matter of seconds. But Okinoumi held on to avoid a throw, which set up a great back and forth yotsu battle. Each man attempted throws, trips, and pulls, but never successfully. Hoshoryu even switched his grip to mostly grab the front of Okinoumi's mawashi. This almost worked, but Okinoumi managed to turn it around and win with a hikiotoshi.
Day Three was a day of rikishi hitting the clay. Even a boring yorikiri like Mitakeumi won with actually involved Hokutofuji stepping out while they were engaged and Hokutofuji was throwing Mitakeumi down. Throws, pull downs, and slap downs were the order of the day. If a match didn't end with someone on the dohyo or running off into the crowd, it was worth noting.
The consequential event of the day involved someone not even getting near the dohyo. Takakeisho has officially pulled out due to a slipped disk, and he will be kadoban in September. For now, that also means that a Hakuho-Terunofuji clash at the end of the basho is more likely. If Terunofuji does make it to Yokozuna, he will have to beat the sole remaining Yokozuna.
Hakuho is not Terunofuji's only barrier to gaining the rope. He will likely not get a zensho-yusho, his highest win total ever is 13, so someone will probably defeat him. The identity of who could topple Terunofuji before he faces Hakuho. Shodai is a fellow Ozeki. While he lost to Endo doing Endo things (weird tachiai led to an unusual grip and then an impressive arm twist), he is still a difficult matchup for anyone. Takayasu meanwhile has a career winning record over Terunofuji. Endo is even with him.
The group of younger rikishi trying to make a name should also not be discounted. Shin-komusubi Wakatakakage and Meisei both could pull upsets. Hoshoryu and Kiribayama are looking strong through three days. They could figure out how to beat their bigger countryman. Also, the basic mantra of sumo right now should be "anything can happen." Don't think anything is certain.
Yet one of the great aspects of sumo is that often when people hit the clay, they come back up to fight the next day. No matter how dirt covered and disheveled they look, rikishi want to get back to winning 24 hours later. Anyone who faces Hakuho or Terunofuji will want to beat them, and they just might be able to.