Nagoya 2021 Day Twelve
Komatasukuisi. Terutsuyoshi pulled out the rare "over-thigh scooping body drop" in his battle of the tricksters with Chiyoshoma. Essentially, he grabbed Chiyoshoma's thigh from the side and threw him backwards. This is the first time he has done it in his entire career.
Match of The Day
Sekiwake East Takayasu versus Maegashira 6 West Kiribayama
This one went forever, which obviously is Takayasu's game. Kiribayama tried on multiple occasions to break the stalemate, only to find himself locked up again. Takayasu almost looked like he wasn't going to pull a maneuver, but let Kiribayama beat himself. Kiribayama didn't, but finally reengaged and began moving him back for a hard yorikiri.
It is official: the only rikishi who could win the basho are Hakuho or Terunofuji. The joint leaders have 12 wins apiece, while the next men on the yusho arasoi have 9. WIth just three matches remaining, Tamawashi and Kotonowaka need to win out and have Hakuho and Terunofuji lose three in a row. Hakuho and Terunofuji will see each other on Day 15, so neither can lose three in a row.
Is this also a guarantee of Terunofuji getting a "Yusho Equivalent" that sends him up to Yokozuna? Speaking for the Sumo Association and the Yokozuna Deliberation Council is a good way to look dumb. Three straight losses would not exactly be Yokozuna level sumo, and the "Yusho Equivalent" often means either a playoff loss or jun-yusho with a big win total. He might just need one or even two more wins, which he is fighting like he will.
His last three matches are all ones he could lose. On Day 13, the Ozeki battle between Terunofuji and Shodai will be the next to last match. Terunofuji is the favorite, but Shodai's odd style of sumo can always pull the shocker. On Day 14, he gets Takayasu. Takayasu has weirdly had Terunofuji's number in the last year, although the Mongolian did get the hatakikomi win in May.
Hakuho's Day 13 and 14 are the mirror of Terunofuji's. He'll clash with Takayasu on Day 13 in a match that feels like it will go on forever in sumo terms. (Saying that might guarantee a slip and a two-second match.) If Hakuho survives that, he gets Shodai on Day 14. Hakuho has been remarkably careful this whole basho. Facing sumo's resident match lengthener and then sumo's resident wild card is probably a recipe for something interesting.
But let's just hope Hakuho and Terunofuji are tied going into senshuraku. A battle of the undefeated for the yusho would be most intriguing, but having the final match of the final day be for all the marbles is about as exciting as it gets. We are one step closer, and now we know for certain what gets us there.