Natsu 2021 Day Eight
Hoshoryu upset Asanoyama, who is looking off his sumo this basho, with an uchigake. That's an inside leg trip, and it can easily be missed. The two awkwardly locked up, and Hoshoryu moved into Asanoyama's chest. At that point, he looped his right leg around Asanoyama's left leg, and down went the Ozeki.
Match of The Day
Sekiwake 1 East Takayasu versus Maegashira 4 East Kiribayama
These two went on forever, over two minutes. That is Takayasu's kind of match, and he waited for his opening. Kiribayama probably had a better grip, but it wasn't enough to move Takayasu. Instead, Takayasu waited to change his grip, held out, and then did it more and more. Eventually, he was able to just turn Kiribayama to the side and spin him down.
Is there a yusho threat among the 7 rikishi sitting on 6 wins? None of them are rikishi who have never threatened strong records, but most would all be real surprise winners. This is especially true of the four Maegashira. Onosho, Ichinojo, Endo, Okinoumi, and Chiyotairyu are all sumotori who could be classified as men who have been impressive before. Their recent track records are much more mixed. They also won't all remain in this position. Okinoumi and Ichinojo get each other on Day Nine, while Chiyotairyu hasn't faced anyone else with just two losses right now. That will change.
That would leave Takayasu and Mitakeumi, the two half-Filipino sekitori. Takayasu was in the yusho lead for much of March, but then collapsed. It doesn't bode well for him. Mitakeumi does have two Emperor's Cups to his credit, but he also has a bit of a reputation for falling off in the second week. Ignoring past performance and looking at their Natsu performance, both would seem to be threats.
Mitakeumi just needs to win out and hope everyone else beats each other up. He has already faced Takakeisho, Terunofuji, and Takayasu. He is the one man to beat Takakeisho so far, so he did some work already. He beat Shodai on Day EIght, and one he squares off with Asanoyama he will have finished his tour of Sanyaku opponents. The way Asanoyama is performing, Mitakeumi may be a favorite. At the very least, he has the easiest strength of schedule among the serious contenders.
Takayasu will face Terunofuji on Day Nine, in what is certainly the showcase match. Takayasu has actually won their last four meetings, and holds a 12-7 career advantage. If he keeps that trend up, he will then see the rest of the Ozeki and fellow Sekiwake Takanosho. He is also probably the first candidate to see any of the surprising Maegashira who keep winning.
Then there are Terunofuji and Takakeisho. Their final three matches will almost certainly be the fellow Ozeki in some order. If they keep these leads, their matchup will be on Day 15. This also has the potential for a playoff increase, because one win difference could really matter. More importantly, their task is much more to keep pace through Days 9 from 12. That is much easier said than done.