Natsu 2021 Day Eleven
Hansoku. Foul, essentially. This is how Myogiryu gave Terunofuji his first loss. Basically, Terunofuji was busy throwing Myogiryu over, Terunofuji ended up grabbing Myogiryu's hair. That is not allowed, and is an automatic loss for the yusho leader.
Match of The Day
Sekiwake 1 East Takayasu versus Ozeki 1 West Takakeisho
Styles make matchups, and this was a clash of styles on paper. Except that Takayasu weirdly decided to adopt Takakeisho's style on the dohyo. While Takayasu did display an impressive quick, Aoiyama-ish tsuppari, that's exactly the match Takakeisho wanted. The Ozeki was able to give one hard shove to Takayasu for the victory.
Well, that certainly makes a difference. One stray hair pull, as Terunofuji basically had the match won, makes Terunofuji's lead just one win. That's better than falling back to even with other rikishi, but things are much closer. Terunofuji still looks impressive apart from the two seconds his fingers went through Myogiryu's hair. No matter how it happens, Terunofuji is now a slip up away from losing his lead.
Takakeisho keeping pace is maybe the most important part of Day Eleven. His eventual matchup with Terunofuji will be more impactful if just a win separates the two Ozeki. He also unleashed his trademark sumo for a simple win, continuing to cruise. Terunofuji worked hard and had a frustrating loss. As we reach the close of the basho, this kind of accumulated effort begins to matter.
There are other storylines that could change matters for the top men. Endo also kept pace by handling Chiyotairyu on Day Eleven. He, too, is just one win behind, and he could get a random match against a top rikishi still. Or he could lose to Kotoeko on Day Twelve, making his chances for the yusho incredibly slim. Ichinojo and Okinoumi aren't necessarily out of it, either. With two matches to make up, they've got a chance to play a role if they win out. This is especially true because Ichinojo will face Takakeisho on Day Twelve.
The other key aspect of the basho's final days is that the only two Sanyaku wrestlers who have secured a kachi-koshi or a make-koshi are Terunofuji and Takakeisho. Asanoyama, Takayasu, and Mitakeumi are all sitting on 7 wins, and need one more win to secure a valuable kachi-koshi. Takanosho and Daieisho are sitting at 7 losses, and they will be desperately trying to avoid an 8th loss and demotion from Sanyaku.
Then there is Shodai. He came into Natsu kadoban, meaning he needs 8 wins to keep his Ozeki rank after failing to get a winning record in March. Currently, he is 6-5, with performances that seem like barely scratching by is deserved. Yet Shodai is also the king of bouncing back from awkward positions. If any rikishi can win while looking bad, it's him, and no one besides the yusho contenders needs two wins more.
Shodai's biggest problem is that his final four matches are likely Sekiwake Takanosho (his scheduled opponent on Day Twelve), followed by his fellow three Ozeki. He definitely could win all of those matches, and he might be fighting for 8 wins more than the most wins he can. Apart from Shodai's Ozeki status, he might also be the biggest roadblock for Terunofuji and Takakeisho. He has a losing record against both, but he has won his last three matches against Takakeisho. The key thing is anything can happen on any day.