- Fantasy Basho
Natsu 2021 Day Four
Technically, Chiyoshoma beat Okinoumi by uwatenage, the overarm throw. What actually happened was Okinoumi was forcefully shoving him out, and in desperation Chiyoshoma reached for the back of Okinoumi's mawashi. As the were going off the basho, Chiyoshoma kept his feet from stepping out long enough for Okinoumi's hand to touch the clay outside the dohyo.
Match of The Day
Komusubi 1 East Mitakeumi versus Ozeki 2 West Terunofuji
Once these two unbeatens were scheduled for Day Four, this match was an eliminator. After Chiyotairyu, Okinoumi, Tamawashi, and Takayasu all lost, it was for the sole lead in the yusho. The tachiai looked like Mitakeumi could begin to work his brand of sumo, with a close, leveraged approach. Then, Terunofuji just grabbed him and threw him aside for a rather forceful yorikiri.
The fact Day Four ends with one undefeated rikishi is pretty remarkable. The fact it is the hulking presence of Terunofuji is also remarkable. For no rikishi does the warning "if healthy" matter more than with the returned Ozeki. Hands down, Terunofuji has been the best sumo wrestler since his return to Makuuchi in July 2020. He has won two yusho and two yusho in five basho, collecting double digit wins four times.
That fifth basho might be other rikishi's best hope. In September, Terunofuji's heavily bandaged knees did not hold up, and he left on Day 13 with an 8-4 record. He is a force on the dohyo, but he also mounts the dohyo gingerly. In any match, he is the likely favorite. Overall, his ability to stay healthy enough to perform will always be a giant question.
Injuries are not the only thing that could stop a Terunofuji yusho. His Day Five opponent is Wakatakakage, who collected a win over Sekiwake Takayasu on Day Four to go with his wins over Ozeki Shodai and Asanoyama. He could easily pull another upset. Takakeisho and Shodai have held their own, and they'll be laying in wait for their matchup against Terunofuji. We probably have 8 or 9 days before those come up at the earliest. Plenty will happen before then.
Take some of the surprises based on record from Day Four. Chiyotairyu had been cruising in the lower Maegashira so far, but Kaisei just swallowed him up. Kotonowaka grabbed on to Tamawashi, who finally could not unleash his devastating thrusting attack to its best. Then there was the odd conclusion to Okinoumi's battle with Chiyoshoma, where Okinoumi definitely had the better of the match until the finish. Anything can happen, and it usually will at some point in a basho.
The final big news from Day Four will shape the basho and serves as a warning about health. Chiyonokuni landed on the corner of the dohyo with his knee on Day Three, and he withdrew due to injury. Daieisho got a crucial free win. This will also take one potential opponent away from Ozeki. At the lower end of Makuuchi, a Juryo wrestler will face a Maegashira starting on Day Five. And all of that is just because one sekitori landed funny.