Natsu 2021 Day Seven
10 rikishi tied with 5 wins
Chiyoshoma didn't just henka Akua, but sidestepped and let him go forward with a full ole. This might be in future videos explaining the henka. He got enough of a hand on him to call it uwatenage, but that's generous.
Match of The Day
Maegashira 5 West Onosho versus Maegashira 2 East Tobizaru
A match so nice, they did it twice. At first, Tobizaru seemed to have the upper hand, because this was a grappling match rather than a shoving match. Onosho still kept up his end of the bargain and unleashed a headlock throw. The problem for him there was it caused them to land on the clay at the same time. Torinaoshi was called, and they did it again. Second time around, Onosho still didn't have his preferred shoving match. Yet Tobizaru gave him an opening, which Onosho took in style and shoved Tobizaru onto the shimpan.
The result of the day was easily Hokutofuji's upset of Takayasu. Takayasu has been in the yusho race, while Hokutofuji came in winless. After Takayasu got the upper hand at the tachiai, all he did was back Hokutofuji up slowly. Without a strong grip or powerful forward momentum, Hokutofuji just slightly readjusted and a small hit and shift sent Takayasu out. Unimpressive sumo, but it makes a huge difference.
Takakeisho and Terunofuji both kept pace. Takakeisho sniffed out Hoshoryu's gambit of getting a sideways grip and won easily with a slap down. Terunofuji never really got a grip on Takanosho, but that was enough to disrupt whatever Takanosho was doing for a slap down win. Takakeisho remains one win behind Terunofuji. Those two are still on a collision path at some point, more and more likely on the final day.
Underneath the two leaders, chaos is reigning. A full ten rikishi are two wins behind Terunofuji, and with eight more matches they cannot be counted out. This is especially true of the Sanyaku men in that pack, Shodai, Takayasu, and Mitakeumi. Two wins is easy to overcome at this stage, and they get to play spoiler. Shodai especially could be looming, because he will probably face Takakeisho and Terunofuji in some order on Days 13 and 14 if they all keep winning. He is also looking more assured in his sumo as the basho goes on.
The other 7 10 win rikishi are all veterans operating at a level they haven't in a while, but isn't too surprising. They will likely start seeing each other over the next few days, providing some eliminator matches at a lower level. That's not just a way to make fewer contenders. A pile of rikishi with strong records doesn't provide the threat to the top contenders. One rikishi who has emerged does, and the schedulers will want to identify that rikishi sooner than later.
The basho is about to hit its midway point, but a narrative is already emerging. That doesn't guarantee it will be the same narrative of the basho by the end of the tournament. We have a setup for the second week, that's all.