Natsu 2021 Day Six
Okinoumi's win over Terutsuyoshi was officially credited as abisetaoshi, the backward force down. What actually happened was Terutsuyoshi attempted the ipponzeoi, or one-armed shoulder throw. Okinoumi just grabbed a sideways Terutsuyoshi and forced him down and out.
Match of The Day
Sekiwake 1 East Takayasu versus Komusubi 1 East Mitakeumi
This one was a mini-eliminator, with only one rikishi staying on one win, and they fought like it. Mitakeumi got the slightly better position after the tachiai, but not in a way that overwhelmed Takayasu. Instead, he slowly pushed him backwards, until Takayasu began his dance around the tawara. Mitakeumi was just unable to beat the former Ozeki, who eventually worked his way to enough of an advantage for a dramatic uwatenage.
The logic of the sumo basho showed itself on Day Six. Terunofuji is still the sole leader, but just two rikishi stand one loss behind him. Takayasu beat Mitakeumi in a battle of one-loss Sanyaku men. Tamawashi, Endo, and Hidenoumi all lost matches they should have won, but weren't wild upsets. Those sorts of results will happen, and should be expected in general during any basho. It was a little odd to get them all on one day, but the individual results are unsurprising.
Shodai's loss to Myogiryu is different. Shodai is an Ozeki who was in the yusho arasoi. Myogiryu is a fading veteran who has been struggling. Myogiryu just dominated Shodai. Arguably, it wasn't the worst performance by an Ozeki. Shodai lost the tachiai. Asanoyama couldn't find a way to beat a less than stellar Kiribayama, despite the fact Kiribayama was giving him plenty of openings. Eventually, Kiribayama forced Asanoyama to the clay.
Both Shodai and Asanoyama revealed their typical weaknesses, with Shodai losing a tachiai and Asanoyama never finding his favored left hand. Arguably, that places a serious cap on both men, and makes them less of a threat to challenge the three mean at the top of the leaderboard. They will have these matches, and there is an obvious way to attack them right now.
So is it really just a three man race? Takayasu had the basho in his hand two months ago, and he faltered. Yet he also beat Terunofuji during March, and he has won 9 of their last 10 matchups dating back to 2016. At just one win back, that looms large. He is an absolute threat. Takayasu is still the best rikishi not to win a yusho, and that's an honorific anyone would want to shed.
Takakeisho is the bigger threat in many ways. He is an Ozeki, plus they had a Day 15 bout followed by a playoff in November. They split those, with Terunofuji winning the regulation match and Takakeisho winning the yusho decider. They are also a clash of styles, which provides excitement. Just don't expect to see it anytime soon. Right now, they are probably penciled in for Day 15's final match. The Sumo Association would certainly like an Ozeki battle for the Emperor's Cup for the senshuraku musubi no ichiban.
Yet plenty still has to happen over the next eight days before we get there. The top men have the goal they always do, just win.