- Fantasy Basho
Natsu 2021 Day Thirteen
Uwatenage. If only because Hoshoryu pulled off a beautiful one against Takanosho.
Match of The Day
Maegashira 8 West Endo versus Ozeki 1 West Takakeisho
Takakeisho has fought relatively well for Natsu, but he's looked about 85%. 100% Takakeisho would have needed two thrusts to beat Endo after the tachiai in this match. Instead, he had to regroup, and Endo did basically a mid-match henka. The sideways step by Endo just made Takakeisho go out and down.
It is not over, but it's real close. Endo's victory over Takakeisho made both men 10-3, while Terunofuji muscled out Ichinojo. (Which takes some real muscle.) In order for Takakeisho and Endo to win, they need to win both of their remaining matches while Terunofuji loses both of his remaining matches. Day Fifteen will either be really exciting or entirely pro-forma.
The good news is that Takakeisho and Endo don't just have to cross their fingers and hope everything works out. Endo will face Terunofuji on Day Fourteen. Takakeisho almost certainly gets Terunofuji on Day Fifteen. If Endo and Takakeisho win out, Terunofuji will lose his last two. That results in a three-man playoff, which is always fun, and provides an extra level of drama to Day Fifteen.
Terunofuji's performance this basho would suggest that's unlikely. His only loss was to Myogiryu, and that only happened because he got his hand tangled in Myogiryu's top knot as the match was essentially over. Terunofuji has not had a match where he even looked to be in serious trouble. His heavily-bandaged knees should still be a concern, but his immense power and the way he moves forward make it not matter. He is easily the best rikishi mounting the dohyo right now.
That doesn't mean his second consecutive yusho is guaranteed. Endo is an odd rikishi. He often appears to overthink a match and try one too many things. Yet he can do that because he has the ability to do many things. He'll win grappling or shoving. He'll take multiple grips. He can readjust after the tachiai. That makes him a difficult matchup at all times, and he is on his sumo this tournament. He could certainly beat Terunofuji.
Takakeisho can absolutely beat Terunofuji. Those two have traded wins recently, with the matchup seemingly determined by whose type of match it is. Terunofuji will want to grab hold of Takakeisho. Takakeisho will want to get into a shoving match. That promises to be a great conclusion to Day Fifteen if Takakeisho beats Shodai and Endo beats Terunofuji on Day Fourteen. And then it might not be the actual conclusion.