Natsu 2021 Day Three
It was a double kotenage day in Makuuchi, as both Kotonowaka and Tamawashi pulled out the arm bar throw. Kotonowaka did the sideways approach to assist Chiyoshoma out. Tamawashi just turned Endo around to get the victory.
Match of The Day
Ozeki 1 East Asanoyama versus Maegashira 1 East Wakatakakage
Everyone in sumo knows Asanoyama wants his left hand on the mawashi, and is difficult to beat when he gets his grip. Wakatakakage took this to an extreme by launching a quick henka to turn around and be on Asanoyama's right side. Despite that, Asanoyama still worked to get an advantage with a grip, although he didn't get his left hand set. Wakatakakage just never gave up and kept moving and shifting. Eventually, he just launched himself into Asanoyama for the win.
From a visual standpoint, Terunofuji continues to look like the favorite. He rather powerfully turned aside an active Tobizaru on Day Three. Meanwhile, the other three Ozeki had to work much harder. Shodai was stood up by Daieisho and then won by dancing on the tawara. Takakeisho never powerfully knocked back Hokutofuji, but won by continuing his shoving attack. Asanoyama lost to Wakatakakage.
Three days isn't really a good way to judge any rikishi, really, but it's all we have so far in May. A rikishi's record on Day Three is important. 0-3 does take someone out of the yusho race, although any winless rikishi has bigger issues. 3-0 is a decent platform to kachi-koshi at least, while possibly portending something better. Yet streaks happen every basho, and any rikishi competing could easily pull of 5 or 6 wins in a row. 5 or 6 losses in a row are not uncommon either.
The eye catching 3-0 rikishi right now are Takayasu and Mitakeumi. Both men have become somewhat notorious for second week collapses, but they are talented veterans who know what they are doing most days. The Sanyaku schedule is also familiar. They could keep the undefeated streak going well into the second week. Other undefeated rikishi like Onosho, Tamawashi, Okinoumi, and Chiyotairyu are probably doing well because of their lower-than-usual-for-them rank.
The basic fact of sumo, and why a Basho works, is that it is a zero sum game. In each match, one rikishi will win and one will lose. Sometimes two struggling rikishi see each other, and the fact someone has to win is obvious. (Shimanoumi and Kagayaki provided this example on Day Three.) The other pattern is more common and exciting. A battle of the titans hasn't quite happened yet, but the fact it will happen is almost a guarantee.
The Ozeki, Sekiwake, and Komusubi must face each other, as well as the top Maegashira. Aoiyama is out, while Chiyonokuni may have been injured on Day Three. That means undefeated Maegashira 5 Onosho might be able to play spoiler. Even someone like Hokutofuji, who is winless but has given three good fights, could pull an upset. The scene setting is going well after three days, maybe especially because of some early upsets.