Welcome back to MyDohyo for the third in our series of five tournament review articles! Today we shall take a look at the action from days 7 up until the end of play on day 9, providing our highlights in addition to an update on the yusho title contention race.
Sore consolation for Make-Koshi Enho
This has certainly been a tournament to forget for the young Maegashira #11: Enho currently sits with a tournament record of 1 win and 8 losses – make-koshi – and his loss of Makuuchi (top division of professional sumo) training partners in Ishiura (demoted to Juryo #3) and Hakuho (absent through injury) appears to have had a devastating impact on the youngster’s form.
After 8 winless days, Enho finally picked up his first win on Day 9 against Maegashira #8 Aoiyama (3-6) – an opponent whom he has defeated 3 out of the last 4 times they have fought. This will surely do little to console Enho, however, does serve as an opportunity to capitalise on his success against Aoiyama and bring some positive form into his Day 10 bout against Chiyotairyu!
Upsets for Yusho contenders!
In a seemingly startling turn of events, the top three rikishi vying for the November yusho race have all dropped bouts since the last tournament review: Takakeisho suffered a defeat to Maegashira #4, Tobizaru, on Day 9 (whose tournament record now tallies at: 3-6). Terunofuji has dropped two bouts since the last review, losing to both Maegashira #2 Daieisho (6-3) and Komusubi Takayasu (5-4) on days 8 and 9 respectively. Chiyonokuni – another of our prospective title contenders – has also fallen into a spell of poor form, losing on Days 7 and 8 to Maegashira #13 Hoshoryu (one of the few rikishi we stated to “keep an eye on!” in the first review) and Maegashira #7 Endo.
What do Shimanoumi, Takarafuji and Takakeisho all have in common?
When looking at rankings alone, one would think Shimanoumi, Takarafuji and Takakeisho are worlds apart, however, a surprising run of excellent performances – along with the dropped bout from Takakeisho – have put all these men on 8 wins and 1 loss in November.
Takakeisho’s performances and rank speak for themselves, however, neither of those factors mattered to Tobizaru (whose ringname translates to English as “flying monkey“) in his bout on Day 9, where he threw the great Ozeki to the floor to win by Hatakikomi (slap down).
Takarafuji is one we would consider a “steady” wrestler, whose tournament records mostly tend towards the make-koshi and kachi-koshi (7-8 or 8-7) borderline. His last five tournament records are: November 2019 (6-9), January 2020 (7-8), March 2020 (9-6), July 2020 (5-10), September 2020 (7-8). It is somewhat of a surprise to see the Maegashira #6 doing so well in November – so much so that we hadn’t assessed his yusho contention challenge in any of our reviews until now!
In another surprise, Shimanoumi – currently the lowest ranked rikishi at Maegashira #17 – has defeated all his opponents apart from fan-favourite, Ichinojo and is currently also on 8 wins and 1 loss. To put this into appropriate context, he appears to be emulating the stunning sumo seen from Tokushoryu in January and Terunofuji in July: two tournaments which saw Maegashira #17 rikishi fight their way to win the yusho. Is Shimanoumi set to repeat history and take this November basho?
This has certainly been an eventful 3 Days of sumo action, with rikishi performing better and worse than expected since the last review. Now, at the stage where make-koshi and kachi-koshi have been awarded, the yusho race is becoming clearer:
As it stands, the following 3 rikishi are at the very top of the scoreboard, with 8 wins and 1 loss apiece:
- Ozeki, Takakeisho.
- Maegashira #6, Takarafuji.
- Maegashira #17, Shimanoumi.
Following closely behind are 3 rikishi with 7 wins and 2 losses:
- Komusubi, Terunofuji.
- Maegashira #10, Ryuden.
- Maegashira #14, Chiyonokuni.
Any of these 6 wrestlers are in with a chance of winning this yusho, however, 2020 dictates that the most likely winner of this tournament will be Shimanoumi – after all, two Maegashira #17 rikishi have won in 2020 so far!
Day 10 will, in a sense, affirm whether the lowest ranked wrestler in the top division has what it takes to go on and win the competition outright since he shall be up against Chiyonokuni (7-2) – one of the highest scoring rikishi this tournament. As for Takarafuji and Takakeisho, their Day 10 bouts are a little more straightforward, facing: Hokutofuji (5-4) and Myogiryu (3-6) respectively. It is too early to call all the shots yet – with 6 more days of play ahead, anything could happen (injuries, etc.) – however, if Shimanoumi takes the victory against Chiyonokuni on Day 10, he sits as our firm favourite to win the basho and become the third Maegashira #17 of 2020 to win!