2021 January Basho – Days 1-3: Review

After three thrilling days of exciting sumo bouts and in keeping with the excellent 2020 season, the 2021 January event has got off to a suitably unpredictable start!

With the top two Yokozuna wrestlers (Hakuho and Kakuryu) having withdrawn from the
tournament prior to its start, Sumo fans across the world would have
been forgiven for predicting that one of the three Ozeki rikishi would lead the results list going into the opening few days. However, January’s top ranked wrestlers have so-far been beaten to the top spot after just three short days by their lower-ranked Maegashira rivals.

One of the new favourites for the Yūshō is none other than Daieisho, a Maegashira #1
ranked competitor with a current 3:0 win-to-loss ratio. Having achieved a career-high rank of Sekiwake, Daieisho has proved himself to be a fearless fighter on numerous occasions over the years: having collected a number of kinboshi gold stars and outstanding performance awards from previous tournaments. It is then perhaps not so much of a surprise to see the 27-year-old perform so well in the January event.

The biggest surprise in the 2021 January Sumo Tournament has without-a-doubt been the Maegashira #16 wrestler, Akiseyama. With a perfect record so far in the event, Akiseyama now stands in stark contrast to the top Ozeki Takakeisho – who was hopeful for Yokozuna promotion prior to the commencement of this basho, but is now suffering from a 0:3 record! Nevertheless, the Maegashira #16 rikishi will have his work cut-out for him if he wants to aim for the title; there are three further competitors with a perfect record as of the end of play on Day 3: Meisei, Midorifuji and Onosho.

Meisei (Maegashira #7), is a tough nut to crack even for the best of fighters. Most commonly using the oshidashi (‘frontal push-out’) technique to overcome his opponents, avid Sumo fans should keep a keen eye on the 25-year-old as the tournament progresses – he could be one of the top contenders for the title!

Making his Makuuchi debut, Midorifuji (Maegashira #14) will be highly motivated to unleash his best Sumo throughout the event, in an effort to make his claim for the upper echelons of Maegashira. Midorifuji, is a competent wrestler whom the other Yūshō contenders will have to watch-out for!

Onosho (Maegashira #3) is yet another rikishi with a promising basho ahead of him – having scored a perfect 3-0 record after his opening bouts. It was not long ago that Onosho’s Sumo abilities were called into question, after suffering an astonishing 13 losses and just 2 wins back in July 2020. However, his fighting spirit appears to have been reinvigorated in 2021, by firmly defeating three of the best in his opening bouts: Takayasu (Komusubi), Terunofuji (Sekiwake) and Takakeisho (Ozeki).

With a small handful of fierce-looking fighters taking centre stage since the offset of the 2021 January Sumo Tournament, fans of Sumo will be wondering which of the competitors will be able to continue their win-streaks. We will just have to wait and see!

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