2021 January Basho – Days 9-12: Review

Shodai levels with Daieisho as the January basho approaches its final day

As the 12th day of the 2021 January Basho has now concluded, it’s fair to say that the first Sumo event of the year has been nothing short of a thrilling spectacle! Day 11 marked a pinnacle point in the basho for fans of the Ozeki ranked wrestler, Shodai. After having trailed behind Daieisho since the initial rounds of the tournament, 29 year-old Shodai of the Tokitsukaze Stable, managed to close the sizeable gap between him and the Maegashira #1 fighter, as they both concluded Day 12 with impressive 10:2 win records.

With Shodai and Daieisho clearly leading the charge for the yūshō, other rikishi who previously seemed to be in with a chance of challenging for the title, find themselves falling behind the duo of championship contenders.

Despite his slow start to the event, Ozeki Asanoyama had been producing some fine wins in recent days. Due to this, Asanoyama was becoming the biggest threat to Daieisho and Shodai’s leadership in the event. However, after suffering a tough defeat to Terunofuji of Sekiwake rank, it seems that Asanoyama will have to unleash a miracle if he wants to challenge for the yūshō.

Although it is tough to predict who will become the eventual victor at the 2021 January event, Sumo enthusiasts may now have their bets placed on the experienced Ozeki Shodai, who has been looking in incredible form these last three days. Not only does his high ranking display his level of expertise as a professional Sumo wrestler, but his additional years of experience he has over his younger counterpart Daieisho will also give him an edge over the Maegashira #1 title hopeful.

In contrast to Daieisho’s lacking results over the last few days, Shodai has displayed utter dominance in his recent bouts; the Ozeki competitor has now secured four consecutive wins since his last defeat (Mitakeumi of the Komusabi rank, Day 8). Such a winning streak can only help to bolster Shodai’s confidence and in turn, damage Daieisho’s prospects of a perfect end to the basho. On the other hand, Daieisho’s spectacular start to the competition proves that the Maegashira wrestler is more than capable of claiming the first title of 2021; after having destroyed all-three of the top participating Ozeki competitors – including Shodai – in his initial bouts, any head-to-head competitive advantage between the two challengers lay with Daieisho.

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