May Grand Sumo Tournament 2021: Days 1-3 Review

Terunofuji, Takayasu and Mitakeumi remain undefeated, Maegashira look promising

We’re now three days into the May basho and Terunofuji looks as strong as ever and is continuing his stellar start in the competition. Following his victory against Maegashira #2 Tobizaru with the lesser used uwatenage kimarite (overarm throw winning technique), Terunofuji extended his score to a strong 3:0, becoming the only undefeated Ozeki in the running for this May yusho. However, facing the strength of Sekiwake Mitakeumi (also on 3 wins to 0 losses) in day 4, it’s tough to predict whether Terunofuji will be able to further his promising start, replicating his 4:0 opening from his championship winning campaign in the January basho.

At first sight, Mitakeumi looks more than an even match for Terunofuji. Like the Ozeki, Mitakeumi boasts an unbeaten 3:0 record after three days in the ring. The Komusubi has already found victory against an Ozeki ranked wrestler, overcoming Takakeisho on day 2 with oshidashi (frontal push out). Despite this, Terunofuji appears to remain the favourite ahead of the bout; with Mitakeumi having failed to win against Terunofuji since their 2020 September bout, in addition to Terunofuji’s incredible form of late, the odds are clearly stacked against the Komusubi.

Following in the steps of his Ozeki and Komusubi counterparts, Takayasu also came out unscathed from day 3, after beating Maegashira #2 Meisei with oshitaoshi (frontal push down). Takayasu, who fell at the last hurdle in the January basho, will be looking to enact revenge on Terunofuji, as the former vies for his first career yusho in the Makuuchi division. The Sekiwake will have to keep his guard up though, as he faces the skill of Maegashira #1 Wakatakakage on day 4, the latter defeating the prowess of Ozeki Asanoyama earlier today with yoritaoshi

The fierce trio of top ranked competitors were not the only wrestlers to boast an undefeated record thus far in the basho, as four lower ranked Maegashira wrestlers left the arena proudly displaying their unbeaten 3:0 scores. These four fighters consisted of: Chiyotairyu (Maegashira #14), Okinoumi (Maegashira #12), Tamawashi (Maegashira #10) and Onosho (Maegashira #5). While it must be noted that the four are yet to face the superior experience of an Ozeki, Komusubi or Sekiwake fighter, the determination and willpower of the Maegashira fighters should not in any way be discredited as they set their sights on potential silverware. Just two months ago, we witnessed Aoiyama (then a Maegashira #12 wrestler) outperform expectations, ending his campaign with 11:4, taking kanto-sho (fighting spirit prize) and our admiration to boot. Whether either of the four can continue their impressive outset through to the closing stages of the tournament still remains to be seen, but as we have seen from Aoiyama in the past, anything is truly possible for the Maegashira competitors!

With multiple rikishi on 3:0 records as of the close of play on day 3, the 2021 May basho looks set to provide the world of sumo with another thrilling tournament. We hope you enjoy the wonderful sumo action and join us again on day 6, for the 2nd installment of our tournament review series!

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