Terunofuji becomes Basho forerunner, with Takakeisho and Takayasu hot on his heels.
After six days of electrifying Sumo, Ozeki Terunofuji continues to display his dominance in the ring, ending day 6 as the only undefeated wrestler in the 2021 May tournament. Following his victory over the lower ranked Maegashira #5 Hoshoryu earlier on day 6, Terunofuji extended his record to a staggering 6:0, giving the Ozeki the lead as the new basho forerunner. However, day 7 poses a new threat to Terunofuji’s so far unspoilt record, with the Ozeki set to face his first Sekiwake opponent of the event, Takanosho. While oshidashi-favouring Takanosho appears in weaker form to that of Terunofuji (after a loss to Komusbi Daieisho earlier today, Takanosho was forced to settle with a 3:3 record), the Sekiwake has already proved his mettle against the Ozeki this year, finding success against Terunofuji in the January basho. Therefore, Terunofuji should not underestimate Takanosho, as the last outcome Terunofuji needs is a repeat of that unsuccessful bout just four months ago – where Terunofuji committed an unforced error to lose the bout by stepping out of the ring whilst Takanosho was still in play.
Takanosho is not the only problem that Terunofuji currently faces, as fellow Ozeki Takakeisho and Sekiwake Takayasu end their day 6 appearances just one win short of Terunofuji – the two now boasting formidable 5:1 records. Takakeisho seems in particularly strong form, extending his win streak to four consecutive victories after beating the struggling Maegashira #2 Tobizaru. Takayasum meanwhile, also managed to find some strong success of late; despite falling victim to Maegashira #1 Wakatakakage on day 4, Takayasu clinched victories over the two Komusubi fighters, Daieisho and Mitakakeumi, on days 5 and 6 respectively. Since both Takayasu and Takakeisho appear to be in great fighting form, they could be serious contenders for the yusho come the closing stages of the tournament – we are excited to see how they will get on in their forthcoming bouts!
Entering day 6 as a strong contender to basho leadership was Shodai: set to face Myogiryu – who, at the time had only just found his first victory in the event the previous day – Shodai appeared the clear favourite ahead of the fight. However, Myogiryu defied the odds to take an unexpected victory against Shodai, preventing the Ozeki from equalling Takakeisho’s records. Despite this, Shodai will need to keep his cool heading into day 7; after all, maintaining only 2 losses through to the final day could well be enough to mount a challenge for the May title.
As we near the half-way stage in the competition, efforts will surely be heightened by the wrestlers who find themselves in yusho contention. While the likes of Ozeki Asanoyama (who currently has a lesser 3:3 record) and Shodai appear to be lagging behind the current leader, Terunofuji, Takakeisho and Takayasu continue to pile on the pressure as they bid for the title. Meanwhile, tournament favourite Terunofuji will have to be on the watch for Takanosho’s oshidashi on day 7 – a defeat to the Sekiwake would equalise the Ozeki’s currently advantageous tournament record, with those of Takakeisho and Takayasu.