Terunofuji and Takakeisho fight it out for the Yūshō!
With just three days of Sumo bouts left in the 2021 May basho, Ozeki rivals Terunofuji and Takakeisho get ready to contest for the right to be crowned tournament champion.
After winning 10 consecutive bouts since the outset of the basho, current favourite Terunofuji appeared in almost unbeatable form. Facing Maegashira #4 Myogiryu on day 11, Terunofuji looked set to further his lead over Takakeisho – who held a 9:2 score at the time. However, despite initially throwing Myogiryu to the ground, a mono-ii (judges conference) was called, suggesting that the basho forerunner pulled the topknot of Myogiryu as he was falling to the floor. After some careful consideration from the referees, Myogiryu was given the result by hansoku (disqualification), in what would have otherwise been yet another strong victory for Terunofuji. A controversial bout then, but Terunofuji still holds a clear advantage over his fellow Ozeki, Takakeisho, with the former proudly ending day 12 with an electrifying 11:1, after beating Maegashira #5 Onosho with yorikiri.
Hot on Terunofuji’s heels is Takakeisho. Ending day 12 with 10:2, Takakeisho appears within reach of the current basho leader, should he falter in his remaining bouts. While Takakeisho is still yet to face a fellow Ozeki fighter, his victory over Takayasu on day 11 should hold him in good stead ahead of his inevitable bout with the might of Terunofuji. However, facing the Maegashira #8 Endo on day 13 could prove tough going for the Ozeki; while Takakeisho is the clear favourite on paper (with a 7:3 head-to-head winning record against Endo), Endo’s impressive 9:3 stint in the basho thus far should give him some much needed confidence going into his bout against Takakeisho. Endo emerged as the victor in their last official bout – just four months ago in the January tournament – however, after suffering a surprising upset to Koteoko on day 12, he will need to re-group quickly if he is to take on and overcome the challenge of the mighty Takakeisho on day 13!
Lastly, some upsetting news for Asanoyama fans, as the Ozeki withdraws before his bout with Takayasu on day 12. Asanoyama purportedly exited from the event following a magazine report that alleged the Ozeki broke Japan Sumo Association coronavirus safety guidelines before the start of the tournament. Asanoyama supposedly dined out with others at an establishment providing food, drinks and entertainment in contravention of association guidelines. As a result, Asanoyama forfeited his bout to Takayasu on day 12, ending his campaign with a 7:5 record, meaning the Ozeki faces kadoban in the next basho and therefore will need to come out of the next tournament with a kachikoshi (or more wins than losses) if he is to retain his rank of Ozeki.