May Grand Sumo Tournament 2021: Days 7-9 Review

The May basho has already reached its half-way mark and the leading wrestler, Ozeki Terunofuji, remains unbeaten at the end of day 9, boasting a staggering 9:0 record. Terunofuji’s stellar start to the competition has given him a significant advantage over joint second place and fellow Ozeki rival, Takakeisho, who concluded the day with a respectable, albeit lesser, 7:2 score. Set to face the lower ranked Maegashira #4 Kiribayama on day 10, Terunofuji looks poised to further extend his incredible win record and advantage as chief yūshō candidate.

As for Takakeisho, despite a tough loss to Komusubi Daieisho on day 9, the Ozeki has looked in good shape throughout the event! While suffering an early loss to Daieisho’s fellow Komusubi – Mitakeumi – on day 2, Takakeisho went on to win 6 consecutive victories, finding wins against the likes of Meisei (Maegashira #2) and Hoshoryu (Maegashira #5), who have been in good form of late. He also took a victory over the impressive Maegashira #1 Wakatakakage on day 1. Although Terunofuji appears in unbeatable form, we shouldn’t count Ozeki Takakeisho out of yūshō contention – the two-time Makuuchi division winner will be waiting in the wings should Terunofuji fall victim to a defeat over the coming days.

Mitakeumi has also found some considerable success in the basho thus far. Although the Komusubi was overcome by the prowess of Terunofuji and Sekiwake Takayasu, Mitakeumi has managed to defeat some of the strongest fighters in the division over the last 9 days. These include the current favourite title contender Takakeisho and his Ozeki rival, Shodai, Sekiwake Takanosho, Daieisho, as well as Wakatakakage! As a result, Mitakeumi appears to be on top form and standing in good stead heading into the latter stages of the event. That being said, Mitakuemi will face the skill of Ozeki Asanoyama on Day 10; if the Komusubi can find victory over the Ozeki, he will place himself in a solid position for contending for the yūshō alongside Takakeisho.

The final wrestlers to end day 9 with a strong 7:2 score, were the three Maegashira fighters: Chiyotairyu (Maegashira #14), Endo (Maegashira #8) and Ichinojo (Maegashira #6). While Endo looks in fine form – finding victory over Ichinojo on day 6 with oshidashi – it is Chiyotairyu who has perhaps been the most surprising competitor in the May basho. Being one of the lowest ranked Makuuchi Division wrestlers, Chiyotairyu has outperformed his Maegashira #14 rank, and even managed to win against the higher ranked Maegashira #9 Kagayaki on day 8 with tsukiotoshi. Chiyotairyu will face Maegashira #8 Tsurugisho on day 10, while Endo will face Maegashira #11 Kotonowaka, and Ichinojo will battle with Maegashira #11 Chiyoshoma.

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