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My-Dohyo on Social Media!

My-Dohyo is now on Social Media!

It goes without saying that 2020 has been a tough year for all sumo-loving fans around the world. However, the strength of the sumo world has by no means been broken – on the contrary, it is growing stronger: fans were allowed to attend live sumo in September for the first time since March in a limited capacity, with spectatorship expanded for the spectacular season finale at half capacity in November.

This season has provided a mixed bag of emotions, with the cancellation of the April tournament and the tragic death of sandanme rikishi Shobushi, after contracting the novel coronavirus in May. Conversely, strong performances from Maegashira #17 wrestlers Tokushoryu and Terunofuji to win the January and July tournaments respectively, set the tone for the class of sumo to expect from the 2020 season. Later victories from Shodai and Takakeisho promoted the former to Ozeki and provided a solid platform for the latter to seek Yokozuna promotion at the start of next season.

As a result of the pandemic struggles that have impacted the entire sporting-world, social media has been a great way for sumo fans to continue sharing their support and engaging with professional sumo. Therefore, it is our pleasure to announce that My-Dohyo is now available on Social Media platforms!

As a My-Dohyo follower on Instagram and Twitter, you will be able to see the latest and greatest news from the world of sumo, engage with the My-Dohyo social media family, as well as having the opportunity to share your love of sumo with all of your social media friends.

With the 2021 season of sumo wrestling starting in January, there is no better time than the present to become part of the My-Dohyo social media family – you really don’t want to miss the sumo-fun!

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We wish you a very (Sumo) Christmas and New Year!

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July 2021 Grand Sumo Tournament: Days 10-12 Reflection.

Basho leaders get set for decisive battle, Maegashira double digit finishes inbound!

The July Basho is set to offer a dramatic ending, as the two tournament forerunners,
Yokozuna Hakuho and Ozeki Terunofuji, get ready to battle it out for the Emperor’s Cup. The
illustrious duo enter Day 13 with perfect 12:0 winning records.

Reaching Day 13 without even so much as a blemish, Yokozuna Hakuho looks ready not only to smash his competition objective (completing a full basho, something he hasn’t done since March last year), but also passing yet another milestone in claiming his 45th Makuuchi division title. Over the last 12 days, fans have witnessed the overwhelming skill and prestige of Hakuho; from comfortable and quick victories, to slower, more patient bouts, Sumo’s most decorated wrestler has been in breath-taking form! Hakuho will face Sekiwake Takayasu on Day 13 in what looks set to be a tough bout, however, Hakuho has the historical advantage over Takayasu with a 18:2 head-to-head winning record (19:2 if including Hakuho’s fusen-sho victory by default over Takayasu in July 2019), so one can reasonably presume that the Yokozuna will come out of the bout with his perfect record intact!

Ozeki Terunofuji has also been exceedingly impressive throughout the basho. Although fans have rather acclimatised to seeing Terunofuji hit double digit scores and adding titles to his belt in recent tournaments, the now Ozeki hasn’t achieved such a spotless start to a professional Sumo competition since he was in Juryo division, when he became Juryo division champion in January 2020. Fellow Ozeki Shodai is Terunofuji’s opponent on Day 13, with the former desperately searching for his kachi-koshi, sitting on just a 6:5 score. Clearly Shodai can’t let his guard up against an Ozeki, but considering Shodai’s form, it seems that Terunofuji’s main concern lies in competing with Yokozuna Hakuho on the final day of proceedings.

While Hakuho and Terunofuji have rightfully been in the Sumo headlines of late, two
Maegashira fighters, Kotonowaka (Maegashira #11) and Tamawashi (Maegashira #10), also
deserve some spotlight; while the duo cannot challenge the favourites for the yūshō, they
currently sit in joint second position, after having successfully ended Day 12 with
spectacular 9:3 scores.

Kotonowaka seems to be having the Basho of his Makuuchi career; much like Terunofuji,
Kotonowaka hasn’t achieved such an incredible run since he was in the Juryo division.
Despite the rather frustrating loss to Maegashira #9 Shimanoumi on Day 11 (which would
have seen Kotonowaka just two bouts behind Hakuho and Terunofuji), the Chiba-born
wrestler has looked in strong form, surpassing kachi-koshi in just 10 days, after beating
Makuuchi newbie, Ichiyamamoto. After a victory on Day 12 over Maegashira #11 Kaisei,
Kotonowaka will face Chiyoshoma on Day 13; if the former manages to claim yet another
positive result, he will find his second double digit finish since the start of the year!

As for Tamawashi, the Maegashira #10 fighter has already succeeded in claiming his first kachi-koshi since 2020’s July event. Indeed, it seems that Tamawashi could even surpass his 10:5 result from last year’s basho, being currently placed on a formidable 9:3 record. Tamawashi faces Maegashira #8 Takarafuji on Day 13, which should be a pulsating bout, with the latter just trailing behind with an 8:4 score line.

July 2021 Grand Sumo Tournmanet: Days 7-9 Reflection

Hakuho and Terunofuji pull ahead, Kotonowaka and Ichiyamoto behind by two

Hakuho extended his spotless score-line to 9:0 on Day 9, claiming a comfortable victory over Maegashira #4 Chiyotairyu with a yorikiri (frontal force out) winning technique. While a successful bout for the Yokozuna against the struggling Chiyotairyu was to be expected (the Maegashira falling to a 2:7 record after the loss), the relative ease with which Hakuho has defeated his opponents throughout the event so far is surprising given that its his first basho back in the ring . The yūshō favourite, Hakuho, appears to be eying up his 45th career title, then, but he still has work to do; the Yokozuna will face Maegashira #5 Okinoumi, who holds a respectable 5:4 record after a loss to Ozeki Terunofuji on Day 9.

Despite the seemingly unfaltering prowess of Hakuho, four-time Makuuchi Division
champion Terunofuji continues to impress and matches his Yokozuna rival’s spectacular score of 9:0. Like Hakuho, Terunofuji is still yet to face a rival from the Sekiwake and Ozeki ranks and so he will have to keep his guard-up as he enters the final stages of the tournament. Having passed the half-way mark, it remains to be seen whether Terunofuji is able to claim the Emperor’s Cup and overcome the legendary Hakuho, thus furthering his basho success to three Division titles in a row.

While Hakuho and Terunofuji’s Ozeki, Sekiwake and Komusubi counterparts have struggled to keep up with their breathtaking efforts, two unlikely Maegashira competitors, Kotonowaka (Maegashira #11) and Ichiyamamoto (Maegashira #17) have shown that high rankings are not everything when it comes to predicting Sumo results. The two have already exceeded expectations, ending Day 9 with strong 7:2 scores.

After just nine days of fighting, Kotonowaka has already equalled his 7-8 result from the
May basho. Unable to achieve kachikoshi two months prior, Kotonowaka now looks set to
surpass the all-important 8-win milestone that aids promotion. In fact, Kotonowaka would
have already attained kachikoshi, if not for the mono-ii reversal in his bout versus Chiyonoo
on Day 8, seeing his rival Maegashira fighter take the win. Catching up to Hakuho and
Terunofuji, though, will be no easy feat, especially if Kotonowaka wishes to challenge the
pack leaders for the yūshō ; having already suffered two defeats, it seems unlikely
Kotonowaka can successfully threaten the leading Yokozuna and Ozeki fighters. That being
said, all things are possible; this is Sumo!

Facing off with Kotonowaka on Day 9 is Ichiyamamoto. Currently equalling Kotonowaka whilst also being the lowest ranked wrestler in Makuuchi (Maegashira #17), Ichiyamamoto is currently making his debut in the highest division of Sumo and has astounded us with his spectacular beginning to the basho. Out of his seven victories, Ichiyamamoto’s biggest upset has been in overcoming Maegashira #11 Kaisei, however, Ichyamamoto has found additional successes over Chiyomaru (Maegashira #13), Daiamami (Maegashira #14) and Tokushoryu (Maegashira #15). Can Ichiyamamoto defeat yet another Maegashira #11 wrestler? Bring on Day 10!

July 2021 Grand Sumo Tournament: Days 4-6 Reflection.

Yokozuna Hakuho and Ozeki Terunofuji remain undefeated: Kotonowaka trails by one.

After six days of exciting Sumo, Ozeki Terunofuji and Yokozuna Hakuho continue to
dominate, clearing Day 6 without a single loss on their tallies. The pair of fighters currently sit alone at the top of the tournament leaderboard, however, a strong start sees Maegashira #11 Kotonowaka into second place, sporting a 5:1 win record thus far into the event.

With Hakuho returning from injury to participate in his first real event since winning the
2020 March tournament, Terunofuji will have his work cut-out if he’s to successfully
challenge the 44 time Makuuchi Division champion this month. That being said, with the
year that Terunofuji has been having (looking for his third consecutive title if he can claim the July Yusho), in addition to his strong 6:0 start in the event, if anyone has the mettle to upset Yokozuna Hakuho, it’s Ozeki Terunofuji.

As for Hakuho, the Yokozuna seems to be in true winning form, defeating Hokutofuji on Day 6 to level with his Ozeki rival, Terunofuji. Already having defeated such strong rikishi as: Komusubi Meisei and the two Maegashira #2 competitors Ichinojo and Takanosho, Hakuho appears to be unstoppable in the ring. Fans of the Yokozuna can only be delighted with his stellar start; with Hakuho in risk of retirement from professional fighting due to his lack of consistent participation in the Makuuchi Division, fans should be ecstatic with his recent results. Boasting perfect bouts so far, Hakuho looks far from losing his topknot!

Hot on the heels of the two prestigious fighters, is Maegashira #11 Kotonowaka. Despite the sizeable divide in rank, Kotonowaka has managed to become the sole external rival to the two top rikishi, displaying a spectacular 5:1 scoreline. Finding victories over Maegashira #15 Tokushoryu and #12 Kagayaki, Kotonowaka has looked fierce since the outset. However, when facing off against Maegashira #10 Tamawashi on Day 6, Kotonowaka was overcome by Tamawashi’s okuridashi (rear push out) technique. While Kotonowaka is currently placed at second in the leaderboard after Day 6 despite the defeat, having failed to overcome a competitor just one rank above him might paint a less successful finish to his stint in the event, as he prepares to face the stronger ranks towards the end of the tournament.

While Terunofuji is the only Ozeki that currently looks capable of overcoming the might of Hakuho – Takakeisho having retired with injury and Shodai behind at 3:3 – one member of the Sekiwake rank, Mitakeumi, has managed to stay within two bouts of the forerunners, sitting on a respectable score of 4:2. In fact, if not for a loss on Day 6 to the skill of Komusubi Meisei, Mitakeumi could have joined Kotonowaka in shared second position, pursuing Terunofuji and Hakuho. Knowing this, Mitakeumi will surely be looking to enact his revenge on Day 7; facing off against a struggling Daieisho, who has managed to win just one win in thus far, Mitakeumi should be preparing to reverse his luck from Day 6, in order to march after the tournament favourites, Hakuho and Terunofuji.

July 2021 Grand Sumo Tournament: Days 1-3 Reflection.

Yokozuna Hakuho is back with a blast!

Sumo’s most decorated wrestler, Yokozuna Hakuho, who has won 44 career Makuuchi
Division titles, began his campaign in the July event in a truly dominant fashion. Despite returning from injury – the Mongolian-born wrestler was forced to undergo endoscopic surgery on his knee after pulling out from the May competition – Hakuho managed to find three strong victories over Komusubi Meisei and the two Maegashira #1 competitors, Daieisho and Endo. As a result, the Yokozuna ended Day 3 of proceedings with a perfect 3:0 record, looking to extend his unspoilt score as he faces Maegashira #2 Takanosho on Day 4.

Equalling Hakuho’s impressive start is none other than Ozeki Terunofuji: having already won two Makuuchi Division titles this year, it comes as little surprise to see Terunofuji emerge unscathed after the first three days of wrestling in the ring. Wins over the exciting Komusubi Wakatakakage and Takanosho (Hakuho’s opponent on Day 4), saw Terunofuji to an emphatic start the tournament. While Terunofuji fans will be pleased with the Ozeki’s current form, they will have to wait patiently to see whether he can continue his pursuit for his third consecutive title, especially with Hakuho once again back in the running for yet another Championship title.

Day 3 offered dissapointing news for Ozeki Takakeisho fans. In his short bout versus Ichinojo, Takakeisho appeared to completely lose control, being pushed out of the ring without any resistance. Terrifyingly, Takakeisho stayed down, unable to move; he subsequently diagnosed with a reported neck injury that looked in need of immediate attention. As a result, the Ozeki was forced to withdraw from the July tournament on Day 3, giving Meisei a win by fusen. Takakeisho is expected to be out of action for a recovery period of around 1 month.

Although Yokozuna Hakuho and Ozeki Terunofuji were the only top ranked rikishi to boast
an unbeaten record after Day 3, a trio of Maegashira fighters – Maegashira #15 Tsurugisho, #11 Kotonowaka and #10 Tamawashi – have also earnt their claim to fame, remaining undefeated alongside their Ozeki and Yokozuna counterparts.

Tsurugisho, the lowest ranked of the three, was perhaps the most surprising of the Maegashira bunch. Returning to the Makuuchi Division in March, Maegashira #15 Tsurugisho has had a rather mixed bag of results: despite his impressive performance in the 2021 March event (in which he recorded a 9:6 score), Tsurugisho found little success in May, leaving the ring with just 4 wins to 11 losses. Interestingly and in complete contrast to this July basho, Tsurugisho really struggled out of the gate in the previous two tournaments, so it will be interesting to see whether the Maegashira #15 wrestler can turn his unfortunate May result on the head in this month’s event.

Middleman Kotonowaka also looks to be in form as he takes victories over similarly ranked
Tochinoshin, Kagayaki and Terutsuyoshi. Sitting at Maegashira #11, Kotonowaka looks to
take his first kachikoshi since the first Sumo event of the year, the 2021 January tourney, in
which he listed an incredible 10:5 score line, ranked just Maegashira #15 at the time of
participation.

Facing Kotonowaka on Day 4 is Tamawashi. Like Kotonowaka, Tamawashi stole wins from
close ranked opponents, such as Shimanoumi on Day 1 and Hidenoumi on Day 3. While
Kotonowaka appears to be in decent form at the beginning of this basho, he could well be considered the underdog in his Day 4 matchup with Tamawashi: the Mongolian-born Tamawashi was formerly a Makuuchi Division Champion. That being said, Tamawashi’s track- record this year has been far from fruitful, failing to find, as of yet, a single kachikoshi, meaning Tamawashi will need to be fully focused on his sumo, facing off against Kotonowaka as he looks to further his unbeaten score line.

May Grand Sumo Tournament 2021: Days 13-15; Terunofuji Crowned Champion!

Terunofuji wins fourth Makuuchi Division title

Ozeki Terunofuji has officially won the 2021 May basho, claiming his fourth career yusho in the prestigious Makuuchi Division. The Ozeki is the second most decorated active sumo wrestler behind the legendary Yokuzuna Hakuho, who missed the tournament due to receiving knee surgery two months ago.

Terunofuji looked in dominating form throughout the basho, boasting 10 wins after the first 10 days of fighting. However, the Ozeki suffered a shock and controversial upset to Maegashira #4 Myogiryu on Day 11. Despite initially winning the bout, a mono-ii was called, in which Terunofuji was found to be in violation of the rulebook after pulling the topknot of Myogiryu, resulting in hansoku (disqualification) for the basho forerunner. Terunofuji didn’t let the upset phase him for long though; the Ozeki took victory in his next two bouts against Onosho and Ichinojo with relative ease, boosting his score to a staggering 12:1.

With just one additional win needed for Terunofuji, the Ozeki entered Day 14, the penultimate day of proceedings, with his sights set on taking the yusho. Unfortunately for Terunofuji, he would have to wait a while longer, after succumbing to the impressive Maegashira #8 Endo with shitatenage (underarm throw). Adding salt to Terunofuji’s wounds, the Ozeki would be completely bamboozled by Takakeisho on their final day bout which saw the latter equal Terunofuji’s 12:3 score for the first time since the outset of the basho, after defeating Terunofuji with tsukiotoshi (thrust down) in a match-up that lasted less than 5 seconds.

With Takakeisho now tied with Terunofuji, the two were set to face off in an all-important play-off fight for the title. After a fierce bout full of spirit, Terunofuji seized the perfect opportunity to topple Takakeisho to the ground, using hatakikomi (slap down). As a result, Terunofuji won his second consecutive yusho, as well as the admiration of his loving fans.

In a post-match interview, Terunofuji stated the method behind his ultimate victory:

“The desperate effort that I had been putting out led to the result. I did everything I could!”

Terunofuji, May Basho Champion, 2021

Terunofuji was not the only wrestler to find success this month; both Endo and Wakatakakage were awarded Gino-sho (technique prize) for their efforts. The former surprised us by finishing the event with 11:4, just one win shy of Terunofuji, who he beat on the penultimate day of the basho. Wakatakakage also looked in strong form throughout the event, finishing his campaign with a respectable 9:6 score.

Overall, it was a highly dynamic and thrilling basho throughout, and we can hardly wait for the 2021 July basho to come! An important question remains though: will Hakuho be fit to compete against the growing dominance of Terunofuji, in just two months’ time, or will the latter enter the forthcoming Basho with the support of the fans as tournament favourite? With all this hanging in the balance, we await to see what further spectacles are to come from the professional Sumo scene in July!

May Grand Sumo Tournament 2021: Days 10 – 12 Review

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.

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.

May Grand Sumo Tournament 2021: Days 4-6 Review

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.

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!

May Grand Sumo Tournament 2021: Day 1 Review

Yokozuna absent; Ozeki take centre stage once again!

Following the withdrawal of Yokozuna Hakuho – due to more recovery time needed after surgery on a prolonged knee injury – all eyes fall on the Ozeki ranked wrestlers who, after winning all four of their day 1 bouts in the 2021 May basho, are once again proving their worth as some of the finest fighters in the world of sumo. Beginning his campaign in style was the 2021 March champion, Terunofuji. Recently promoted back to Ozeki after six long years of tough recovery bouts, Terunofuji lived up to fans’ expectations after defeating the aggressive Maegashira #2 fighter, Meisei, with kimedashi (arm-barring force out) and thus securing a strong start to the event. Due to his stellar run of results in the three previous competitions (winning gino-sho twice and shukun-sho once – prizes for technique and outstanding performance, respectively), Terunofuji supporters will be hopeful for yet another piece of silverware this month. The Ozeki will face the Maegashira #1 rikishi, Hokutofuji on day 2.

Shodai’s successful start to the basho will provide a source of comfort to his fans. After having suffered a poor run in the March tournament (Shodai’s campaign ended with just 7:8), the Ozeki clearly needed to up his game heading into the May basho and now with his first victory of May under the belt, Shodai may just be on his way to a much needed, successful tournament. Shodai is set to wrestle with Maegashira #1 Wakatakakage on day 2.

Taking another victory for the Ozeki rank on day 1, was Asanoyama. The Ozeki claimed his first win of the basho by defeating the January champion, Komusubi Daieisho, with an okuridashi (rear push out) technique. Asanoyama will compete against Meisei on day 2, the former will look to mirror Terunofuji’s successful performance from day 1 and overcome the Maegashira #2 rikishi. A win for Asanoyama will dispel his current ‘curse’ of failing to win two consecutive matches on the first two days of any previous basho, which has been the case since July 2020.

The final Ozeki to finish day 1 – also with a perfect record – was the determined Takakeisho. Takakeisho – two-time Makuuchi division champion – dismantled the formidable Wakatakakage with his trademark oshidashi (frontal push out) technique. While Takakeisho’s stint in the March competition ended with a reasonable 10:5 winning record, Takakeisho will certainly be looking to set his sights on improving his performance this time out, so as to remain in the top flight fight for the yusho. However, with all of the other Ozeki rikishi setting off to good starts in May, the yusho looks set to be in hot contention come the final stages of the basho!

Sekiwake Takayasu Renews His Conviction for May

Sekiwake Takayasu also looked in form on day 1. Although his bitter end to the March basho will still be fresh in the minds of his supporters, Takayasu might just be back at his best with an opening victory against the competitive Maegashira #2, Tobizaru – Takayasu won by tsukidashi (frontal thrust out). Whether Takayasu will be able to replicate his outstanding 9-win streak from the March competition remains to be seen, however, the Sekiwake fighter will face Maegashira #3 Chiyonokuni on day 2. Hopes are high, then for Takayasu and his fans, as he looks to extend his spotless win record (and remain within reach of the Ozeki rikishi) through to the the second day of the May basho and beyond.

We look forward to seeing how this exciting May basho pans out and will bring you updates every fifth of the way through. Until day 3, enjoy!