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!

Terunofuji is March 2021 Grand Champion!

Sekiwake Terunofuji has become the 2021 Spring Grand Sumo Tournament champion after beating Ozeki Takakeisho with oshidashi on the final day of proceedings. As a result, the Mongolian-born wrestler will return to the prestigious rank of Ozeki as of the forthcoming May banzuke ranking list.

Terunofuji began his basho campaign in style, ending day 4 with a perfect 4:0 win record – a result matched only by the fantastic start of Maegashira #4 wrestler Myogiryu, who also won his first four bouts. However, Terunofuji’s win streak came to an abrupt halt, suffering a shock upset to Maegashira #1 Onosho on day 5, resulting in Myogiryu taking top spot on the leader board with a spectacular 5:0 score. Terunofuji would go on to win his days 6 and 7 contests, yet following two further defeats to Komusubi Takayasu and Maegashira #3 Shimanoumi on days 8 and 10 respectively, the Sekiwake fighter was displaced as yusho favourite by the superior form of Takayasu. Despite this, Takayasu’s reign quickly fell to pieces, losing three consecutive fights to Maegashira trio Wakatakakage (#2), Tobizaru (#8) and Aoiyama (#12). This was a heart-rendering finale for the Komusubi, who otherwise showcased stellar performances throughout. Takayasu finished his stint in the tournament with 10:5, while the ‘comeback King’ Terunofuji claimed his third career yusho and shukun- sho (outstanding performance award) boasting a staggering 12:3 record.

“I’m relieved” said Terunofuji in a post-match interview:

“I was just taking it one day at a time (in my comeback), training hard every day. Doing so, I believed this day would come, so I’m really happy…”

“…I focused on being confident in the ring today, and that was my main thing. Sumo doesn’t always go the way you want it to…”

“…Without the support of the fans I wouldn’t be standing here today. That support made it possible. Wrestlers train hard and fight hard, and that’s one way we can show our appreciation for that support.”

Terunofuji March 2021

Terunofuji wasn’t alone in finding his name on silverware this month; winning the respectable kanto-sho (fighting spirit prize) were Maegashira #12 Aoiyama and #3 Meisei, while the gino-sho (technique prize) was claimed by the higher ranked Maegashira #2 Wakatakakage. The three found their first double digit finishes since the start of the year; Aoiyama replicated his 2020 March Basho score of 11:4, while Meisei and Wakatakakage both achieved 10:5.

Further Basho success was found by two Ozeki wrestlers, Asanoyama and Takakeisho, ending their March campaigns with 10:5. The Sekitori brothers, Tobizaru and Hidenoumi, also left the dohyo with just five losses, with the latter taking part in what was his first Makuuchi competition since March 2018! With the next basho beginning in just two months’ time, fans won’t have to wait long before witnessing even more sumo drama. Can Terunofuji repeat his outstanding run in the upcoming event, or will the May Ozeki be challenged by the prowess of his fellow competitors? We can’t wait to find out!

March 2021: Days 10-12

Takayasu continues to shine!

As the 2021 Spring Grand Sumo tournament reaches its concluding days, Komusubi Takayasu looks to settle his claim on the Yūshō after defeating Maegashira #2 Hokutofuji on day 12 with an oshidashi technique (frontal push out). Takayasu now holds a spectacular 10:2 win record heading into day 13 of the prestigious event.

Takayasu’s Spring campaign began rather slowly: initially suffering a defeat to Maegashira #3 Meisei, few expected the unbelievable nine consecutive victories that would follow. Boasting successes against some of the strongest rikishi, such as Ozeki Takakeisho, 2021 January Basho champion Komusubi Daieisho, as well as Ozeki Asanoyama and Komusubi Terunofuji, Takayasu has clearly asserted his dominance throughout this year’s Spring Basho.

Despite his day 11 setback to an ever-improving Ozeki Shodai, the Komusubi reversed the ill-tide by overcoming Hokutofuji on day 12 and now looks to be in full-stride marching into day 13. However, Takayasu will have to keep his guard-up, as he will face a strong-looking Maegashira #2 Wakatakakage, who has accumulated a 6 consecutive win streak since day 7 and now holds a total Basho tally of 8:4. With Asanoyama and Terunofuji hot on his tail, a failure against Wakatakakage could add unwanted pressure to Takayasu’s end-game plans. Victory on day 13 is therefore paramount for the Basho leader’s journey towards his first ever Makuuchi division title!

Asanoyama and Terunofuji Chasing for the Yūshō.

Brandishing four wins on the trot, Ozeki Asanoyama appears to have recovered from day 7 and day 8 upsets versus Maegashira #4 Kiribayama and Komusubi Daieisho. Bagging recent wins against Sekiwake Takanosho and Komusubi Mitakeumi, Asanoyama looks to be back in good form as he enters into the final stages of the tournament. Asanoyama will face the prowess of fellow Ozeki Takakeisho on day 13 – an all important bout for Asanoyama if he wishes to continue his pursuit on Takayasu and his bid for the Yūshō.

The final main threat to the Basho forerunner is the 2020 November champion, Terunofuji. Like Asanoyama, Terunofuji currently holds an excellent 9:3 win record, which provides him with a golden opportunity to at least replicate his superb 11:4 performance at the 2021 January Basho. However, after some poor defeats to the abysmally performing pair of Maegashira ranked wrestlers, Onosho and Shimanoumi, Terunofuji needs to find a consistent foothold in order to further his present tournament record. Drawn against Shodai on day 13, Terunofuji will need to get his Sumo together in order to take down the skill of an Ozeki

With day 13’s bouts beginning in less than 24 hours, we could be about to witness some of the Basho’s most important fights; although Takayasu, with his current 10:2 record does not technically need a win on day 13, Asanoyama and Terunofuji, however, cannot afford another defeat in their Basho campaign if they are to remain within contention for the Yūshō!

Please tune in to the Sumo action and stay safe!

March 2021: Days 7-9

Takayasu marches ahead, Terunofuji and Chiyonokuni aim for Yusho contention!

Surging ahead of his fellow rikishi at the 2021 Spring Grand Sumo Tournament, is Komusubi Takayasu. Despite suffering an initial setback against Maegashira #3 Meisei on Day 1, Takayasu managed to take victory in all of his subsequent bouts, leaving the rikishi with eight victories to one defeat after 9 days of Sumo. With wins over the prestige of Ozeki Asanoyama, as well as dismantling one of the current title contenders – Terunofuj – Takayasu appears to be in optimum form heading into the latter stages of the event. However, day 10 presents one of Takayasu’s hardest challenge since the beginning of the Basho: he will face the two-time Makuuchi division champion, Takakeisho, in an all-or nothing bout.

Although Takakeisho’s 2021 Spring campaign has highlighted some weaknesses in his Sumo of late – losing to lower-ranked competitors, such as Wakatakakage, Hotutofuji and Meisei – the Ozeki’s previous achievements in the Makuuchi division, not to mention his respectable 6:3 win record, hold him in good stead ahead of his fight against the current Basho leader, Takayasu. A victory for Takakeisho would give the Kadoban Ozeki (at risk of demotion from the rank of Ozeki, unless he gets more wins than losses in this tournament) a much needed confidence boost going into the next Basho in May.

Closing in to Takayasu with a formidable 7:2 win record, Terunofuji is looking to add yet another Makuuchi division title to his collection at this year’s Spring event. Having performed impeccably in the last two Sumo competitions – winning Gino-Sho (technique prizes) in both – as well as claiming victory at the 2020 July Basho, Terunofuji is increasingly becoming the ‘King of Consistency’ in the world of professional Sumo. However, with losses to both Takayasu and Onosho thus far in the event, in addition to his lack of yet facing an Ozeki competitor, it’s fair to say that Terunofuji’s toughest bouts are still yet to come in the 2021 Spring Grand Sumo Tournament. 

A further threat to Yūshō leader, Takayasu, is Chiyonokuni. The Maegashira #9 wrestler has fought spectacularly to take the only 7:2 record other than Terunofuji after the ninth day of proceedings. Overcoming Tobizaru on day 1, as well as Tamawashi on day 9, Chiyonokuni has already exceeded fans’ expectations by defying the odds and defeating two higher ranked opponents. Chiyonokuni will face a struggling Okinoumi on day 10, where he will have a chance to add another upset to his Spring campaign in addition to adding further pressure on Takayasu for the title race.

With just 6 days left in the second Basho of the year, the race for the Yūshō is becoming increasingly tense. Despite Takayasu’s winning advantage heading into the 10th day of Sumo fights, the Komusubi cannot afford to take his foot off the accelerator; Sekiwake Terunofuji and Maegashira #9 Chiyonokuni lack just one victory – and one loss – to level with the current Basho leader. So, get your popcorn at the ready, because the real fun is only just about to begin!

March 2021: Days 4-6

The new battle for Yūshō between Ozeki, Komusubi, Sekiwake and Maegashira begins!

After a thrilling start to the 2021 Spring Grand Sumo Tournament, six confident wrestlers
have pulled ahead of the competition, each boasting stellar 5:1 win records. Currently leading the race for the Yūshō are: Asanoyama (Ozeki), Takanosho (Sekiwake), Terunofuji (Sekiwake), Takayasu (Komusubi), Myogiryu (Maegashira #4) and Chiyonokuni (Maegashira #9).

Asanoyama holds the line, upholding the Ozeki prestige.

Despite suffering an early defeat to Terunofuji, Ozeki Asanoyama has managed to claw his way back up to the top! With powerful victories against the likes of Onosho (Maegashira #1) and Meisei (Maegashira #3), the Ozeki competitor managed to level the playing field with the lower Komusubi, Sekiwake and Maegashira ranks – who were previously dominating the Basho. Heading into day 7, Asanoyama looks to extend his four-consecutive win streak, facing off against Maegashira #4 Kiribayama, who currently holds a less competitive 2:4 record.

Terunofuji continues to impress!

Fresh from winning the Gino-sho (technique prize) at the 2021 January Sumo event, Terunofuji’s performances have been on an impressive run of late! With early wins against Hokutufuji (Maegashira #2), Daieisho and Meisei, (Sekiwake) Terunofuji appeared to be on an unstoppable pursuit for the Yūshō. However, after falling short to a fierce Onosho on day 5, Terunofuji’s 4:0 winning streak came to a halt. The halt was brief, however, as day 6 saw him return to his winning ways, dismantling Kiribayama with a tsuridashi technique (a win by lifting an opponent out of the ring whilst gripping their mawashi belt). On day 7, Terunofuji will face Komusubi Mitakeumi – an all important bout for the Sekiwake as he looks to continue his pursuit for the Yūshō.

Takayasu returns to form!

Defeating fellow Komusubi earlier today with uwatedashinage (a pulling overarm throw), Takayasu – now with 5 consecutive victories under his belt – appears to be in outstanding form ahead of his forthcoming battle on day 7 against a struggling Takarafuji (1:5 win:loss record). Testament to the Komusubi’s spectacular run of results, was his early victory against Asanoyama – a success which naturally would have boosted Takayasu’s confidence to overcome the likes of Mitakeumi and Daieisho. With a successful bout against one of the leading competitors, Takayasu is well on his way to contend for the March Yūshō.

The fight gets tougher for Myogiryu.

Maegashira #4 wrestler Myogiryu suffered his first defeat in the Spring Basho on day 6,
losing to Hokutofuji’s oshidashi (frontal push out) kimarite (winning technique). Prior to the unsuccessful bout against the Maegashira #2 fighter, Myogiryu had become the leader of the tournament, showcasing a 5:0 record after 5 days of wrestling. However, the pressure is now on for Myogiryu; with his higher ranked peers now on the same level as him, can he retain his competitive stance and vie for the Yūshō? That remains to be seen.

Early promise from Chiyonokuni, but the toughest bouts are yet to come!

The final competitor – with a spectacular 5:1 record thus far – is Maegashira #9 Chiyonokuni.
Having failed to compete in the 2021 January Basho due to incidences of Covid-19 infections at the Kokonoe stable, Chiyonokuni raised a few
eyebrows with his strong performances in the Spring Tourney – overcoming his
Maegashira superiors, Kagayaki and Tobizaru. That being said, Chiyonokuni is yet to do battle with any of the Sanyaku ranked rikishi, such as Asanoyama or Terunofuji. Yet, in lieu of his Basho upsets, avid fans should keep an eye on the Maegashira #9 wrestler; the fight for the Yūshō is only just getting started!

March 2021: Days 1-3

Yokozuna Hakuho withdraws, Sekiwake and Maegashira lead the way!

Hakuho withdraws form the March meet after sustaining a knee injury

It has been a dramatic start for many of the rikishi at the 2021 Spring Grand Sumo tournament, hosted once again at the Kokugikan arena in Tokyo. Not only have fans witnessed upsets from their favourite wrestlers, but have also received the shocking news that Basho favourite, Yokozuna Hakuho, has withdrawn from the March event, due to a right knee injury.

After being absent from Makuuchi division competitions since the 2020 July Basho, East Yokozuna Hakuho had his hopes set on a returning victory to the professional sumo world. However, it was not to be for the Mongolian-born wrestler, who was forced to withdraw from the tournament before the third day of proceedings could take place. Hakuho is set to have surgery later this month on his right knee, suffering a damaged right patella and swelling around the joint.

Hakuho’s stablemaster, Miyagino, suggests that the Yokozuna’s career hangs in the balance, and that the 2021 July Basho could be Hakuho’s final competition as a professional sumo wrestler,

“He was told (by a doctor) that he couldn’t wrestle in his current condition. He said he will make his final decision at the Nagoya tournament (in July)” – Miyagino.

Yokozuna absence leaves the Yūshō open for contention.

Following Hakuho’s withdrawal, the baton falls to the leading Sekiwake and Maegashira fighters to lead the charge for the Yūshō. Tied at three wins to zero losses, Terunofuji (Sekiwake), Myogiryu (Maegashira #4) and Ichinojo (Maegashira #6) are all currently topping the scorecard.

Terunofuji, a wrestler with much prestige, will no doubt be eyeing up the March Yūshō, in an attempt to claim his third career Makuuchi Division Championships title. Having defeated the 2020 January Basho champion – the now Komusubi ranked wrestler, Daieisho – with a strong yoritaoshi kimarite (frontal crush out – winning technique) earlier today, Terunofuji looks to be in spectacular form heading into Day 4 of the tournament.

Looking to mount a challenge to Terunofuji’s pursuit for the Yūshō, is Myogiryu. He looks to win his first ever Makuuchi division championship in this March tournament. The Hyogo Pref. born wrestler has a favourable chance to further his 3:0 winning streak, facing off tomorrow against the lower ranked Maegashira #6 wrestler, Tamawashi. A win in the fourth day of events would help build Myogiryu’s confidence heading towards the latter stages of the competition, wherein the Maegashira #4 competitor will face some of the toughest fighters in sumo history.

Despite being the lowest ranked wrestler with a spotless 3:0 record so far in the event, Ichinojo appears to be far from lacking in his performances. With confident victories over Tochinoshin and Kagayaki, as well as his superior Maegashira #5 ranked competitor, Okinoumi, Ichinojo appears to be a growing threat. If Ichinojo can clinch a win against the struggling Endo in tomorrow’s bout, then Ichinojo could be well on his way to competing for the Yūshō.

As we enter into Day 4 of the Spring Grand Sumo Event, avid fans will be keeping a keen eye out for further drama in the bouts to come. Will Terunofuji, Myogiryu and Ichinojo be able to carry on their electrifying form, or will other competitors arise to challenge them – we shall have to wait and see!

Birthday boy Asanoyama and his bid for the Spring Yusho!

Hideki Asanoyama enjoyed great success at the inaugural Sumo event of 2021, held in Tokyo, January. Now, the Ozeki wrester has a different and more personal reason to celebrate: it’s his birthday!

Fans across the world recently took to social media to send their best wishes to Ozeki Asanoyama on his 27th birthday, less than a fortnight before taking centre stage at the 2021 Spring Sumo tournament. 

yori.kiri draws the Sumo grand champion a birthday card (Click the link to discover yori.kiri’s amazing Instagram page and to follow their awesome work!)

Despite his devastating withdrawal from the 2020 November Basho due to a shoulder injury he picked up on the first day of bouts, Asanoyama looks to be in good shape heading into the forthcoming event. This comes after his strong finish to the 2021 January Sumo tourney, defeating fellow Ozeki, Shodai, as well as other notable rivals, such as the Maegashira #3 Meisei and Sekiwake Takanosho. 

However, with the two Yokuzuna fighters, Hakuho and Kakuryu, returning to the ring this month, the Ozeki competitor will have his work cut-out for him if he is to replicate the stellar performance from two months ago. 

Hakuho and Kakuryu aren’t the only potential threats for Asanoyama; Daieisho, ahead of his incredible championship victory at the beginning of the year, will be looking to add another title to his growing collection of trophies.

While there is clearly a fierce list of competitors awaiting to disrupt the Ozeki fighter’s bid for the Yusho, Asanoyama, who debuted in the Makuuchi division back in 2017, is far from being a stranger to success in the toughest of circumstances. In the 2019 May tournament, Asanoyama became the first ever wrester from Toyama Pref. to win a top division championship, after defeating Tochinoshin on the final day of proceedings. He also achieved his first kinboshi in the subsequent 2019 July Basho, with an incredible win over Yokozuna Kakuryu. 

In addition, due to Hakuho and Kakaryu’s lack of participation over the last 8-10 months amid health and injury related concerns, it’s tough to predict how the two Yokozuna will  fare in the upcoming March Basho. Taking advantage of this will prove paramount for Asanoyama, if he wishes to conclude his birthday season in style, and claim the second Sumo event of 2021

Happy Birthday Ozeki Asanoyama!

Will the birthday boy and his campaign for the Spring Yusho prove successful? We will have to wait and see; however, one thing is certain: with the support of the fans, Asanoyama will head into the event with his head held high, full of confidence.

Therefore, watch out Hakuho and Kakuryu; Ozeki Asanoyama is coming after you!