- Fantasy Basho
Aki 2022 Day Nine
PUBLIC LEAGUE LEADERBOARD
26 Maegashira #8 West Hokutofuji
15 Maegashira #3 East Tamawashi
18 Maegashira #4 West Takayasu
29 Maegashira #10 East Nishikifuji
37 Maegashira #14 East Chiyoshoma
Shitatenage. Not just did Tobizaru win with an underarm throw, but he did it as a counter to what seemed to be a decisive throw from Kotonowaka.
MATCH OF THE DAY
Yokozuna East Terunofuji versus Maegashira #4 West Takayasu
It wasn't the best sumo or the most dramatic match, but the musubi no ichiban was representative of the day. Terunofuji and Takayasu squared up, with Terunofuji going for a grip and getting blocked by the former Ozeki. That was kind of the story of the match, as they engaged in an awkward slapfest, with Terunofuji never figuring anything out. He even tried some unimpressive leg trips to no avail. Eventually, the mid-Maegashira moved the Yokozuna back easily enough to win. That kind of day at the Kokugikan.
The leaderboard is still Hokutofuji at 0 losses, followed by Tamawashi at 1 loss. Both men won with powerful sumo that looked like they will not be fading any time soon. The two loss group did get cut down to just three rikishi. Takayasu's kinboshi is the headline of the day, and he remains in a threatening position. Nishikifuji and Chiyoshoma meanwhile continued their surprising bashos.
The calculus of how these men will vie for the yusho is actually quite complicated. Hokutofuji beat Nishikifuji on Day Six. Hokutofuji and Takayasu will square off on Day Ten. Otherwise, the five in the leader group have avoided each other. Nishikifuji and Chiyoshoma could easily see each other soon, and Tamawashi might be awaiting the winner of Hokutofuji-Takayasu sooner rather than later. Any of those matchups will thin out the leaderboard.
Traditionally, a Yokozuna or Ozeki would have a match against a Maegashira with a surprisingly high win total to peg them back a bit. In this basho, the Sanyaku man would possibly not be favored, no matter who that Sanyaku man is. On Day Nine, the Yokozuna and all three Ozeki lost. Wakatakakage got his sixth straight win by handling Nishikigi to assert his Sekiwake-hood, while Kiribayama's good basho continued by overpowering Takakeisho. Perhaps those two will be the opponents to knock back Hokutofuji.
Tellingly, Wakatakakage gave Tamawashi his first loss on Day Seven. His sumo still looks like he should be overpowered at first, but then he asserts himself. He's on a six-match winning streak after dropping his first three. The Arashio-beya man is looking as strong as he did when he won his yusho earlier this year. But another Emperor's Cup is highly unlikely. He needs Hokutofuji to lose three matches, and Tamawashi to lose two, to even have a shot at a playoff.
The final matches of each day for the last six days will likely not impact the yusho race. The Sanyaku men are fading from the yusho race, which is being contested by the Maegashira. The significant matches will be in various spots on the Torikumi. But challenges are coming to the leaders, either because of rank or Aki performance.