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  • Fantasy Basho

Aki 2023 Day Eight




Public League Leaderboard

Scores from Fantasizr.


Yusho Arasoi

7 Wins

22 Maegashira #7 East Takayasu

38 Maegashira #15 East Atamifuji


6 Wins

06 Sekiwake #1 West Wakamotoharu

18 Maegashira #5 East Gonoyama

34 Maegashira #13 East Myogiryu

41 Maegashira #16 West Tsurugisho


Notable Maneuvers

Henka. After Midorifuji failed with a sidestep on Day Seven, Chiyoshoma showed how a master does it on Day Eight against Nishikifuji.


Match of the Day

22 Maegashira #7 East Takayasu versus30 Maegashira #11 East Mitakeumi

This was a matchup of two former Ozeki who were in the yusho race coming in to Day Eight. Their movements were a little slow, both as a way to feel each other out and because they are both dealing with waning athleticism. Takayasu pushing Mitakeumi back didn't mean he got a solid grip, and Mitakeumi re-engaged. That actually meant they deadlocked with Miatkeumi leaning under Takayasu. That didn't end the match, but Mitakeumi also never found an opening. Eventually, Takayasu found the opening to get Mitakeumi off balance and win by slap-down.


Recap

The two leaders at 7-1 remain the same, but the chase group has thinned. Atamifuji easily took on Aoiyama's thrusts, while Takayasu won a more difficult bout against Mitakeumi. That put separation between them and the four rikishi who fell from the 2 loss crowd. The most notable names there are Ozeki Kirishima and Takakeisho. Each lost to a Maegashira, which Ozeki really can't afford if they want a yusho.


The Ozeki did lose to tough matchups for them. Tobizaru holds a career 6-4 advantage over Takakeisho. Takanosho has dominated Kirishima to the tune of 12-2. They are the blips that can happen to a rikishi. The real impact of standing at 3 losses after 8 days is that a rikishi likely needs a perfect last week. The last 11-4 yusho was in November 2017 by Harumafuji. Before that, you need to go to 1996. 12 wins is almost a minimum threshold for a yusho performance.


One reason for that is the zero sum nature of sumo. Takayasu or Atamifuji will likely drop a match or three. Wakamotoharu, Gonoyama, Myogiryu, and Tsurugisho, the group at 6-2, are all individually also likely to have a few losses going forward. Collectively, someone will emerge as they all face the other rikishi in the yusho race. It's that kind of threading the needle that makes an individual yusho difficult, but also means someone will get the key wins. Wakamotoharu is the Sanyaku man, but all it takes is surviving by any of the Maegashira.


None of the 6 rikishi with one or two losses will square off on Day Nine, but the eliminator matches have somewhat begun. Takayasu's clash with Mitakeumi was a clear example. On Day Nine, Tsurugisho gets Mitakeumi, while Atamifuji moves up to face 5-3 Kinbozan. Gonoyama will jump up into the final few matches to face an Ozeki for the first time when he sees Takakeisho. Those are all tough matches, and any one of them could lose.


Another win moves a rikishi in this crowd closer to the yusho. They'll all need a few more wins over the final few days to get the Emperor's Cup. A loss won't kill the chances for anyone on one or two losses, just makes it much, much harder. 7 matches per rikishi is a lot of sumo left, and the number of odd step-outs, strange falls, and weird maneuvers this basho has been unusually high. Whatever expectations you may have, don't think they will be met.

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