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Aki 2023 Day Fifteen




Public League Leaderboard

Scores from Fantasizr.


Yusho Arasoi

11 Wins + Playoff Win

03 Ozeki #1 West Takakeisho


11 Wins + Playoff Loss

38 Maegashira #15 East Atamifuji


Notable Maneuvers

Watashikomi. Hokuseiho had a nice grip, and he was clearly making Hoshoryu uncomfortable. Then the shin-Ozeki grabbed the giant's left leg with his right, sent him sideways, and finished the move with a yank on the leg for a "thigh-grabbing thrust down."


Match of the Day

05 Sekiwake #1 East Daieisho versus 03 Ozeki #1 West Takakeisho

Takakeisho and Daieisho both knew a playoff chance was there for them going into this match. Then the two best current pushers in sumo went at it. Neither man came near a grip, but it was an exciting back and forth. Both men seemingly were aiming to blow up the others' plan as much as get a steady attack. Finally, the pushing up on each other gave Takakeisho the advantage and he won with a massive shove.


Recap

At the end of a very strange basho, Takakeisho won a very strange playoff match. Not only were there just two men competing in a playoff that only needed 11 wins for entry. They also had a weird match. Atamifuji went forward before Takakeisho was even close to putting both hands down. The gyoji didn't call a matta, and it didn't give Atamifuji an advantage. Takakeisho stood up, and he had an easy slap down win for the playoff victory and his fourth career yusho.


That was certainly an anti-climax for an Aki basho that could have been much more, but always had a way of getting turned around. At one point, Tsurugisho, Takayasu, and Atamifuji among others looked on their way to surprising and satisfying yushos. Instead, everyone kept falling back, and the Ozeki gets another yusho and another theoretical shot at a Yokozuna promotion. The Yokozuna Deliberation Council will probably want Takakeisho to either get 13 plus wins or withdraw. 11 wins is not the kind of performance that screams "put me at the top rank," even if it is a yusho performance.


Atamifuji's two losses on Day Fifteen shouldn't overshadow how good he was in Aki. Losses to Takakeisho and Asanoyama are hardly blemishes. He won 11 matches as a lower Maegashira, which put him in Yusho contention and earned his first special prize just after turning 21. In fact, he got this tournament's ONLY special prize. Daieisho, Takayasu, Atamifuji, and Tsurugisho all had a chance for the Outstanding Performance Prize. Since none of them won the yusho, no one got it and only the Fighting Spirit Prize was handed to Atamifuji.


Atamifuji's redebut to Makuuchi may be the real bright spot to the overall picture for Aki. There were plenty of fun kimarite and interesting matches, but all sumo basho will feature some. With the only Yokozuna out again, no one stood up and dominated. The Ozeki did what they had to do, while some of the other younger contenders didn't quite leap up. It can be very easy to wonder what is currently happening in sumo, and whether this is a down period.


A closer look shows the future is bright. A 21 year old nearly won the whole thing. A 24 year old new Ozeki fought back with impressive sumo to get his eight wins. An almost 22 year old had a chance at a playoff on the final day from Mid-Maegashira. And a 27 year old Ozeki gets another shot at becoming a Yokozuna. Maybe Atamifuji, Hoshoryu, Hokuseiho, and Takakeisho won't quite build from here in November, but they're in a remarkable position.

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