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  • Fantasy Basho

Aki 2023 Day Four

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Scores from Fantasizr.

Notable Maneuvers

Sukuinage. Shodai was getting hammered back by Hoshoryu, but turned away at the edge a couple of times. Finally, he attempted a throw that Hoshoryu broke, but sent Hoshoryu falling down. A lillte pirouette kept Shodai from stepping out and gave him credit for a throw to win.

Match of the Day

38 Maegashira #15 East Atamifuji versus 39 Maegashira #15 West Chiyoshoma

The best match, or at least the one with the most back and forth, was the very first one of the day. It began with Atamifuji putting his left arm around Chiyoshoma's right, but then the veteran Mongolian broke that and regrouped. That resulted in the two getting a mirrored left-hand inside, right-hand outside grip. Except Chiyoshoma was being leaned on by the younger and bigger rikishi, so he attempted his tricks. He tried to move the grip, trip Atamifuji, and slide around the dohyo. Atamifuji was unfazed, and when Chiyoshoma chose to move around the young Isegahama man saw the chance for a throw.


The theme of Day Four was efficient, forward sumo. That describes the wins of Kinbozan over Mitakeumi, Takayasu over Hiradoumi, Onosho over Shonannoumi, Ura over Tamawashi, Nishikigi over Tobizaru, Kotonowaka over Takanosho, and Daieisho over Hokutofuji. That's almost half of the matches in Makuuchi, and the victors represent a range of styles. Yet on Day Four, each of them all went straight ahead, hit center mass, and won very quickly.

The exceptions included the final three matches, i.e. the ones with the Ozeki. Hoshoryu lost to sumo's chaos master Shodai in a match that had little but impactful moments of absurdity. Takakeisho did his usual tsuppari attack against Asanoyama, which disrupted Asanoyama's plan. He won because he got Asanoyama off-balance. Kirishima then saw a similar match in his bout with Abi, except he was on the losing end. Hoshoryu and Kirishima's losses are bad signals for their performance over the next 11 days. Takakeisho has the nice 3-1 record, but he isn't looking as formidable as he could.

The undefeated rikishi on Day Four have been reduced to Onosho, Kinbozan, and Atamifuji. Do not expect any of that trio to win out. This is a fair statement because zensho yusho are relatively rare and don't come from Maegashira. Also, Kinbozan is ranked in close enough range to the other two he will see both at some point. If they all keep winning, then their clashes are inevitable. They also haven't necessarily been dominating over their first four matches, but they are getting the crucial victory in the end.

The rikishi who earned their first losses on Day Four were Hokutofuji, Mitakeumi, and Sadanoumi. Mitakeumi and Sadanoumi can be classed in the same pile as the undefeated rikishi, as they have been effective enough to get wins but are not dominating. Hokutofuji looked great against the Ozeki in his first three matches. Day Four he was just bottled up by Daieisho. These things can happen. Sometimes they are just blips, and sometimes they are the start of a spiral into more losses.

Takakeisho, Kotonowaka, Nishikigi, Hokutofuji, and Abi represent the 3-1 crowd among the Sanyaku and upper Maegashira. They all have performed well, and they all get a chance to see each other and any Maegashira who deign to keep winning more than expected. Yet anyone at 2-2 above Maegashira #3, that group includes Kirishima, Daieisho, Wakamotoharu, Tobizaru, and Asanoyama, is in a similar position. So anyone who puts together a 3 or 4 match win streak could make a difference. In a basho where anyone may lose to anyone else, that is tougher than it sounds.

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