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  • Fantasy Basho

Aki 2023 Day One




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Scores from Fantasizr.

Notable Maneuvers

Tottari. Abi gave Hoshoryu his full force two-hands-to-the-face opening, and he seemed to have the advantage. Then Hoshoryu planted his feet and decided if he had to deal with Abi's hands, he'd deal with Abi's hands. The Shin-Ozeki grabbed Abi's left and executed a great arm bar throw to send him over.


Match of the Day

10 Maegashira #1 East Hokutofuji versus 03 Ozeki #1 West Takakeisho

Hokutofuji is trying to prove last time out was no fluke, while Takakeisho is attempting to show he still belongs at Ozeki. In their first math, neither man did well, but it was exciting. Hokutofuji was desperately pulling as he went backwards, while Takakeisho got too far out front and attempted to shove Hokutofuji out before falling over. The gyoji pointed to Hokutofuji, although it was a call about when Hokutofuji stepped out versus when Takakeisho's arm went down versus if either was in an unrecoverable position.


Mono-ii. Torinaoshi. The second match was less exciting, but impactful. Hokutofuji took the same attack from Takakeisho, but kept himself from moving. That made it an easy hatakikomi over the Ozeki.


Recap

Day One of a basho will feature the most over-read results in sumo. There is a ten way tie for the yushoi arasoi, and the other ten are still looking for their first win. That was a guarantee from the time the initial Torikumi is released. Someone will win and someone will lose in every match. The same will be true for the next fourteen days.


The identity of those winners can still be pretty notable, even on Day One. Takakeisho still needs 8 wins to maintain his Ozeki rank, and he has one less match to get it. Hokutofuji and Nishikigi, the surprising rikishi in Nagoya, kept up winning ways. Daieisho and Wakamotoharu have been the consistent sekiwake, but their time in Sanyaku could be threatened if they fight like they did on Day One. Atamifuji has come back to Makuuchi ready to hold his own as a Maegashira.


All of that is still over-reading into results. A safer analysis might be that Kirishima and Hoshoryu fought like Ozeki. Each man took his opponents brand of sumo head on, and turned around matches that could have been serious problems. Abi-zumo was redirected extremely effectively by Hoshoryu. Tobizaru wanted to go sideways to disrupt Kirishima, but the Ozeki wrangled him and performed an escalating series of holds to get an easy yori-kiri. With Terunofuji out and Takakeisho struggling, the two newest Ozeki are the favorites for the yusho right now.


Those matches both saw solid, fundamental sumo overcome attempts at something more involved. That was the theme of Day One. It can be applied to Atamifuji's win over Kotoshoho, Sadanoumi's defeat of Nishikifuji, Takarafuji's victory against Hokuseiho, Takayasu's win versus Oho, and Kotonowaka's handling of Shodai. Aki means everyone is back home in Tokyo, and Day One means everyone should have a renewed focus. Fundamentals have the advantage in this situation.


That is still reading too much into Day One results. On Day One of Nagoya, it looked like Tobizaru was robbed against an out-of-control Hoshoryu. Hoshoryu won 11 of his next 14 followed by a playoff victory for the yusho and Ozeki promotion. Each day brings a chance to correct deficiencies from the previous day. We're just getting started, but it's started.

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