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  • Fantasy Basho

Aki 2023 Day Seven



Public League Leaderboard

Scores from Fantasizr.


Yusho Arasoi

6 Wins

22 Maegashira #7 East Takayasu

38 Maegashira #15 East Atamifuji


5 Wins

02 Ozeki #1 East Kirishima

03 Ozeki #1 West Takakeisho

06 Sekiwake #1 West Wakamotoharu

18 Maegashira #5 East Gonoyama

28 Maegashira #10 East Kinbozan

30 Maegashira #11 East Mitakeumi

34 Maegashira #13 East Myogiryu

41 Maegashira #16 West Tsurugisho


Notable Maneuvers

Henka. Midorifuji thought his best chance was to completely sidestep Takayasu. It didn't work, as Takayasu caught him. Still, it was a very notable henka.


Match of the Day

28 Maegashira #10 East Kinbozan versus 31 Maegashira #11 West Hokuseiho

Hokuseiho has struggled with smaller rikishi this basho, while Kinbozan has been going great guns. Yet these two young giants locking up in the middle of the ring was probably always going to favor Hokuseiho. Kinbozan was still able to hang on for a long time, but Hokuseiho refused to let go or even move much. That easily wears down even another big man like Kinbozan, which led to a simple looking but certainly not easy yorikiri win for Hokuseiho.


Recap

We have two leaders, former Ozeki and 7 time Jun-Yusho winner Maegashira #7 East Takayasu and 21 year old in his second Makuuchi basho Maegashira #15 East Atamifuji. These two are not likely yusho winners. For starters, they are well outside Sanyaku. Second, neither man came in with the kind of recent track record that screams Emperor's Cup. Each had to prove his viability at this rank during Aki.


So far, so good. Takayasu isn't quite in his Ozeki mode, but he's done very well. He's yet to have his signature marathon match, but his ability to take on any kind of sumo head on has been on full display. His demolition of Midorifuji's henka attempt on Day Seven is a model of why the sidestep can be extremely dangerous. Atamifuji is showing skills beyond his years. Although blessed with enviable size and strength, Atamifuji is also doing the difficult job of not beating himself and keeping his sumo contained. That was certainly not true in his previous Makuuchi trip last November.


Either Takayasu or Atamifuji would still be considered the underdog against the Sanyaku or Joi opponents who are still in the yusho race. There are eight rikishi on 5-2, including two Ozeki and a Sekiwake. There are also plenty of 4-3 high-ranked rikishi who are more than a handful. Kotonowaka, Nishikigi, Hokutofuji, and Ura could beat anyone on any day. Even Hoshoryu, the shin-Ozeki who is not shining during Aki, could topple a Maegashira who leaps up the Banzuke for a challenging match.


Takayasu and Atamifuji won't be leaping up for those kinds of matches on Day Eight. Atamifuji gets struggling Aoiyama, while Takayasu gets another former Ozeki who has performed well in Mitakeumi. That's a signal that although these Maegashira are leading the yusho race, no one is scheduling matches entirely to determine who will lift the Emperor's Cup. There's more than a week left of sumo, and the group at 5-2 need to focus on maintaining their chances.


The performance of Kirishima and Takakeisho will be the determinant of how this basho plays out. Neither man has been on their absolute best form, but they keep finding ways to win on most days. Yet it was Takakeisho's inability to drive out Shodai that means he is no longer one of the leaders. He's still got a role to play in the yusho race, but he no longer controls his own destiny. That is only really true of Takayasu and Atamifuji, and it will remain that way until one of them picks up a second loss.

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