- Fantasy Basho
Haru 2022 Day Seven
Maegashira #7 East Takayasu
Ozeki #2 West Mitakeumi
Sekiwake East Wakatakakage
Maegashira #6 West Kotonowaka
Okuritsuriotoshi. See, Wakatakakage got Daieisho right to the edge, and then Daieisho fought against the tawara. But what that did was turn him around so Wakatakakage could grab the back of his mawashi and forcefully send him out and down with the "rear lifting body slam."
Match of the Day
Maegashira #2 East Ichinojo versus Maegashira #4 East Kiribayama
An Ichinojo match that goes a minute-plus usually has quite a bit of stationary leaning. This one had some of that, but Kiribayama kept working and shifting. Although Ichinojo could withstand most of it, he never got the opening. Instead, Kiribayama got around the bigger man's side and grabbed the back of his mawashi with his left hand to force him out.
Takayasu kept things up with a simple win over Hokutofuji. Mitakeumi slid back to allow Onosho down for his sixth win. Wakatakakage unveiled the maneuver of the tournmanet to beat Daieisho. Kotonowaka handled Sadanoumi with few problems. That means the top four men in the yusho arasoi have not changed from Day Six to Day Seven. Takakeisho also blasted out Tamawashi, and Abi handled Ura's step-back tachiai to get the win. So the biggest threats at two losses also maintained their position.
The men who will decide the yusho are most likely Takayasu, Mitakeumi, Wakatakakage, Kotonowaka, Takakeisho, and Abi. The two Ozeki and the two Sekiwake in that list will face each other, possible in a three-way round robin to close the tournament if they all keep this up. Takayasu and Kotonowaka are going to get their biggest challenges sooner rather than later. The first step up will be more upper Mageashira, beginning with Kotonowaka seeing 5-2 Maegashira #4 West Endo on Day Eight. Fellow Maegashira #4 Kiribayama will also get a say in these matters.
Yet if Kotonowaka and especially Takayasu keep winning in the next two to three days, they'll have Sanyaku opponents in short order. Maybe the other leaders won't be called on first, especially as shin-Komusubi Hoshoryu looks feisty. Although Takayasu is currently the sole leader, there's a jumble behind him full of top rikishi. There isn't one match to watch out for in the coming days, but a series of them.
In sumo, every match is crucial. Yusho are rarely won by more than two wins, with a one win margin being the usual difference between a yusho and a jun-yusho. Each win matters immensely for the final record of any rikishi, but this Haru basho is producing matches where each result will determine the future strength of schedule. Takayasu and Kotonowaka are likely to face the Ozeki and the Sekiwake at some point, especially with kyujo announcements and poor performances above them.
When they do, the import of those matches will be very different depending on how many matches they drop in the next few days. Even before the headliners clash, one loss from anyone on the leaderboard will change the nature of the basho. Keep your eyes on the last half of each day from here on out, something is happening in nearly every match.