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  • Fantasy Basho

Haru 2023 Day Eight



Public League Leaderboard

Scores from Fantasizr.


Yusho Arasoi

8 wins 19 Maegashira #5 West Midorifuji


7 wins 08 Komusubi #2 East Daieisho


Notable Maneuvers

Harimanage. Hokuseiho won with a last second "backward belt throw" over Kotoeko. That requires the attacker to grab the back of the mawashi after reaching over the defender's shoulder. Which really means only Hokuseiho could do it against someone Kotoeko's height.


Match of the Day

05 Sekiwake #2 East Kiribayama versus 09 Komusubi #2 West Tobizaru

Tobizaru approached this match with full Flying Monkey mode activated. Tobizaru blew up Kiribayama's mawashi approach, but couldn't get anything going and tried to shift behind Kiribayama. The Sekiwake responded and got face-to-face, but that led to an awkward shoving battle. Kiribayama got Tobizaru to the edge until the Komusubi put the brakes on an oshidashi. At that point, Kiribayama did get a grip. However, this involved clamping Tobizaru's right arm with his left and holding Tobizaru's left arm in the air with his right. After a stalemate where it looked like this had no leverage, Kiribayama finally won with the uwatenage, beltless arm throw.


Recap

Midorifuji maintained his undefeated record and position atop the leaderboard with a confident win over Aoiyama. Midorifuji never got rattled by Aoiyama's signature thrusts and found a way to move him backwards for a yorikiri. Not only is he leading the basho, he just guaranteed a winning record. Takayasu already lost to Hiradoumi when the younger man blew up Takayasu's signature shoulder blast and fought his way in. The question of who would be one-loss behind was settled when Daieisho out-tsuppari-ed Abi later in the day. The yusho is mostly a two man race.

Of course, there's a clutch of five rikishi at 6-2 who should very much feel in this yusho race. Kotonowaka, Shodai, Endo, Takayasu, and Kinbozan all have their reasons for optimism. Kotonowaka is a promising almost-25 year old who may have his sights on Ozeki. Shodai, Endo, and Takayasu are veterans who are looking like they came in to Haru in their best form. Kinbozan is a talented debutant who has the power of surprise on his side. (Although he is also older than Kotonowaka, interestingly.) They all just need to have Daieisho lose at least once and Midorifuji lose twice.

A zensho yusho from a Maegashira has not occurred since Kyushu 1957, when Tamanoumi did it. Do not expect Midorifuji to win his next seven, and the same probably holds true for Daieisho. 13-2 is a reasonable record for the yusho winner, and 12-3 is possibly more likely. The advantage Midorifuji has right now is that the other rikishi are likely to slip up as well. His one loss cushion on Daieisho and two loss cushion on Kotonowaka, Shodai, Endo, Takayasu, and Kinbozan matter.

And it is guaranteed that quintet won't all stay on two losses. Kotonowaka and Shodai face each other in what may be the best match on paper for Day Nine. Some combination of the seven men on 0, 1, or 2 losses will probably take place on each additional day of the basho. The Sekiwake trio of Wakatakakage, Hoshoryu, and Kiribayama are also all looking strong enough to play spoiler if they need to. Without a Yokozuna or Ozeki competing, the schedulers will expect them to do that job for anyone with a strong record in the last few days.

The question for the final week of matches will be when Midorifuji starts facing the Sanyaku. On Day Nine, his opponent is Maegashira #8 West Ura, who is 5-3. That's not an easy match, but for Midorifuji to win the yusho he will need to toplle at least one Sanyaku wrestler. Whether that is Daieisho or Kotonowaka or a Sekiwake first will be worth watching, but if he keeps winning he will probably face all five in his last set of matches. That's when the 8 matches he has already banked come in handy.

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