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  • Fantasy Basho

Haru 2023 Day Fifteen

Public League Leaderboard

Scores from Fantasizr.

Yusho Arasoi

12 Wins

05 Sekiwake #2 East Kiribayama

08 Komusubi #2 East Daieisho

Kiribayama wins Playoff for Yusho.

Notable Maneuvers

Utchari. Kotonowaka had Wakamotoharu dead to rights on a frontal crush out, but Wakamotharu held his feet and spun well enough that Kotonowaka somehow stepped out first.

Match of the Day

05 Sekiwake #2 East Kiribayama versus 08 Komusubi #2 East Daieisho

The playoff match between these two followed an excellent, but short, match in regulation. Kiribayama got blasted back by Daieisho's tsuppari attack then deftly stepped aside to push Daieisho out and over. The playoff was nearly a replay, except that Kiribayama's bail out maneuver wasn't as clean. That's right, we got a playoff match with a mono-ii.

After a quick review, the shimpan agreed with the gyoji, giving the match and the yusho to Kiribayama.


Kiribayama needed to beat Daieisho twice to win the yusho. That is much easier on paper than it is on the dohyo. These two came in with a career 8-5 record favoring Kiribayama, although Daieisho won the last two. They also present a stylistic clash, with Daieisho being a pusher-thruster and Kiribayama liking a grapple. And in their regulation match, Daieisho began by blowing back Kiribayama with a nasty thrusting attack. It was Kiribayama's deft tawara dance that gave him the first victory.

The second one was harder, but he did it in almost the same way. Now Kiribayama is a yusho winner, and on the verge of an Ozeki promotion. (If he doesn't get it before the May basho, he'd need double-digit wins there.) He is just the 9th Mongolian to win a yusho, although that list includes 5 Yokozuna with multiple Emperor's Cups. Even if that level of greatness isn't in Kiribayama's future, he sits atop sumo's mountain for now. He also is fighting like someone who can stay that way.

The two men who seemed to be in position for the Haru 2023 Yusho for much of the basho were Daieisho and Midorifuji. Daieisho came as close as anyone can without winning the actual championship. Midorifuji seemed to fall apart, although it's also completely legitimate to say he dominated the Maegashira he saw and struggled against the Sanyaku. His Sanyaku opponents were just also his final few opponents. Fifteen matches is a slog for anyone, and the fact neither Daieisho nor Midorifuji made it through is a stronger testament to what Kiribayama just did.

There were other notable achievements in Osaka this March. Both Kinbozan and Hokuseiho made impressive debuts as Maegashira. Kinbozan's 11 wins earned him the Fighting Spirit Prize. In the Sanyaku, Wakamotoharu and Kotonowaka both performed well enough to join a crowded Sekiwake corps by May. The bottom three rikishi also all earned kachi-koshi, and the Juryo promotion/demotion outlook will be interesting.

The Haru 2023 basho will be remembered as the Nokozuna/Nozeki basho, due to the withdrawals of Terunofuji and Takakeisho. It will also be viewed as the debut of Kinbozan and Hokuseiho. Yet in the end, it's the basho where Kiribayama managed to win the yusho after a playoff victory over Daieisho.
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