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  • Fantasy Basho

Haru 2023 Day Five



Public League Leaderboard

Scores from Fantasizr.


Yusho Arasoi

5 Wins

08 Komusubi #2 East Daieisho

19 Maegashira #5 West Midorifuji

23 Maegashira #7 West Takayasu

29 Maegashira #10 West Nishikifuji


Notable Maneuvers

Tsukihiza. That would be a "non-technique" that Mitakeumi won with. He and Wakatakakage were grappling, but Wakatakakage's knee did go down without much of a maneuver from the former Ozeki.


Match of the Day

09 Komusubi #2 West Tobizaru versus 07 Komusubi #1 West Kotonowaka

Probably smartly, Tobizaru did his very best to not get entangled with Kotonowaka and spent most of this match trying to run around to Kotonowaka's side for a surprise attack. Kotonowaka kept his feet as is his wont, but Tobizaru attacked again and again and again. Finally, Tobizaru ended up sideways to Kotonowaka, which allowed for the younger man to win with a hearty shove.


Recap

Four men are undefeated after one-third of the basho. Daieisho, Midorifuji, Takayasu, and Nishikifuji have taken on their first five opponents and stood tall. The Isegahama pair of Midorifuji and Nishikifuji have both been winning with their usual tricky approach, which doesn't always seem like it should keep up an undefeated streak. Takayasu hasn't looked like his old Ozeki version, but he's won convincingly. The most impressive by the eye test has been Daieisho, who is shoving past everyone he's faced so far with little resistance.

Daieisho does have a very tough match on Day Six, as he sees 4-1 Komusubi Kotonowaka. Kotonowaka's impressive size and excellent fundamentals may withstand Daieisho's tsuppari better than most. Takayasu has the easiest match on-paper, as he gets 0-5 Ichiyamamoto. Nishikifuji sees 3-2 veteran super-heavyweight Aoiyama. Midorifuji sees 4-1 Endo, who is always a challenge strategically and looks relatively healthy this March.

Kotonowaka and Endo are not the only 4-1 rikishi who pose a threat to the quartet leading the yusho race. 8 rikishi are sitting on one loss, including impressive debutants Kinbozan and Hokuseiho who may not be serious yusho threats but can play spoiler. Abi has been in yusho races before, and won it in November. The 12 rikishi with zero or one losses will end up facing each other more, and the 3-2 group isn't exactly out of things with ten matches left.

Heading into the middle of the tournament, each day's matchups will be important. A one-loss rikishi gets closer to the lead with each win, especially if it comes against an undefeated rikishi. Also, of course, stablemates Midorifuji and Nishikifuji can't face each other in regulation matches. The current crop of Makuuchi rikishi also seem fairly evenly matched, which means upsets aren't really that shocking. The struggles of lone Ozeki Takakeisho highlight this even more. If he can't steamroll everybody, it would be foolish to expect anyone else to either.

After five days, there appears to be no favorite for the Haru basho. Daieisho is in the best position, as the only undefeated rikishi ranked in Sanyaku. He is also a Komusubi who has most of his matches against fellow Sanyaku men ahead of him. The path for Midorifuji, Takayasu, and Nishikifuji is maybe more difficult, since if they keep winning they'll get the best performing Sanyaku wrestlers. Just know that matches up and down Makuuchi are going to make a difference this basho.
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