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Haru 2023 Day Three




Public League Leaderboard

Scores from Fantasizr.


Notable Maneuver

Henka. Technically, Tobizaru beat Nishikigi with a tsukiotoshi and he did get a relatively quick grip, but he sidestepped from the start for the basho's first henka.


Match of the Day

07 Komusubi #1 West Kotonowaka versus 04 Sekiwake #1 West Hoshoryu

Kotonowaka has looked strong, while Hoshoryu has looked less than 100% over the first two days. The opening of this match looked like the pattern would continue. Kotonowaka wrapped up Hoshoryu and worked him to the edge. The tawara got Hoshoryu back in and he moved the match around, fighting and scrapping. Hoshoryu did still look less than ideal, but he was so disruptive that Kotonowaka couldn't handle him and went backwards and out.


Recap

The highest-ranked rikishi with three wins is Komusubi #2 East Daieisho. After three days, that is certainly startling. Fellow Komusubi is also at 3-0, but then you have to reach down to Maegashira #5 West Midorifuji. There are 9 rikishi overall who are still undefeated, a not unusual ratio of rikishi this early in a basho. The fact it's only the two lowest Sanyaku wrestlers and mid-Maegashira down that has it is strange. Even weirder, none of them will square off on Day Four.

None of that means Takakeisho, Kiribayama, Wakamotoharu, or Kotonowaka are out of it at 2-1. A Sanyaku man is always better positioned to win, because they will be able to put dirt on everyone else. Takakeisho beat Shodai the way he beats anyone he doesn't immediately overwhelm, keeping up a shoving attack Shodai could do nothing with. The Yokozuna chance is very much still alive, but Takakeisho needs to keep winning and he only faces the top men by definition.

The marquee matches on Day Four will be Takakeisho vs Abi, Wakatakakage vs Shodai, and Kiribayama vs Wakamotoharu. Other than Wakatakakage, who is 0-3 but also a Sekiwake, these men are all on 2-1. The ones who land on 3-1 after Day Four will feel like they are in a better position than the 2-2 rikishi, but anyone could win any of those three matches. No one has a slam dunk victory on their hands among the possible yusho favorites in Sanyaku.

If Takakeisho faces anyone below Maegashira #4, then it will be because someone has dominated the lower Maegashira ranks. As much as we don't know who will emerge among the Sanyaku, we really can't say who will stand out among Maegashira by week two. Midorifuji has been good, but fighting in close matches. Takayasu is looking more like his old self, but he has had a tendency to fade in the second week and wasn't healthy in January. Hokuseiho is gigantic and looks too strong for any opponent, but he's also 21 and in his first Makuuchi basho. There are six others with 3-0 records and similarly mixed outlooks.

The focus should maybe stay on who is inching ahead in Sanyaku, but for everyone the story is the same for the next few days. Whoever strings together a few wins in a row will be set apart. That's not only because that rikishi gains more wins, but they will inevitably be handing losses to competitors. Yet we get to have this view on Day Three, not Day Eight or Ten or Twelve. That's how we know Haru is going to be a fun one.
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