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  • Fantasy Basho

Haru 2023 Day Two

Public League Leaderboard

Scores from Fantasizr.

Notable Maneuver

Katasukashi. Normally, the under-shoulder swing down is an athletic counter pulled almost as a surprise (cf. Midorifuji, the master of the maneuver). Yet Kotonowaka beat Ryuden with a katasukashi that looked like a combo of heavy throw and slap down from a seemingly stalled mawashi battle.

Match of the Day

05 Sekiwake #2 East Kiribayama versus 11 Meagashira #1 West Shodai

Kiribayama is looking to jump to Ozeki, while Shodai is recovering from his recent Ozeki demotion. Both looked good on Day One, and they came right at each other. Kiribayama qucikly got Shodai moving backwards, then Shodai came back, but it happened again. On the second comeback, Shodai grabbed Kiribayama's mawashi and powered him backwards in a display of strength that makes Shodai as good as he's been in awhile.


Day Two is still a little bit of overreaction territory, but Haru's Day Two also calmed some other overreactions. In particular, Takakeisho managed to handle Tamawashi well. His Yokozuna chance is not gone, although it's still not on track like he would have wanted. He will be behind the eight-ball no matter what. The easy, powerful oshidashi win on Day Two was classic Takakeisho. That should bode well.

Oddly, his third match will be consequential. Takakeisho will see the 2-0 and surprisingly strong Shodai. Shodai manhandled Hoshoryu on Day One and Kiribayama on Day Two, and he will be aiming for a third Sanyaku scalp after just three days. That's a huge advantage as he goes through the rest of the basho if he wins. And a Takakeisho loss would make him need to almost win out to get the yusho and Yokozuna promotion. You'll rarely see a more impactful day three bout.

Another reason that match is key is that the Sekiwake have not shined while Takakeisho struggled. Wakatakakage and Hoshoryu lost their second matches on Day Two. The real problem was that neither looked very good. Wakatakakage could not handle Daieisho in a way that makes it unclear who he may handle. Hoshoryu attempted to hit Abi back hard from the start and be done, but he just ended up touching the ground with his hand before Abi stepped out. Kiribayama looked great on Day One, but was outgunned by Shodai after a good start on Day Two.

So maybe the story of the basho will come from the Komusubi. The quartet at the lowest Sanyaku rank are all 2-0. Wakamotoharu, Kotonowaka, Daieisho, and Tobizaru are very different rikishi who are at lower Sanyaku in different circumstances. Wakamotoharu used steady and assured sumo to make a surprising Sanyaku run, and he is fighting his brand of sumo. Tobizaru is as wild as Wakamotoharu is controlled, but is also a late-prime undersized rikishi who may be at his ceiling. Daieisho has been a lower Sanyaku regular and owns a yusho to his name already. Kotonowaka is the youngest member of the group, has the highest ceiling, and has looked the best with his powerful, fundamentally sound sumo.

Of course, sumo is built to have the top ranked wrestlers all face each other, so the Komusubi won't all stay undefeated too long. There is also no guarantee that Wakatakakage, Hoshoryu, or any other 0-2 rikishi will keep struggling. And if a contender does emerge from Komusubi, they'll get other difficulties. Watch out for debutants Kinbozan and Hokuseiho, who seem too big and too good for lower Maegashira already. Maybe they'll be the surprise contenders that get a few Sanyaku match late in the basho. Mostly, just keep in mind we're still only two days in.
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