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  • Fantasy Basho

Haru 2024 Day Fifteen




Public League Leaderboard

Scores from Fantasizr.


Yusho Arasoi

13 Wins

42 Maegashira #17 East Takerufuji


11 Wins

03 Ozeki #1 West Hoshoryu

19 Maegashira #5 West Onosato

25 Maegashira #8 West Takayasu


Notable Maneuvers

Shitatenage. Hoshoryu was going backwards, with the force of Onosato coming down on him. Then he moved slightly sideways, grabbed Onosato's left arm, and unleashed a mighty underarm throw to send Onosato down and over.


Match of the Day

02 Ozeki #1 East Kirishima versus 05 Ozeki #2 West Kotonowaka

Kirishima finally looked like himself on Day Fifteen. Kotonowaka did get the small advantage at the tachiai, but Kirishima didn't immediately go backwards like he has all basho. Kirishima latched on and moved Kotonowaka backwards. Then Kotonowaka reversed the momentum. They kept that up for awhile, neither man getting a huge opening. Eventually, Kirishima attempted a trip. Kotonowaka didn't go down from that, but he did need to move. That allowed Kirishima to work his sumo, winning with an uwatenage as he was at the tawara. The gyoji initially pointed to Kotonowaka, but replays showed Kirishima kept his feet at the edge.


Recap

He did it. He actually did it. Takerufuji won over Gonoyama, securing a Yusho in his first Makuuchi tournament. Not only that, he came back on Day Fifteen after needing to go to a hospital after a Day Fourteen injury. This is not just a great performance, but one of a kind. He is the first rookie to win the Emperor's Cup in 110 years, and he did it when he seemed he may have to forfeit his final match. Instead, he came back and powered through Gonoyama's best effort. As an added emphasis, he won all three special prizes.


The Jun-Yusho will be shared by Hoshoryu, Onosato, and Takayasu, after Hoshoryu threw aside Onosato in their match. An 11-4 runner-up performance from an Ozeki is quite good, although it isn't what Hoshoryu would have wanted. He will be the top Ozeki in May, and he gets another chance at looking to hit his next level of sumo. Takayasu, meanwhile, had a rather quiet 11-4 after being 5-3 and never really in the yusho race. But the former Ozeki was in fine form by the end of Haru.


Onosato also can feel slightly disappointing, since he had the chance at a yusho if he threaded the needle right on Day Fifteen. He won two Special Prizes after getting 11 wins from Maegashira #5. He beat an Ozeki, two Sekiwake, and a Komusubi. He may even sniff Sanyaku for May, although he would need to jump a few rikishi ahead of him with winning records (Atamifuji, Tobizaru, and Hiradoumi). But Onosato has proven he is a live threat even when facing much of Sanyaku. A full joi slate may be a little tougher, but he's got a chance.


Onosato just got overshadowed this whole basho. Takerufuji's excellence from the jump made this his basho. The other storylines were the disappointing performance and early exit of Terunofuji, our lone Yokozuna, as well as the inconsistency of the Ozeki. That did give an opening for a Maegashira to do something, but Takerufuji truly dominated. His sumo is unspectacular--get the first step at the tachiai and don't stop--but it's also effective. Takerufuji is also subtly better strategically than he seems, willing to shove or grapple depending on what he gets.


Where it goes from here is anyone's guess. Takerufuji will get a massive jump in rank for May. The comparable scenario is Terunofuji's championship from the bottom of Makuuchi in his return basho in July 2020. The future Yokozuna got to Maegashira #1. And maybe that's all we should speculate for now, because he has more hurdles to even get to Sanyaku. Also, we should just appreciate this historic moment. A debutant won the yusho with a powerful 13-2 record, beating an Ozeki, a Sekiwake, and a Komusubi. He also got three Special Prizes. Whatever he does from now on, Takerufuji will always have March 2024.

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