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  • Fantasy Basho

Haru 2024 Day One




Public League Leaderboard

Scores from Fantasizr.



Notable Maneuvers

Katasukashi. Hoshoryu actually had a strong advantage on Ura after the tachiai, although neither man had a solid grip. Then Ura stepped to the side, grabbed Hoshoryu, and executed a wonderful under shoulder swing down.


Match of the Day

01 Yokozuna East Terunofuji versus 09 Komusubi West Nishikigi

Nishikigi came in with two wins over Terunofuji, and he started the match by getting the double outside grip. Since both men like that grip, it was an advantage, but Terunofuji showed his power by driving back Nishikigi and reworking his grip. But Nishikigi pushed back at the edge to get back in the center of the ring. When Terunofuji looked like he was maybe going for a throw or a shift of the hold, Nishikigi pushed the Yokozuna back for a yorikiri win. It wasn't a kinboshi, because Nishikigi is not a Maegashira, but it is a considerable upset.


Recap

It was a not a good day for pre-tournament favorites. Terunofuji losing is the headline, both because he is the lone Yokozuna and he looked so good last basho. He at least lost a competitive match. Kirishima had Abi blow up whatever he was trying from the word go, and then went straight to the clay. Hoshoryu got sideways to Ura, and he couldn't stay in the dohyo. Daieisho got pretty easily handled by Meisei. They'll all likely be better in the next few days, but they are all down one loss now.


That gives some spark to the Ozeki #2 pair Kotonowaka and Takakeisho. Kotonowaka took a heavy tachiai from Atamifuji, but then cast him aside with little work. That marked his first win as an Ozeki in his first match as an Ozeki. By contrast, Takakeisho has had over 300 matches as an Ozeki. He is also in more trouble, as he's once again Kadoban and needs 8 wins to maintain his rank. He didn't let Asanoyama (a former Ozeki himself) trouble him too much and won with a clever shifting hatakikomi. Right now, they hold the upper hand on their fellow Ozeki and the Yokozuna.


But that's after one match each. Day One can tell us very little about the overall course of a basho. Neither Kotonowaka nor Takakeisho looked like unstoppable monsters on the dohyo. They happened to win the awkward matches they were in, avoiding slipping and falling. Kirishima and Hoshoryu didn't look good, but they both are capable of week-long winning streaks. They also just really needed to focus. Terunofuji didn't even look too bad, but he ran into a secret nemesis as Nishikigi is now somehow 3-4 against the Kaiju.


The Day One tradition of overreacting can be applied outside the Sanyaku as well. Onosato was not slowed down by his overpromotion, handling Tsurugisho with ease. Shodai's serious demotion sees him in a favorable spot to use his unique gifts on the dohyo. He certainly made Kotoshoho off balance. Takerufuji has the ability to stay in Makuuchi and maybe can flirt with the yusho race. He certainly looked good against Daiamami. Perhaps they will all rack up double-digit wins.


For the March 2024 basho, we have one day's worth of evidence. Everyone has fourteen more matches in Osaka before we're done. That's plenty of time to right any ship, and see the most impressive competitor fall off. Yet the basic fact is that Terunofuji, Kirishima, and Hoshoryu will need to change things up and need a win on Day Two. The pressure, even if at a lower level, has already begun.

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