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  • Fantasy Basho

Haru 2024 Day Ten




Public League Leaderboard

Scores from Fantasizr.


Yusho Arasoi

10 Wins

42 Maegashira #17 East Takerufuji


8 Wins

05 Ozeki #2 West Kotonowaka

19 Maegashira #5 West Onosato


Notable Maneuvers

Yes, technically, Ura won by a simple oshidashi. But he got there by opening his match against Nishikigi with a leg pick. So let's call it an almost ashitori.


Match of the Day

42 Maegashira #17 East Takerufuji versus 19 Maegashira #5 West Onosato

The two men with the best records in Haru, and the least experience in Makuuchi, faced off on Day Ten. There was plenty happening here, although it was clear. Onosato got Takerufuji stopped at the tachiai for a second, but Takerufuji very quickly got both hands under Onosato's arms. That moved the bigger man backwards, but at the tawara Onosato stood up and attempted a reversal. Takerufuji just kept powering Onosato over and down.


Recap

Takerufuji has the lead, which he has had most of the basho, but now we're getting to something else. Takerufuji, the Makuuchi rookie ranked at the bottom of the Banzuke, now has a two win lead over his nearest competition. Since he beat Onosato, that moved Onosato a further loss back. He is joined only by Kotonowaka, the shin-Ozeki who has proven worthy of the rank. Kotonowaka can make the yusho race a lot more interesting on Day 11, since he gives Takerufuji his first Ozeki test.


And unless Kotonowaka does prevail on Day Eleven, Takerufuji becomes uncatchable pretty quickly. Already, anyone with a 7-3 record not only likely needs to win out but have Takerufuji lose three times in his last five matches. That would only allow for a playoff, not even a clear yusho win. There are also six rikishi with 3 losses currently. Maegashira Gonoyama, Takayasu, Mitakeumi, and Shonannoumi are towards the top of the leaderboard and possibly also out of the yusho race.


That is not as true for Ozeki Hoshoryu and Takakeisho. Takakeisho gets Onosato on Day Eleven, which means the longest serving Ozeki has a chance to pull someone ahead of him back. That would leave Takakeisho with four matches and three direct competitors he has yet to face in Takerufuji, Hoshoryu, and Kotonowaka. Hoshoryu sees Daieisho on Day Eleven, so he would have space for all four other main contenders on his dance card. Hoshoryu and Takakeisho need Takerufuji to lose twice otherwise if they can put dirt on him.


There's still the open question about whether anyone can do that to Takerufuji. Onosato was a massive opponent, both literally and figuratively. Takerufuji didn't win as fast as he has previously in the basho, but only because his previous standard was blink-and-you'll-miss-it. Takerufuji's sumo is straightforward, but more complex than it seems. He has not let any opponent do their own brand of sumo or even much kind of sumo at all. He gets positioning immediately, and seems to never place his hands or feet wrong. Takerufuji's strength also seems surprising to opponents.


That's no guarantee Takerufuji can survive the Ozeki gauntlet. No matter what happens in his Day Eleven bout with Kotonowaka, Takakeisho and Hoshoryu are likely his next two opponents in some order. A loss still keeps Takerufuji as sole leader. If one Ozeki can't do it, another will get the chance. Takerufuji is in position for a historic yusho, but he's not there yet.

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