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Haru 2024 Day Two




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Scores from Fantasizr.



Notable Maneuvers

Uwatenage. Takakeisho looked like he had withstood the force of Abi-zumo, pushing Abi backwards after a short tsuppari exchange. Yet Abi moved sideways at the edge, stuck his long arm out, and executed a winning over-arm throw.


Match of the Day

02 Ozeki #1 East Kirishima versus 12 Maegashira #2 East Atamifuji

Both Kirishima and Atamifuji were happy to lock up from the start, and that's what they did. Yet as so often happens with a grappling match, neither man seemed happy with their grip. Kirishima wanted to get deeper, then Atamifuji went for a throw. When Kirishima blocked that, the Ozeki attempted a pull. With veteran instincts, the youngster Atamifuji bulled ahead for the yorikiri win.


Recap

We have only had two days of action in the Haru Basho, yet we also have no undefeated Yokozuna or Ozeki. Terunofuji and Hoshoryu got in the win column with the kind of powerful sumo that indicates Day One was more of a blip. Meanwhile, Takakeisho and Kotonowaka had blips of their own. Losing to Abi and Asanoyama, respectively, is nothing embarrassing. A loss is still a loss. Kirishima, meanwhile, got his second loss after being swallowed up by Atamifuji. That is a little more worrying.


The highest-ranked undefeated rikishi is Wakamotoharu. He looks back on his best form, and he looks fully deserving of his return to Sekiwake. He has also been beating people he should be beating at his rank. That's not nothing, and for proof just see the above paragraph. Beating a Maegashira #3 and a Maegashira #2 is what a Sekiwake should do. Doing what he should do has given Wakamotoharu a leg up on his biggest competition.


Yet he may not have the best performance so far. Abi is 2-0, beating two Ozeki on the trot. He pushed aside Kirishima on Day One, then threw aside Takakeisho on Day Two. What is most notable about that is neither win was by textbook Abi-zumo. He did start by attacking his opponents with both hands, but he won after that didn't rock back his opponents. That's impressive, and he won like that in two of his toughest matches. On Day Three, he gets Sekiwake Daieisho, who is in poor form with two losses in two days.


The non-Sanyaku part of the Banzuke also has some intrigue. Onosato is not slowing down at Maegashira #5, and he ran right through Gonoyama on Day Two. He isn't in a spot to face Sanyaku wrestlers unless he is in the yusho race in the second week. But it shouldn't be forgotten he's still dominating without being in pro sumo for a full year. Other early strong performers of note are former Ozeki Takayasu and Makuuchi debutant Takerufuji. There are some rikishi who can take advantage of the weakness at the top of the Banzuke.


Yet the weakness at the top of the Banzuke isn't guaranteed to continue. Terunofuji sure looked strong on Day Two, so maybe he can win out from here. He is the only competing rikishi with any kind of track record of such a streak, but the Ozeki are all familiar with yusho races. Daieisho is a former yusho winner, as is Abi. Two days of sumo don't determine a basho, but the first two days of Haru have been so odd that it feels like they've already upset the expected nature of the tournament.

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