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Hatsu 2022 Day Three

Torikumi


Banzuke


Notable Maneuvers

Tsukiotioshi. Kotoeko was technically credited with a thrust down for his win over Kaisei, but the best description of what he did was go from being totally bottled up at the edge to stepping sideways and sending Kaisei out and over. Apparently, that was a tsukiotoshi.


Match of the Day

Ozeki East Takakeisho versus Maegashira #2 East Ura

This felt like a mismatch, as Ura was very wobbly getting back up on Day Two and Takakeisho would have the power advantage anyway. Instead, Ura witshtood Takakeisho's initial blasts well and then worked on locking up the Ozeki. He never really locked up, but he prevented Takakeisho blasting him. That made the slapfest third act of the match give the momentum to Ura. The two awkwardly fell together in what may have been a throw attempt from someone. Gyoji pointed to Takakeisho, then the mono-ii said we needed a redo. Torinaoshi.


In the second match, Ura flat bossed Takakeisho and spun him around and then forced him over.


Recap

Neither Ozeki won on Day Three, and this basho is easily sliding towards the predicted Terunofuji dominance. Takakeisho lost after a wild match and a torinaoshi, which at least made him look game. Shodai had previously been dominated Daieisho. On the other hand, that was Takakeisho's second defeat in as many days. Terunofuji had little trouble tossing aside Kiribayama.


Of course, Ura could pull another upset when he faces Terunofuji on Day Four, and Shodai is just one loss behind still. More likely, Mitakeumi stays in contention long enough to threaten Terunofuji. He spent his third match bottling up Wakatakakage and getting his third win. This is the Mitakeumi who is a multiple yusho winner. And Onosho, Abi, Myogiryu, and Oho are all still undefeated and just need to focus on winning their next match. The Yokozuna and the Ozeki are not the only parts of the Banzuke that matter in a basho.


In fact, Hatsu could be part of an unfolding transition across sumo. The difference between lower Sanyaku and upper Maegashira is usually pretty thin, but the current group seems like a rough muddle. There also doesn't feel like a comet who is shooting through to an Ozeki run from Maegashira. Takanosho, Meisei, Daieisho, Wakatakakage, Kiribayama, and Ura all are in the position of needing a small elevation of their sumo to become Sanyaku mainstays. Then there is the veteran herd of Ichinojo, Endo, Okinoumi, and Tamawashi who are good enough to stay in the same range.


So let's look at Abi. Abi is in the middle of the age range of the above grouping, but currently on the outside looking in for Sanyaku. That is largely because he was suspended for four basho and had to go back down to Makushita. He probably would be hanging out either looking for an Ozeki run, or he would already have posed with the giant fish and be standing alongside Takakeisho and Shodai. But that is no guarantee. And despite his 15-3 record in his small time back in Makuuchi, there is no guarantee he even reclaims a Sanyaku slot.


Of course, the final man at 3-0 is all about the future. Oho is 21 and currently undefeated in the top division. He will lose at some point, probably pretty soon. He is part of a wave with Hoshoryu and Kotonowaka, along with a group in Juryo and upper Makushita. At some point, one of these youngsters will break through. January 2022 is probably not the time to topple Terunofuji. We have one Yokozuna for a reason, and he is fighting like it.

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