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Hatsu 2023 Day Fifteen




Public League Leaderboard

Scores from Fantasizr.


Yusho Arasoi

12 Wins

02 Ozeki West Takakeisho


11 Wins

07 Komusubi #1 East Kiribayama

35 Maegashira #13 East Kotoshoho


Notable Maneuver

Hansoku. Hair pulls are not uncommon, they've happened this basho a few times, but Hoshoryu won on the disqualification in a momentous match. Onosho's fistful of hair meant he lost a special prize and a Jun-Yusho. Also, Hoshoryu will keep his Sekiwake rank for another basho.


Match of the Day

07 Komusubi #1 East Kiribayama versus 19 Maegashira #5 East Ryuden

These two both enjoy a long and awkward mawashi battle, and they delivered. Kiribayama was fighting for a Technique Prize and a Jun-Yusho, while Ryuden only had pride on the line. Yet they still locked up tight from the jump. They ended up in a shoulder to shoulder hold, Kiribayama's right shoulder on Ryuden's left with hands on mawashis. They spun around the dohyo like this for a bit until Kiribayama found an opening to quickly switch grips. That gave him a yorikiri opportunity, and he took it.


Recap

Takakeisho gets his third yusho, and second as an Ozeki, by beating Kotoshoho. Perennially one of the youngest rikishi in Makuuchi, Takakeisho is now entering his veteran stage. Facing a young, athletic, and high performing rikishi for the Emperor's Cup, he outsmarted him. Using Kotoshoho's height against him, Takakeisho got inside and unleashed a sukuinage of all things. It was the third throw of the basho from sumo's premier pushing specialist. All in all, an impressive yusho for the Ozeki.

The question now is whether it's enough to get a Yokozuna promotion. He had a playoff loss jun-yusho in November, and the unofficial criteria is usually "Two consecutive yusho or yusho equivalents." That will be THE sumo conversation over the next few days, but it shouldn't overshadow that Takakeisho has reestablished himself as one of sumo's premier rikishi. If he's able to toss aside foes as well as shove them back or slap them down, then he may keep growing. He also looks as healthy as he has in awhile.

Special notice should also be made of the Jun-Yusho winners. This is the first runner up win for both Kiribayama and Kotoshoho. Intriguingly, it also doesn't feel like a fluke from either one, but instead an elevation of their sumo. Kiribayama was sitting at Komusubi, and his 11 wins are plenty to make it up to Sekiwake. That's also a possible start of an Ozeki run if he can keep the double-digit win totals coming. Kotoshoho showed he can handle the best of Makuuchi, and he is beginning to deliver on the promise he showed in 2020 before injury setbacks.

Hatsu 2023 may be remembered in the future as the basho where a generation of rikishi fell away. Okinoumi retired, Tochinoshin withdrew with the kind of injury that brings retirement whispers, and former Ozeki Shodai and Takayasu seemed unable to handle the top of sumo anymore. A crop of rikishi in their early to mid-20s, Takakeisho, Kiribayama, Kotoshoho, and Onosho, were in the yusho race on the final day. Even Hoshoryu looked dominant until his ankle injury. From Juryo, a wave of youngsters is coming.

But Hatsu is Takakeisho's basho this year. He didn't dominate like he could have, and he didn't get the 14 or 15 wins that were said to guarantee a Yokozuna promotion. He still won the cup. He is the best sekitori in sumo. The way he fought throughout the tournament should also be a signal to every other rikishi that he can keep it up over the whole year.
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