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  • Fantasy Basho

Hatsu 2023 Day One






Public League Leaderboard

Scores from Fantasizr.


Notable Manuevers

Isamiashi. Nishikifuji had his match against Ryuden seemingly in the bag, but Ryuden kept his feet well enough at the edge to allow Nishikifuji to step out behind him. That leads to the "non-technique" of the inadvertent step out.


Match of the Day

07 Komusubi #1 East Kiribayama versus 14 Maegashira #2 West Tamawashi

These two started with a slapfest, which would seemingly favor Tamawashi. As is his wont, however, Kiribayama made it slightly awkward and turned it into a half-grappling affair. That made Tamawashi get backed to the edge, where he threw Kiribayama over but also stepped out as he was doing it. Whether Kiribayama was down first or Tamawashi was out first was unclear. Mono-ii, a torinaoshi was called ,and they went again.


And then they had another good one. Kiribayama once again bossed the main part of the match, but Tamawashi showed he can still sense a rikishi's momentum and sent Kiribayama down for the win.


Recap

The top three competing rikishi won. We should probably start there. Takakeisho is aiming for a Yokozuna promotion if he gets a dominant enough yusho. Wakatakakage is a seven-time Sekiwake wanting to hold on to the rank again and possibly do more. Hoshoryu quite possibly is in the middle of an Ozeki run right now. All three set off their basho and calendar year with a win.

More importantly, they looked strong. Wakamotoharu gave his best shot at the Ozeki, but Takakeisho just reloaded and won easily. Meisei may have had a small advantage at the tachiai, then Wakatakakage went to work and won with a solid yorikiri. Tobizaru was just manhandled by Hoshoryu, who kept the Flying Monkey solidly grounded. Those men should be the pacesetters this tournament. They delivered on Day One.

Not every high ranker excelled. Takayasu did not seem to be at full strength against Daieisho, likely not yet shaking off his injury from Kyushu. Shodai didn't get immediately sent out by Mitakeumi, but he did walk backwards pretty easily the second time after fighting back the first time. Kotonowaka could not get any offense going against Abi, who looked like he carried his strong sumo from his yusho performance into the new year. This may also just be a case of sumo as zero-sum game. Every time two wrestlers mount the dohyo, someone will win and someone will lose.

Overreacting to Day One is the only thing anyone can do at the start of a basho, with the exception of making no claims about perfomances at all. Certainly, picking the rikishi who will light up lower Maegashira isn't any easier after one match. Takanosho showed good power again, while Kotoshoho kept his feet steady better than he has in a few months. They will both need to keep doing that to even sniff double-digit wins.

What can be said on Day One of Hatsu 2023 is that although we don't have our one Yokozuna competing and just one Ozeki on the Banzuke, the best are holding the line for now. The Sumo Association would like it to come down to Day Fifteen with a yusho decider between Takakeisho and a Sekiwake in the final match. Takakeisho, Wakatakakage, and Hoshoryu held up their end of the bargain on Day One. The real challenge is over the next two weeks.
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