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  • Fantasy Basho

Hatsu 2023 Day Three




Public League Leaderboard

Scores from Fantasizr.


Notable Manuevers

Okuridashi. Wakatakakage moved right in on Tobizaru as soon as Tobizaru's back was to him. That's why the simple rear push out can sometimes be quite impressive.


Match of the Day

12 Maegashira #1 West Daieisho versus 02 Ozeki West Takakeisho

These two were never getting into a marathon belt battle, but they showed a shove fest can be a great match. At the tachiai, they both went tsuppari, exchanging blows with heavy hits and bloody faces but nobody really gaining ground. Then Daieisho started moving Takakeisho backwards. The Ozeki then won at the edge with a heavy sideways shove as he was twisting on the tawara.


Recap

The key match of the day coming in was Hoshoryu and Mitakeumi, who both stood at 2-0. Instead of a classic, Hoshoryu got low, grabbed the front of Mitakeumi's mawashi, and easily took him back over the edge. He remains the sole unbeaten Sanyaku wrestler, and he looks like the best wrestler on the dohyo. The 23 year old's combo of strength and skills are coming to the fore, at a time when the rest of Sanyaku isn't exactly dominating.

Hoshoryu does not have a clear path after three days, because there is so much more of the basho left. Tamawashi and Abi, the two most recent yusho winners, are also sitting at 3-0. Abi, in particular, looks to be in his best form. It is Tamawashi who gets the first chance to face Hoshoryu, as the veteran Mongolian faces the younger Mongolian on Day Four. Abi gets Shodai, who looked surprisingly frisky on Day Four. A 4-0 battle between Abi and Hoshoryu may be in the works for Day Five, but nothing is guaranteed day-to-day.

The other 3-0 rikishi should get a mention as well. Onosho, Aoiyama, Kotoshoho, and Takarafuji are all undefeated. They also all were not exactly pre-basho favorites. Takarafuji had a disastrous Kyushu basho, and he's feasted on the bottom of the Banzuke. Aoiyama has shown his veteran know-how and immense bulk are still tough to face. Onosho and Kotoshoho have always been promising wrestlers whose sumo often gets out of wack. Predicting continued dominance from any seems unlikely, but somebody has to rack up wins in lower Maegashira. They're most likely to do it.

What is also notable is that racking up wins at the top of the Banzuke is once again difficult. There are four Sekiwake and four Komusubi because a large number of wrestlers have been good enough to be ranked in lower Sanyaku recently. There are two fewer Ozeki than there were six months ago, and upper Maegashira were not getting battered like they usually do. Even Takakeisho and Wakatakakakage have held their high ranks, but without consistently getting 10 wins. Yet no one has had an Ozeki run either, showing nobody is able to assert themselves against everyone else.

Hoshoryu could be doing that right now. He is looking better than any other rikishi at the moment, but the key is winning each match. Hoshoryu has a chance to go on an Ozeki run, which involves winning double digits this basho and next basho. It may take even more than just 10 wins each time out. Yet the way to get 10 wins is to beat the next guy up, and that is what Hoshoryu and every other rikishi must do.
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