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  • Fantasy Basho

Hatsu 2024 Day Four

Public League Leaderboard

Scores from Fantasizr.

Notable Maneuvers

Okurinage. Hoshoryu beat Wakamotoharu with the uncommon "rear throw down." That means when he got behind a very game Wakamotoharu, the Ozeki decided to end it with a heavy throw instead of a simpler push out.

Match of the Day

02 Ozeki #1 East Kirishima versus 11 Maegashira #2 East Midorifuji

What Midorifuji really, really wanted to do was get his arms inside of Kirishima's arms. He didn't execute it flawlessly, but his continual efforts meant Kirishima was focused on finding his own beltless grip rather than his initial gameplan. Then, right when Kirishima seemed to actually gain momentum, Midorifuji whipped out his trademark katasukashi (under shoulder swing down.)


It was a day of oshidashi initially. 7 of the first 9 matches were won with the simple push out. (Sadly, on the day the pushing master Takakeisho pulled out with a neck injury.) The exceptions were an oshitaoshi and an okuridashi, which are basically variations. Although that pattern went away, the early matches seemed to have set a tempo for the rest of the matches that made them faster and slightly wild. What to do when the sumo gets off-kilter is a special problem.

Not every top-ranker handled it well. Kotonowaka and Hoshoryu took special challenges and quickly unleashed less-than-typical kimarite to win when they needed. Kirishima couldn't handle Midorifuji blowing up his effective sumo, so he fell down. Although that could be a Day Four blip, the issue is that one blip can make all the difference. If Hoshoryu gets 13 wins and Kirishima gets 12 wins, Kirishima will not make it to Yokozuna this basho. The way Hoshoryu and Kotonowaka are fighting, Kirishima needs to be perfect.

That is even tougher with Asanoyama fighting a lot like his Ozeki form, and he is the third undefeated rikishi alongside Kotonowaka and Hoshoryu. So far, Asanoyama looks like a Sanyaku regular beating mid-Maegashira. He is not a Sanyaku regular right now just because of injury. If he is healthy, and he looks good right now, he is a yusho contender. He won't face Sanyaku opponents yet, but it's coming if he keeps up his form. On Day Five, he gets the also strong looking Hiradoumi to make a challenge before he faces Sanyaku men.

Then there is the Yokozuna. Terunofuji's victory over Gonoyama was not a display that indicated he is healthy. Gonoyama pushed him back, and Terunofuji got off-balance fairly quickly. Yet Gonoyama was also unbalanced and Terunofuji's instincts kicked in. He grabbed Gonoyama's arm and sent him around and down. Terunofuji is still vulnerable, but he can hang in well enough to use his still amazing strength and heavy sumo technique.

The field is narrowing early, but it seems much more likely that someone will fall back than pull away. Plenty of rikishi look strong, and the upsets are happening enough for no one to feel overly confident against anyone. The Hatsu basho is kicking off 2024 well, and that's after just four days.

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