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Hatsu 2024 Day Fourteen




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Scores from Fantasizr.



Yusho Arasoi

12 Wins

01 Yokozuna East Terunofuji

05 Sekiwake East Kotonowaka


11 Wins

02 Ozeki #1 East Kirishima


Notable Maneuvers

Kirikaeshi. Onosato has had a successful debut tournament largely by overpowering other people with sheer size and strength. But after Sadanoumi got him in some trouble, he regrouped and pulled out a leg trip. The fact he has that in his bag should make the rest of Makuuchi even more concerned about what he can do in the future.


Match of the Day

02 Ozeki #1 East Kirishima versus 05 Sekiwake East Kotonowaka

With Hoshoryu's kyujo announcement, this match was easily the best on paper and it was also good on the dohyo. There were two false starts, with both matta happening when Kotonowaka jumped after Kirishima pointedly put down one hand. On the third try, they successfully began, and Kirishima went for the pushing attack. That resulted in the Ozeki getting his hand in Kotonowaka's face, but the Scion of Sadogatake stood there and took it. That allowed him to take charge by knocking away Kirishima's arms. The Mongolian found himself with his back to Kotonowaka, and it was all over from there.


Recap

The final match was anti-climactic, since Hoshoryu had to withdraw from the final two days with an ankle problem. That gave Terunofuji the free win, and a guaranteed Jun-Yusho, before the day began. Maybe more consequentially, it also gave him a bit of rest. A Yokozuna would never say it, but that's a good thing for his knees. He will be especially thankful if he has to go to a playoff.


And Kotonowaka made playoff scenarios more likely with his win over Kirishima. He was severely underwater against the Ozeki coming into Day Fourteen, but he managed to get his 4th win in 14 matches facing Kirishima. More crucially for the here and now, that was his 12th win of this basho. He is now back in a tie for the yusho lead. He also has 32 wins over three basho. 33 is considered the rule of thumb for an Ozeki promotion, but 32 can happen and a final day victory seals it.


A final day victory also would mean either an outright yusho or a playoff. That final day opponent is also not as difficult as it seemed it may be a few days ago. Instead of an Ozeki with a chance at a yusho, Kotonowaka will be squaring off with the 7-7 Maegashira #4 East Tobizaru thanks to Hoshoryu's injury. Tobizaru should not be taken lightly, because he is capable of things other rikishi are not. The career matchup is also just 7-6 in Kotonowaka's favor. But Kotonowaka is the Sekiwake for a reason, and he is fighting as well as he ever has this basho.


After Kotonowaka is done on the dohyo, he'll need to see what happens between Kirishima and Terunofuji. If the Sekiwake defeats Tobizaru, he gets the yusho with a Kirishima victory and a playoff with the Yokozuna with a Terunofuji win. If he loses to Tobizaru, we could see a three-way playoff between 12-3 Sanyaku men. Or Terunofuji wins outright if he gets the victory against Kirishima after a Kotonowaka loss.


However it ends, that's a fun way to cap a basho. Tobizaru and Hiradoumi are both still looking for their kachi-koshi, although they are the only 7-7 rikishi coming into the final day. The way Sanyaku will shake out is still slightly unsettled, although largely because of Kotonowaka's Ozeki chances. Daieisho will stay at Sekiwake, while Wakamotoharu and Abi have earned name ranks for March. Special Prizes will also be determined, although Kotonowaka and Onosato feel like extremely safe bets to get the extra hardware. Mostly, we'll just be waiting to see what happens in the final two matches.

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