- Fantasy Basho
Kyushu 2022 Day Two
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Scores from Fantasizr.
Hikkake. Tamawashi had Hoshoryu going backwards, but then the youngster unleashed an effective "arm-grabbing force out."
Match of the Day
Sekiwake #1 East Wakatakakage versus Komusubi #1 West Kiribayama
Wakatakakage never really had a good grip, but he did manage to get his head into Kiribayama's chest while holding on. That could not have been comfortable for the Sekiwake, but it was also unpleasant for Kiribayama. Neither man really had control in the match, but Wakatakakage worked to push out the Komusubi for his first win in an interesting display of sumo.
Day Two is still in overreaction territory, but two matches says a lot more than one match for certain rikishi. In particular, the top of the Banzuke has some clear standouts. Without Terunofuji, the race is more wide open. However, an Ozeki stands tall right now. Takakeisho has two convincing wins over serious opponents in Daieisho and Kotonowaka. He has to get through thirteen more matches, but sitting undefeated and in-form is a good sign for the Ozeki.
By contrast, Hoshoryu also sits at 2-0, but he did it in much less convincing fashion. He was essentially beat on Day One by Kotonowaka, but did a nice tawara dance to stay in just long enough to get the victory. On Day Two, Tamawashi pushed him back and the younger man needed to pull off a nice escaping shift and pull. Those matches don't speak to dominating sumo going forward, but all wins count the same. Hoshoryu also has two wins in the bank from a top position.
The other two Sanyaku men without a loss are Mitakeumi and Tobizaru. Mitakeumi is fighting to return to Ozeki after looking shaky for a few tournaments. He is looking steady, but unspectacular, fighting within himself to avoid unnecessary exertions to maximize his chances for the 10 wins that re-promote him. Tobizaru on the other hand seems to be more fully embracing his Flying Monkey tendencies to keep his Komusubi rank. He's gotten bolder and wilder, which is always more fun and has led to two wins so far.
Interestingly, the only winless rikishi in Sanyaku is defending champion Tamawashi. He hasn't been overwhelmed against either Ichinojo or Hoshoryu, he just lost the last exchange in both matches. The Maegashira #1 West Kotonowaka is the next man without a win on the Banzuke. He, too, has not been bowled over, but was in both of his matches to some extent. If the dohyo was slightly bigger, he might have even turned Takakeisho before stepping out on Day Two.
So the top section of the Banzuke still feels extremely even. They may not all beat up on each other, but whoever scrapes through like a race car driver avoiding a pileup will get the advantage. Then someone among the lower Maegashira (Abi, Takanosho, and Hiradoumi have looked the strongest) will pile up wins and may get a shot at who survives among the top rankers. Kyushu is already set up to be exciting, and it's only just started.