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  • Fantasy Basho

Kyushu 2023 Day Eight




Yusho Arasoi

7 Wins

37 Maegashira #14 East Ichiyamamoto


6 Wins

03 Ozeki #1 West Kirishima

04 Ozeki #2 West Hoshoryu

07 Sekiwake #2 East Kotonowaka

17 Maegashira #4 West Nishikigi

19 Maegashira #5 West Midorifuji

25 Maegashira #8 West Atamifuji

28 Maegashira #10 East Ryuden

33 Maegashira #12 West Tamawashi

39 Maegashira #15 West Churanoumi


Public League Leaderboard

Scores from Fantasizr.



Notable Maneuvers

Kotenage. Three rikishi beat their opponents with the arm lock throw on Day Eight, with three different flavors. Tamawashi dramatically cast aside Churanoumi. Atamifuji used an arm lock to slowly topple Takanosho. And Nishikigi's throw caused Hoshoryu to slip and hit the clay.


Match of the Day


02 Ozeki #1 East Takakeisho versus 10 Maegashira #1 East Asanoyama

Asanoyama sat out the first seven days with a calf injury, then got an Ozeki as soon as he came back. Takakeisho made it his kind of a match from the outset, never allowing Asanoyama to get a grip. But Asanoyama held firm, and eventually worked closer to Takakeisho to get the mawashi. Then Takakeisho went back to the edge and attempted a sidestep-thrust-down-slap-down kind of thing that sent them tumbling at basically the same time. The gyoji pointed to Asanoyama and a mono-ii was called. The decision was upheld and Asanoyama got his first win of Kyushu.


Recap

Ichiyamamoto is 7-1, leading the Kyushu basho by himself, and is in position to threaten for the yusho. He is in the form of his career, pushing aside opponents with a flurry of arm thrusts. He is also keeping his feet well in the ring and staying inside himself, instead of his past habit of being unable to recover when things went wrong. After winning the Juryo yusho in September, he is on pace for his career best Makuuchi performance. As a Maegashira #14 with a middling Makuuchi track record, he isn't likely to withstand a week two jump in strength of schedule. But he's he frontrunner now.


Ichiyamamoto's odds for a yusho win are also not particularly high because of the crowd behind him. He's the only 7-1 rikishi right now, but an amazing 9 rikishi are at 6-2. That includes two Ozeki, one Sekiwake, three former yusho winners, and last basho's jun-yusho winner. (NOTE: There's overlap in that count.) And Ichiyamamoto will have to fend off one of those 6-2 rikishi on Day Nine when he sees the Ageless Wonder Tamawashi. Even if Ichiyamamoto wins that, he will face an increasingly uphill battle as he starts to see opponents above Maegashira #11.


The two rikishi who could have joined Ichiyamamoto on 7 wins today had rough losses. Kotonowaka has now dropped two straight matches, and he never really had an answer for Shodai's ability to bounce every attack back. Hoshoryu was moving Nishikigi back, but lost his footing when Nishikigi regrouped. Neither man is on track to collapse, but any sense of invincibility is surely gone. There is a blueprint to beat them, although it's easier on paper than the dohyo.


The most impactful loss long-term may be Takakeisho's defeat to Asanoyama. His Yokozuna chances aren't gone, but he absolutely will need to win all 7 matches over the final week. An 11-4 Yusho is rare even if he did it in September, and 7 more wins gets him 12. The challenge of this task can be seen by considering Kotonowaka's Ozeki run, something that will require the Sekiwake to go undefeated. Takakeisho being Yokozuna and Kotonowaka being Ozeki in January are mutually exclusive possibilities. They still need to face each other, meaning they will not be able to both go undefeated.


That kind of winnowing of the leaders will actually begin on Day Nine. Kotonowaka will see Hoshoryu in a musubi no ichiban that eliminates someone from contention. Takakeisho gets Nishikigi, who is in the 6-2 group. Kirishima sees Asanoyama, who looks like he's come back from injury to play spoiler. (If he goes undefeated, he'll be in Sanyaku again in January, but that really seems like a long-shot.) With a spread out and big leader pack, the big matches are all over the Banzuke now.

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