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  • Fantasy Basho

Kyushu 2023 Day Five




Yusho Arasoi

5 Wins

04 Ozeki #2 West Hoshoryu

07 Sekiwake #2 East Kotonowaka

25 Maegashira #8 West Atamifuji

37 Maegashira #14 East Ichiyamamoto


4 Wins

02 Ozeki #1 East Takakeisho

03 Ozeki #1 West Kirishima

05 Sekiwake #1 East Daieisho

19 Maegashira #5 West Midorifuji

20 Maegashira #6 East Shonannoumi

33 Maegashira #12 West Tamawashi

39 Maegashira #15 West Churanoumi


Public League Leaderboard

Scores from Fantasizr.


Notable Maneuvers

Henka. Nishikifuji and Midorifuji both absolutely went sideways in a hit and shift approach to start their matches. Not sure what conversation happened at Isegahama-beya, but it missed Takarafuji and Atamifuji.


Match of the Day

16 Maegashira #4 East Gonoyama versus 04 Ozeki #2 West Hoshoryu

The actual bout here wasn't spectacular, but the pre-match made it unforgettable. Everything seemed as usual, with both men squatting at the shikiri-sen and the lower-ranked Gonoyama sticking his right hand down. Then they just stared at each other. The crowd picked up on what was happening immediately, and Gonoyama picked up his hand. Then he placed it back down and they just froze in a staredown for twenty seconds. After Gonoyama stood up, Hoshoryu followed and they engaged in a psychological battle over who would put their hands down first.


The lower-ranked (but older by a year) Gonoyama relented first, but the gyoji had to direct them to get on with it. Hoshoryu seemed ready for Gonoyama to explode at him, and his reactive pose allowed him to withstand the initial blast and turn the match around for a win punctuated by a hard shove and stare.


Recap

The match of the day between Gonoyama and Hoshoryu involved straight-ahead actual sumo despite its shenanigans before engagement. The on-paper intriguing match of Takakeisho-Takayasu saw an easy win for the current Ozeki after both men looked to go right at the start. The most impactful match on the leaderboard was Kotonowaka-Daieisho, where Kotonowaka very quickly dispatched Daieisho by immediately grabbing the right arm and sending his fellow Sekiwake over. The big matches were not full of fun back and forth.


Atamifuji did have a fun one once again, and his victory over Kotoeko puts him at 5-0, in a tie for the yusho leader with Hoshoryu, Kotonowaka, and Ichiyamamoto. His performances also make him seem worthy of being in the yusho race once again. Atamifuji looks like someone who can get regular pointers from Terunofuji. While his Yokozuna stablemate is still out with injury, Atamifuji's size, power, and balance combination will have to fill the Kaiju-shaped hole in current sumo. He isn't at the Yokozuna's level, but he's also 21 and the potential is there.


Ichiyamamoto, by contrast, is rolling people over without being convincing about his future performances. Ichiyamamoto has exactly one mode, pushing dead ahead right into his opponent with both hands going. That can be very effective, but it can also run into problems against bigger and stronger rikishi who can withstand the opening charge. On Day Five, he blast aside the debuting Kitanowaka. He may not be able to do that against more veteran competition.


Of course, all he can do is beat the guy in front of him. The guy in front of him is likely to not be another major contender just yet. The middle five days of a basho are going to probably avoid the major clashes, saving them for the closing kick. Ichiyamamoto will see the struggling Nishikifuji on Day Six. Nishikifuji did get a win with a desperation henka, and he could cause similar trouble. Likewise, the always game veteran Sadanoumi will be Atamifuji's opponent. These are rikishi who could pull the upset, but the undefeated rikishi should be favored.


At the top of the Banzuke, Hoshoryu sees a Maegashira in former Ozeki Takayasu. His only Sanyaku opponent so far has been Komusubi Hokutofuji. Hokutofuji will be Kotonowaka's Day Six opponent. Neither man may see another Sanyaku opponent for nearly a week. This next bit of the basho will be about who can keep pace. Kotonowaka is locked in, while Hoshoryu was in a mood against Gonoyama. Now they just have to keep it up for the next ten days.

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