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  • Fantasy Basho

Kyushu 2023 Day Thirteen

Yusho Arasoi

11 Wins

03 Ozeki #1 West Kirishima

25 Maegashira #8 West Atamifuji

Public League Leaderboard

Scores from Fantasizr.

Notable Maneuvers

Okuridashi. Tobizaru decided the challenge of Hokuseiho's height was best dealt with by pushing him straight up and then slipping around behind. That gave him a rear push out win.

Match of the Day

14 Maegashira #3 East Takayasu versus 25 Maegashira #8 West Atamifuji

Both Takayasu and Atamifuji wanted to get a grip, but both were also able to get locked in on each other. Their hands mostly stayed interlocked with hands on the other man's sides. That made for an interesting match where Takayasu kept moving the much younger Atamifuji back. But veteran skill couldn't knock back Atamifuji for good, especially since the actual grip and/or push wasn't as powerful as it could be. Yet it was Atamifuji who kept the match going and found the way to a shove out win.


The most important matches for the yusho race were the losses by Ichiyamamoto and Kotonowaka. Ichiyamamoto went hard and fast at the tachiai, which allowed Midorifuji to read him for a simple hit and shift for the win. Kotonowaka got fully wrapped up by Ryuden in his awkward fighting best. Kotonowaka was always at an odd angle and never achieved real offense. With Ichiyamamoto and Kotonowaka's losses that means only Kirishima and Atamifuji can win.

And they will square off on Day Fourteen. That does not mean the yusho will be decided on the penultimate day, since the winner could lose on Day Fifteen and keep the chance of a playoff alove. The fact one of Kirishima or Atamifuji will win means that no one on 9 wins can get the 11 win Emperor's Cup. Either Kirishima will be in line for the Yokozuna promotion chance in March or Atamifuji will get his first Yusho at just 21. That's slightly older than Hakuho's first Yusho and doesn't come near Takanohana's record of being just 19 for his first. But that would be the kind of rikishi whose company he'd be in.

Kirishima is looking better than anyone else fighting at the moment. He has been contained, focused, and decisive without losing his strength or skill. It's made much of his Kyushu a little boring in some ways, but that's a sign of effective sumo sometimes. Additionally, he can pull out the tough match when needed. Since his Day Six defeat to Gonoyama, he's been on a 7 match win streak, including beating all three Sekiwake in the last three days. This is the look of a man who is worthy of sumo's top rank.

Yet Atamifuji could easily beat him. Atamifuji has the ideal sumo frame, coupled with a significant set of skills. The most impressive thing about his sumo has been his ability to go to Plan B and even Plans C, D, and E. Against Takayasu, a master of taking a less-than-ideal situation and turning it to his advantage, he outlasted the current king of long matches. This is not just a young talent bowling everyone else over, but a young talent who can do that fighting like a ten-year Makuuchi veteran. It's a scary combo.

Despite the two-man yusho race, plenty of other rikishi are fighting for something. Two straight wins could still possibly give Kotonowaka an Ozeki promotion, and at least sets him up to shoot again in January. Abi is trying to hang on to a Sanyaku spot. Tohakuryu is looking to avoid an immediate return to Juryo with two wins over the final two days. The quintet of Takakeisho, Kotonowaka, Midorifuji, Ryuden, and Ichiyamamoto could all still get the Jun-yusho if things end right for them.

It's all going to be about the Atamifuji-Kirishima match to close the day on Day Fourteen, however.

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