- Fantasy Basho
Nagoya 2022 Day Twelve
Public League Leaderboard
Yokozuna East Terunofuji
Maegashira #2 West Ichinojo
Ozeki #1 East Takakeisho
Ozeki #2 West Shodai
Maegashira #6 West Tobizaru
Maegashira #8 West Nishikigi
Maegashira #14 East Myogiryu
Maegashira #17 East Nishikifuji
Sotogake. Terutsuyoshi really wanted a fourth straight leg pick, but Sadanoumi blew that up. Then after Sadanoumi got a grip, he decided to mess with Terutsuyoshi's legs by unleashing an "outside leg trip."
Match of the Day
Maegashira #6 West Tobizaru versus Maegashira #2 West Ichinojo.
In what may be the styles-clash of the tournament, each man's objective was clear. Tobizaru wanted to avoid a grip from the bigger Ichinojo, while Ichinojo wanted to keep the quicker Tobizaru in front. They both achieved their initial goal, but it proved that Ichinojo is in good form. Ichinojo moved nimbly enough to get a grip at one point, which moved Tobizaru back. Tobizaru did slip out for a second, but he still got pushed out due to overwhelming momentum.
The basho proceeds with another heya kyujo due to COVID, but Asakayama stable has no Makuuchi rikishi. Juryo man Kaiyo is out, and another stable could need to pull out. Yet Makuuchi seemed somewhat normal. No one had a fusen win, and the matchups went as planned. That was a good thing, because the usual informal playoff that happens towards the end of a sumo basho has begun.
Many rikishi fell down the leaderboard. Nishikifuji was pulled aside and then down by Tochinoshin, who proved a veteran who can keep his feet is one of the toughest opponents. Ichinojo let Tobizaru bounce himself around and out. Takakeisho knocked off Nishikigi. Nishikigi was game, but Takakeisho kept pushing and never allowed Nishikigi to do his sumo. The top Ozeki is now one off the leaders, and Nishikigi joins Nishikifuji, Tobizaru, and Myogiryu as the Maegashira at 8 wins. They are now two back from Terunofuji and Ichinojo, who continue to maintain their lead.
Also on 8 wins is Shodai. The significant thing for Shodai personally is that he has cleared Kadoban and will once again be an Ozeki in September. He also has an outside shot at the yusho. He gets Takakeisho on Day Thirteen, and then presumably Terunofuji on Day Fourteen. He's faced Ichinojo already, so his final match is probably Wakatakakage. That's as tough a final trio of matches as anyone may have, but Shodai has been fighting very well for a week. He has, in fact, won seven straight.
The favorite is still Terunofuji, because a Yokozuna should probably always be the favorite. He has also been impressive enough to win consistently, although every time he moves laterally he seems pained. Terunofuji is too big, too strong, and too smart for most rikishi. Even when he gets beat at the tachiai or doesn't have the grip he wants, Terunofuji can pull out a win. He will see Wakatakakage on Day Thirteen, probably followed by Shodai and then Takakeisho.
That last match is what can make this basho end with a bang. If Terunofuji, Ichinojo, and Takakeisho all win their next two matches, Day Fifteen could set up that Takakeisho can pull Terunofuji down to his level in a final match. An Ichinojo loss at any time makes a playoff a much more live option. Then if Shodai wreaks havoc, the playoff gets more likely. Even if Terunofuji wins out, he has to win against the strongest opponents. That's pretty good, too.