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  • Fantasy Basho

Nagoya 2023 Day One

Public League Leaderboard

Scores from Fantasizr.

Notable Maneuvers

Abisetaoshi. Meisei seemed to be about to get yorikiried by Asanoyama, but then decided to just tackle him for the win. Impressive show of pure power by Meisei.

Match of the Day

04 Sekiwake #1 East Hoshoryu versus 10 Maegashira #1 West Tobizaru

Not the prettiest sumo, but a match that can be endlessly discussed and watched again and again and again. Hoshoryu got the advantage at the tachiai. Tobizaru doesn't move backwards, however, and so he got the match moving around the dohyo. As Hoshoryu wanted to keep grappling, he performed a throw attempt on Tobizaru's right arm. Tobizaru spun around to fall flat on his back. Meanwhile, Hoshoryu swiped towards the ground with his right hand trying to keep his balance. There was no review, but replays made it seem like Hoshoryu touched some dirt. There may have been an argument Tobizaru staring at the ceiling made the dead body rule the reason for Hoshoryu's win. Even with that scenario, the timing is hard to figure out.


Yokozuna Terunofuji won. All three Sekiwake Hoshoryu, Daieisho, and Wakamotoharu, each of whom have theoretical Ozeki promotion possibilities, won. The three Makuuchi debutants Gonoyama, Shonannoumi, and Hakuoho, all won. Hiradoumi and Hokuseiho, young rikishi at their highest ever rank, won. In all, it was a good Day One for the Nagoya basho, which betokens well for sumo's future.

The present is still a bit confusing. The two Ozeki did not win, as both will be kyujo for the whole tournament. Takakeisho's absence was announced when the torikumi was announced. Kirishima withdrew on Day One, giving Nishikigi a crucuial fusen win. They both will be kadoban in September, and the threat of a Banzuke with no Ozeki is alive once again. That places more importance on the performances in Nagoya by the Sekiwake. Daieisho and Wakamotoharu were strong, while Hoshoryu won in extremely odd circumstances. For all three, they got what they needed on Day One.

The first match of the day in Makuuchi, between Aoiyama and Hakuoho, could be seen as representative of the whole basho. Aoiyama just turned 37, while Hakuoho is not quite 20. Aoiyama is fighting to lengthen his Makuuchi career just a little longer, and Hakuoho is making his debut. Aoiyama has had a great career that is winding down, while Hakuoho is one of the most exciting prospects in years. Hakuoho got the victory, but he had to work to come under Aoiyama's signature alternating tsuppari. Transitions sometimes take some work and time.

Terunofuji is also still leading the way. As the only Yokozuna, he will be fighting at the end of each day from the East side. On Day One, he handled Abi with little effort. His knees will bother him in some match this tournament, and he can be moved if someone is fast enough. The problem is that he is so big and so strong, he usually gets people done away with before they can move. Terunofuji should be the favorite for any sumo tournament he shows up for until he retires or a new wrestler shows he is just as good. Maybe Hoshoryu, Hokuseiho, or Hakuho is that guy eventually, but they aren't close yet.

On Day Two, the Sanyaku wrestlers will all avoid each other. That gives the top-ranked men a chance to all win and keep their yusho (and promotion for the Sekiwake) hopes alive. That can be a little unexciting for the fans on the Day, but it can set up more for the future. Nagoya could be about the future more than anything. Except that Terunofuji is on the dohyo, competing, and has a chance to expand his legend. For right now, sumo is still his domain.

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