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  • Fantasy Basho

Nagoya 2023 Day Six




Public League Leaderboard

Scores from Fantasizr.

Yusho Arasoi

6 Wins

09 Maegashira #1 East Nishikigi


5 Wins

04 Sekiwake #1 East Hoshoryu

21 Maegashira #7 East Takayasu

22 Maegashira #7 West Tamawashi

26 Maegashira #9 West Hokutofuji

33 Maegashira #13 East Gonoyama

39 Maegashira #16 East Endo


Notable Maneuvers

Sotogake. On Day Six, Midorifuji got the lesson that you need to watch your feet against Hoshoryu, as he lost to an outside leg trip.


Match of the Day

19 Maegashira #6 East Hokuseiho versus 16 Maegashira #4 West Ura

On paper, this was going to be a weird one: an impossibly tall rikishi with an upright style against a widebodied yet athletic shorter wrestler. Somehow, the actual match topped all expectations. Ura wanted to get to Hokuseiho's side, and Hokuseiho wanted a grip. They both got it, leaving Hokuseiho's long right arm reaching to his side for Ura's belt. And then they moved around and around and around, both looking like they'd fall over or out and neither getting a good position. Eventually, Ura somehow got behind Hokuseiho and looked like he wanted to suplex Hokuseiho backwards. Then he thought better of it and got a very awkward but satisfying okuridashi win.


Recap

Nishikigi is now the lone undefeated rikishi after handling Abi's best. For a split second, Abi seemed like he might push Nishikigi back and out. Instead, Nishikigi kept is feet and once again won with little expended effort. On Day Seven, he sees Kotonowaka. The fundamentally strong scion of Sadogatake is the last Sanyaku wrestler Nishikigi can face. He will only face Maegashira through week two, which is no guarantee of remaining undefeated. It is certainly easier on paper.


Gonoyama and Takayasu fell from the ranks of the undefeated to allow Nishikigi sole leader status. Gonoyama fell to a game Hakuoho. Gonoyama handed then-Ochiai his one regulation loss in Juryo during May, and then also handed him a playoff loss for the Yusho. Hakuoho got his revenge even in a thrusting match. Gonoyama was bound to get a loss as a Maegashira at some point, and Hakuoho was one of his biggest dangers. (And there's a five year difference between these two standout debutants, which is another sign of Hakuoho's ceiling.) Gonoyama gets the other debuting rikishi on Day Seven in Shonannoumi.


Takayasu's loss to Onosho feels a little less like something he can just move on from. Takayasu is always a small injury risk, and he has battled back injuries in particular. Against Onosho, who also often looks out of sorts himself, Takayasu never had his offense going. A Takayasu who is in control of a match will be a danger to anyone. A Takayasu who can get on skates needs to worry about his health. Of course, he could immediately rebound against the up-and-down Nishikifuji on Day Seven.


The rest of the one-loss crowd is an odd group. Hoshoryu is gunning for an Ozeki promotion as well as his first yusho. He whipped out the leg trip against Midorifuji on Day Six, and if he stays that kind of locked in he can top anyone. That's especially true in a basho without a Yokozuna and one Ozeki returning from injury. Otherwise, there is Tamawashi, Hokutofuji, and Endo. That trio of veteran rikishi are having great rebound tournaments, but haven't been consistently good over the last year or so. That's a mixed hunt-group, to say the least.


It's worth considering the hunt-group's ability because of the identity of the current leader. Nishikigi is not now and has never been the kind of rikishi who seemed like he would dominate a basho. He is now. More than his 6-0 record in this tournament, he is on a 14 bout winning streak. This is almost certainly his career high point, especially as he is over 30 and seemed done recently. By all rational analysis, he shouldn't keep this up. But also by all rational analysis, he shouldn't have gone 6-0 so far.

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