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  • Fantasy Basho

Nagoya 2023 Day Two

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Scores from Fantasizr.

Notable Maneuvers

Sukuinage. Terunofuji had Nishikigi absolutely bottled up, with both arms around Nishikigi's biceps. But then Nishikigi felt the moment right and pulled off a beltless arm throw for the kinboshi.

Match of the Day

19 Maegashira #6 East Hokuseiho versus 20 Maegashira #6 West Oho

This match started a little ugly, with Hokuseiho trying for a frontal mawashi grip and Oho trying to get his hands around Hokuseiho for a more usual mawashi grip. Neither really worked, so they stalemated and leaned. And leaned and leaned and leaned. That suited the much bigger Hokuseiho, and he was trying to just tire Oho. Oho made some attempts to get a move on, to little effect. But after trying to move forward and trip the bigger man, Oho moved sideways for a kotenage. Initially, the gyoji said Oho stepped out first, but the shimpan overruled him. The good news for fans is these two young men are at their highest rank ever. We should get much more of this in the next few years.


The Nishikigi kinboshi upset the apple cart in plenty of ways on Day Two. First, his career renaissance seems to be accelerating. Second, it changed who may now be considered a favorite for the yusho. Third, it showed Terunofuji may just be vulnerable right now. All of those will have considerable knock-on effects. Nagoya 2023 has changed after just two matches from each rikishi.

Terunofuji certainly went over easier than should be expected, but it was also a nice move by Nishikigi. The Yokozuna has had serious knee problems since his return to Makuuchi three years ago. An inability to stay upright after getting a little off balance isn't new. His strength and wide stance have always meant he doesn't get a little off balance frequently. This may be the only time he does in fifteen days. Yet any time that Terunofuji goes to the ground should worry sumo fans, because he does have a lengthy injury history.

For the nascent yusho race, it is significant that all three Sekiwake got wins on Day Two. Neither Hoshoryu nor Daieisho nor Wakamotoharu had a spectacular performance, but that's probably for the best for each man. They did their sumo well and got easy wins. Those are the kind of wins that make the rest of the basho go more smoothly, as well as keep pace against competitors. Hoshoryu does need to watch out in his match against Nishikigi on Day Three, but the same could be said for Daieisho's matchup with 0-2 Midorifuji and Wakamotoharu's bout with 0-2 Shodai. There are no easy matches for Sanyaku wrestlers.

The other end of the Banzuke is also keeping its exciting pace. Most notably, the debuting trio of Gonoyama, Shonannoumi, and Hakuoho are all still undefeated as Maegashira. That almost certainly won't last that long, especially since they're bound to face each other. Yet 8 wins will also guarantee they remain Maegashira. Although all three will want to pile up as many wins as possible, they'll be in a great place with just six more wins. Yusho, jun-yusho, and special prizes are important, but so is kachi-koshi. Getting closer to 8 wins day-by-day is good.

Day Two's significant upset in the final match shows that anything can happen to upset expectations on each day of a basho. The kinboshi aren't going to start coming in a hurry, either. If a few more do happen, Terunofuji will pull out of the basho. Also, Terunofuji is still a favorite, and like the rest of Sanyaku he still will get to face most of the other on-paper favorites. He just can't slip up much anymore, and he has thirteen more matches.

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