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  • Fantasy Basho

Natsu 2022 Day Nine



Public League Leaderboard

Yusho Arasoi

7 wins

Maegashira #4 West Takanosho

Maegashira #11 East Aoiyama

Maegashira #12 West Sadanoumi

Maegashira #15 West Ichiyamamoto

6 wins

Yokozuna East Terunofuji

Komusubi East Hoshoryu

Maegashira #2 East Kiribayama

Maegashira #3 West Tamawashi

Maegashira #6 East Ura

Notable Maneuvers

Kimedashi. Terunofuji beat Tobizaru with the arm-barring force out, a maneuver that usually happens near the tawara. Instead, Terunofuji locked his arms around Tobizaru's in the middle of the dohyo, using the grip to lift him to the edge and over.

Match of the Day

Maegashira #3 East Hokutofuji versus Maegashira #2 West Kotonowaka

These two began with an awkward tachiai, where Hokutofuji used his customary nodowa, but Kotonowaka managed to half-block it. That gave Hokutofuji an opportunity to get inside. After Kotonowaka backed up to the tawara, he attempted a rather weak escape attempt, showing Hokutofuji sideways. It looked for all the world that Kotonowaka stepped out before Hokutofuji's hand went down, but the gyoji pointed his gunbai to Kotonowaka. No mono-ii.


A win by the Yokozuna, and a clarification of the leaderboard feels like the basho is settling down a little. However, two Ozeki (Mitakeumi and Takakeisho) lost, while the highest ranked leader coming into Day Nine (Tamawashi) dropped his match. The churn is still happening, plus Day Nine was the second day in a row with a match that looked like it needed a mono-ii not getting one. Kotonowaka's luck in beating Hokutofuji may have been even greater than Shodai's in beating Hoshoryu on Day Eight.

It's worth considering Hoshoryu for a second. He is part of the five man group at two losses, and he gets to face the Yokozuna on Day Ten. Fighting a Yokozuna is always a challenge, and Terunofuji is a perfect 6-0 over the Komusubi in their careers. Yet Hoshoryu took Takayasu's best tachiai on Day Nine, then pulled on Takayasu's left arm and forcefully won by tottari. Hoshoryu is fighting as well as he ever has, and a victory over Terunofuji would place him in great position.

The winner of that match would still be one off the pace, unless four separate rikishi lose before the musubi no ichiban. There is no guarantee Takanosho, Aoiyama, Sadanoumi, and Ichiyamamoto will keep this going, but they kept it up for Day Nine. The one remaining Sanyaku match Takanosho has available is Hoshoryu, since he is stablemates with Takakeisho. His schedule will get easier over the rest of the basho. Aoiyama, Sadanoumi, and Ichiyamamoto should see stiffer competition if they keep winning. It just won't start on Day Ten.

This is the conundrum for schedulers with four Maegashira leading the standings. If one Maegashira shows out, they can have him see a Sanyaku wrestler or two as a test of strength. Four creates real logistical problems, while also seeming to be unable to hold. Tamawashi's loss to Endo pulled him one loss back on Day Nine, but that was one of five. Likely, if Takanosho keeps winning, he'll face the other leaders who stay afloat before they get an even heavier jump in opponent rank.

In any sumo tournament, the matchups over the final few days matter immensely. With 22 rikishi within two losses of the yusho leaders, every match will have some impact. And plenty of intriguing matchups have already happened. The Ozeki have also performed poorly, but they are still Ozeki and can win any day. The Yokozuna is also hanging out, ready to pounce. The closing kick for Natsu will probably be bewildering, but the first nine days have already gone that way.

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