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  • Fantasy Basho

Natsu 2023 Day Fifteen



Public League Leaderboard

Scores from Fantasizr.


Yusho Arasoi

14 Wins-Yusho

01 Yokozuna East Terunofuji


12 Wins-Jun-Yusho

36 Maegashira #14 East Asanoyama


Notable Maneuvers

Katasukashi. Aoiyama, of all people, won on the final day by using an under shoulder swing down againt Hokutofuji. He hasn't won with it since November 2019.


Match of the Day

03 Sekiwake #1 East Kiribayama versus 04 Sekiwake #1 West Hoshoryu

Kiribayama was fighting for a chance at a Jun-Yusho, while Hoshoryu was fighting for pride. Hoshoryu got extremely deep at the jump, almost getting both hands inside and on the knot of Kiribayama's mawashi. Kiribayama fought back, because he's good and this is turning into a great rivalry. But Hoshoryu's position was so good that he could lift up Kiribayama and throw him down.


Recap

Day Fifteen had almost no drama in Makuuchi. Terunofuji won the Yusho on Day Fourteen, and his match with Takakeisho was really a formality. He still got the grip that would spell Takakeisho's defeat, and he withstood a pulling attempt to shove out the Ozeki. He gets a Yokozuna-level Yusho, only blemished by his Day Nine loss to Meisei. That's less a sign Terunofuji is truly vulnerable than that everyone can have a day. Terunofuji took three bashos off, could barely practice, and still returned as sumo's premier competitor. No one even really came close.


Asanoyama secured a Jun-Yusho in his return to Makuuchi with his win over Tsurugisho. Kiribayama's later loss meant Asanoyama got the runner-up spot all to himself. He isn't quite at the Ozeki level he was before his year-long suspension and climb through the lower divisions. There's a small weakness when he doesn't get his match, and he didn't face the full Sanyaku slate. But quite clearly he belongs among the best rikishi, and he will leap up the Banzuke for Nagoya.


What Asanoyama did not get was a Sansho, or Special Prize. Those went to Meisei (Outstanding Performance for beating the Yokozuna), Kiribayama (Technique Prize), and Wakamotoharu (Technique Prize). None of those were conditional on winning a Day Fifteen match. Indeed, all three men lost their final matches. Their performances over all fifteen days do earn their Prizes, but their losses also seem to be emblematic of the end of the Natsu basho. Very little was in doubt for Makuuchi by the last round.


Even looking ahead, the ranks for Nagoya seem fairly clear. Terunofuji remains Yokozuna, and Kiribayama should join Takakeisho as an Ozeki. The other three Sekiwake will keep their ranks. Kotonowaka and Abi reached 8 wins to be Komusubi in July. Ichiyamamoto, Mitoryu, and Kagayaki have demoteable records. Ichinojo's retirement means there will be four spots in Makuuchi. Gonoyama and Shonannoumi are guaranteed to come up. Otherwise, Ochiai went 14-1 from Juryo #8 West, losing the Yusho in a playoff to Gonoyama. That overshadows Atamifuji's 13-2 record from a half-rank ahead, and Bushozan's 10 wins from Juryo #3 also seems like it should be promotion worthy. Juryo was where excitement lived in Natsu.


Yet looking back on the basho, it was Terunofuji's tournament. He was dominant from the start, and he proved the rest of Sanyaku is still a step behind. His long injury absence is a problem, but his return shows he can take some time off and still be the best of the best. Terunofuji has seemingly been on borrowed time since his return to Makuuchi in July 2020. His knees have flared up, but they've not yet pulled him away from fighting. And as long as he can mount the dohyo, he is the top rikishi in sumo.

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