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  • Fantasy Basho

Natsu 2023 Day Four

Public League Leaderboard

Scores from Fantasizr.

Notable Maneuvers

KImedashi. Tobizaru disrupted Terunofuji's mawashi grip before it happened, and kudos to him for that. But the Yokozuna just wrapped his arms around Tobizaru's, locked in a grip, and marched him out for the arm-barring force out.

Match of the Day

07 Komusubi #1 East Kotonowaka versus 06 Sekiwake #2 West Wakamotoharu

This was the key matchup coming in to the day, and they delivered. Kotonowaka took the advantage at the tachiai, but Wakamotoharu readjusted at the edge. They went back to the middle of the dohyo, and Kotonowaka went for a throw that tipped Wakamotoharu to the side. Wakamotoharu regained his balance and went hard into Kotonowaka's chest to send him backward before going down himself. Despite never really having a winning position, Wakamotoharu was the winner once Kotonowaka stepped out.


The top six men on the Banzuke all won. That meant a bunch of goose eggs below them. It also didn't really clarify the leaderboard much, because the Sanyaku is pretty much all in this thing. Kotonowaka couldn't survive Wakamotoharu, but there's no reason to think he couldn't beat other Sanyaku wrestlers. Kotonowaka will even get a chance to show he's still a contender against Kiribayama on Day Five.

Terunofuji, Daieisho, and Wakamotoharu are the undefeated Sanyaku wrestlers right now, and it's arguable they all were aiming at something other than a Yusho coming into Natsu. Every rikishi wants to do as well as possible in a basho, but the bigger picture sometimes looms large. Terunofuji is proving he can keep competing as a Yokozuna after a lengthy injury absence. Daieisho may be in line for an Ozeki promotion if he reaches 11 wins or more. Wakamotoharu is still trying to establish his Sanyaku bonafides. That should keep them focused on the next match.

The next match will be difficult. Terunofuji is seeing a 3-1 Ura on Day Five, and facing Ura at any time is always a strange task. Daieisho gets the always-tricky Abi in what should be a fun slap battle. Wakamotoharu will get the winless Midorifuji, but they also have a nearly even career record. And even if they can handle their next opponent, the leaders will need to keep up with the other Sanyaku wrestlers who keep winning. Kiribayama and Hoshoryu also have Ozeki dreams they don't want to let go, and Kotonowaka could be hitting a new level of sumo. There will not be an easy match for any Sanyaku wrestler.

The non-Sanyaku wrestlers who are still undefeated are Meisei and Asanoyama. They are far enough away from each other on the Banzuke they are likely to avoid each other for a little bit longer. If either stumbles, then the pressure on the other increases. Someone will be the surprise Maegashira, but whether that rikishi is in the yusho race requires Meisei and Asanoyama to keep pace. The Sanyaku is off an running at a furious pace.

That is becoming the real story of Natsu. Strength has returned to the top of the Banzuke. Five rikishi are still undefeated. Seven Sanyaku wrestlers are no more than one loss back. The undercard will still have interest. Besides Meisei and Asanoyama, Hokuseiho-Ryuden and Aoiyama-Chiyoshoma were interesting matches. Yet the end of each day is going to be where the real excitement lies.

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