- Fantasy Basho
Natsu 2023 Day Ten
Public League Leaderboard
Scores from Fantasizr.
01 Yokozuna East Terunofuji
36 Maegashira #14 East Asanoyama
03 Sekiwake #1 East Kiribayama
20 Maegashira #6 East Meisei
30 Maegashira #11 East Hokuseiho
Kotenage. Usually, the arm-lock throw is a maneuver coming out of a stalemate that sends a man down. Instead, Kiribayama grabbed Wakamotoharu's left arm as they circled each other and threw him down and into the shimpan.
Match of the Day
20 Maegashira #6 East Meisei versus 30 Maegashira #11 East Hokuseiho
Meisei decided to go fast and inside on Hokuseiho, and it almost worked. Then Hokuseiho pushed back, but Meisei got a deep grip with his head on the Giant's sternum. Hokuseiho got to the point of having both heels over the tawara, but he reestablished his footwork and pushed back. That made Meisei get off balance. Hokuseiho took the chance to launch a heavy uwatenage.
Hokuseiho's defeat of Meisei pared down the leaderboard, and Asanoyama and Terunofuji both made sure to stay on top of the yusho race. Asanoyama needed little against Hiradoumi, who slipped in one of the biggest matches of his career. Terunofuji actually had some trouble against Kotonowaka. Although Kotonowaka is still winless against the Yokozuna, he is very big, fundamentally strong, and never beats himself. In the end, though, Terunofuji got the yorikiri victory and his ninth win.
The crop at one-loss-behind also got a little thinner. Hiradoumi fell off, while Meisei fell from the three-way tie on top. Kiribayama and Wakamotoharu were each at 7-2 coming in to Day Ten. Kiribayama's kotenage ensured he would be on 8 wins and maybe just two wins away from an Ozeki promotion. Interestingly, he is shooting a little higher and probably has a real chance at a yusho. Hokuseiho is right there, with his two biggest Maegashira opponents already in his rear view mirror as wins.
On paper and from the eye test, Terunofuji is the favorite. He is the Yokozuna and the leader, plus he has handled most challenges. Meisei's win over him is also probably only a possible template for Kiribayama or Wakamotoharu. Everyone else probably needs to take the Yokozuna head on to fight their style, and that's when Terunofuji excels. Asanoyama is absolutely capable of beating the Yokozuna, and he is also fighting well enough to be a contender against anyone else.
Day Eleven will clarify things much, much more. Asanoyama and Meisei are the highlight intra-Maegashira match, as they finally square off. That should be a good match, and an Asanoyama win pulls him further away. A Meisei victory will just upset the apple cart so much more. In Sanyaku, Kiribayama gets his first ever match against Hiradoumi, immediately followed by the first clash between Wakamotoharu and Hokuseiho. That five rikishi leadership group will change in some way, simply because sumo is a zero sum game and they are starting to face each other.
Terunofuji will see Hoshoryu, who is a young rikishi who is looking to elevate to Ozeki and is 7-3 for Natsu. He also is winless in 8 tries against Terunofuji, going back to Juryo matchups in the first part of 2020. That is the reason Terunofuji is in such a strong position. He is a notch above everyone else even if he is not at 100%. Still, whoever keeps winning will get a shot at him before the Natsu basho is out.