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Natsu 2024 Day Fourteen




Public League Leaderboard

Scores from Fantasizr.


Yusho Arasoi

11 Wins

09 Komusubi West Onosato


10 Wins

02 Ozeki #1 East Hoshoryu

03 Ozeki #1 West Kotozakura

07 Sekiwake West Abi

11 Maegashira #1 West Daieisho


Notable Maneuvers

Kotenage. Atamifuji bottled up Ura's wildness, taking a hold and keeping him from moving all around. He still needed a strong arm-lock throw to take down the man in pink. Ura is on an eight match losing streak after a 6-0 start, while Atamifuji is positioning himself for a kachi-koshi.


Match of the Day

07 Sekiwake West Abi versus 03 Ozeki #1 West Kotozakura

Kotozakura needed this match to stay tied to Onosato for the yusho lead, while Abi needed this match to have any kind of a yusho prayer. Maybe that's why they had a very awkward matta, where Kotozakura moved first after Abi seemed to back away from going. When they did collide, Abi got his signature two-arm pushing going, but Kotozakura stood his ground. That made this seem like an easy win for the Ozeki. Then at the tawara, Abi did his other signature move of dancing on the rice bales. He got behind Kotozakura without stepping out, and pushed out the Sadogatake man with some ease.


Recap

Day Fifteen could be quite straightforward. Onosato just needs to beat Abi, and he will earn his first career yusho in just his third career Makuuchi basho. Abi's defeat of Kotozakura means that he can force a playoff by beating Onosato. If that does happen, they will be joined by the winner of the all-Ozeki finale between Hoshoryu and Kotozakura. Daieisho could also be in that 11-win Yusho playoff by beating Kotoshoho. So Day Fifteen could also be extremely complicated.


The Day Fourteen results should be proof that Abi has a chance to win, although he is likely still the underdog even as the Sekiwake facing a Komusubi. Onosato has been that good, and Abi's wins have been entertaining but not dominating. Onosato certainly can beat him just like he did in March. Yet Abi's narrow escape followed by shoving out an Ozeki on Day Fourteen really just shows he is dangerous to anybody even when he seems beat.


The man he did beat on Day Fourteen is now more vulnerable than he seemed just a few days ago. Kotozakura is still the best fundamental sumotori in the top division, but he is also getting surprised by the likes of Abi a day after only beating Shonannoumi by moving to the side. It's not exactly ideal Ozeki-zumo. By contrast, Hoshoryu has looked fantastic in his five day winning streak, after a worrying inconsistency in the first week. He looped his right hand around Oshoma and won with a powerful yorikiri on Day Fourteen.


And so they both enter the final day with an outside shot at the Emperor's Cup. So does Daieisho, although he needs to handle Kotoshoho to make a difference. After a series of mid-and-lower Maegashira were leading the yusho race, the only possible yusho winners are two Ozeki, a Sekiwake, a Komosubi, and a Maegashira #1. That last one is Daieisho, who is also a long-serving Sanyaku man with a Yusho to his name. One of the top rikishi will win this yusho.


It could still be an odd ending, and even the simple ending will be historic. Onosato is a future star, whose build and ability makes him look like he was built in a sumo lab. He beats Abi, he earns his first yusho. The question of an Ozeki promotion will also be looming, and his speed to sumo's second rank will be record setting. (He has now had the vaunted "33-wins-in-3-basho" achievement, but that streak also began at Maegashira #15 and isn't sufficient.) Onosato loses, and he could still get the yusho. His focus just needs to be winning his next match.

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