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Haru 2022 Rikishi Preview

The Haru basho is just a little over a week away. If you can't bear that wait, you may stave off your sumo withdrawal with this write up of all 42 rikishi in the top division.

You can also use these takes to help you pick your team for Haru 2022. Sign up now at Fantasizr.

01 Yokozuna East Terunofuji

Terunofuji Haruo | 照ノ富士 春雄

Isegahama | Mongolia

Hatsu 2022: 11-4

Terunofuji had "only" 11 wins, fighting on a bad leg over the last few days. The fact it's disappointing shows the pressure of being the lone Yokozuna and just how dominant he was in 2021. Terunofuji is probably still the individual favorite in March, but not over the field.

02 Ozeki 1 East Shodai

Shodai Naoya | 正代 直也

Tokitsukaze | Kumamoto

Hatsu 2022: 6-9

There's no other way to say it: Shodai had a bad basho, especially for an Ozeki. He is one of the best in sumo at countering an opponent's attack, and he is able to recover well at the edge. In January, he just seemed to only be going backwards towards the edge without pulling many miracles.

03 Ozeki 1 West Takakeisho

Takakeisho Mitsunobu | 貴景勝 光信

Tokiwayama | Hyogo

Hatsu 2022: 1-3-11

Takakeisho's up-and-down basho performance was, sadly and predictably, down again for Hatsu. The Ozeki pulled out on Day Four of the January tournament with a rolled ankle, which at least shouldn't be a long-term concern. The lengthy pileup of injuries is cumulatively concerning, and the biggest barrier to Takakeisho making Yokozuna.

04 Ozeki 2 West Mitakeumi

Mitakeumi Hisashi | 御嶽海 久司

Dewanoumi | Nagano

Hatsu 2022: 13-2 Yusho; Technique Prize

Mitakeumi did it. With 13 wins and a Yusho, the Nagano native achieved an Ozeki promotion. He should be able to keep the rank, as he has had one losing record in the last 11 basho. Going further is a difficult question, but Ozeki is a significant achievement in itself.

05 Sekiwake East Wakatakakage

Wakatakakage Atsushi | 若隆景 渥

Arashio | Fukushima

Hatsu 2022: 9-6

Wakatakakage was at 0-4 and then 4-6 during Hatsu, but he finished with five straight wins. That did directly coincide with an easier strength of schedule. No matter how he got 9 wins, that was enough to shoot him to his Sekiwake debut.

06 Sekiwake West Abi

Abi Masatora | 阿炎 政虎

Shikoroyama | Saitama

Hatsu 2022: 12-3 Jun-Yusho; Outstanding Performance Prize

What else does Abi have in him? He's gone 12-3 with a Jun-Yusho in his first two basho on return from the chastisment driven drop to Makushita. There's no reason to think he can't keep competing like this, although those are his two best records ever.

07 Komusubi East Takanosho

Takanosho Nobuaki | 隆の勝 伸明

Tokiwayama | Chiba

Hatsu 2022: 7-8

Takanosho didn't keep a winning record for Hatsu, but he did enough to keep a Sanyaku slot with a 7-8 record. That makes it 6 of the last 9 basho that he has been in the named ranks. A winning record is easily within his grasp, although double digits is a big ask.

08 Komusubi West Hoshoryu

Hoshoryu Tomokatsu | 豊昇龍 智勝

Tatsunami | Mongolia

Hatsu 2022: 11-4

Hoshoryu will make his Sanyaku debut before his 23rd birthday, so if it isn't a wild success, he will have more opportunities. But he also shouldn't be discounted for Haru. He had a quiet 11-4 for January, because he was well behind the leaders until winning his last five.

09 Maegashira #1 East Daieisho

Daieisho Hayato | 大栄翔 勇人

Oitekaze | Saitama

Hatsu 2022: 7-8

Although he closed Hatsu with four straight wins, Daieisho was make-koshi on Day Eleven. His particular brand of oshi-zumo seems to be just good enough to keep him in the upper-Maegashira, lower-Sanyaku range. Of course, he did have that one yusho and can pull out some great wins.

10 Maegashira #1 West Ura

Ura Kazuki | 宇良 和輝

Kise | Osaka

Hatsu 2022: 8-7

Ura's 8-7 was just almost enough to sneak him into a Sanyaku slot. Still, after his series of knee injuries, Ura came back and surpassed his previous best. He probably can't put together a great record against the very top wrestlers, but every match will be a lot of fun.

11 Maegashira #2 East Ichinojo

Ichinojo Takashi | 逸ノ城 駿

Minato | Mongolia

Hatsu 2022: 8-7

Ichinojo currently seems to be showing just how much being positively enormous can lead to wins. He had a winning record in January, although he has lost any agility and cannot do anything once moving backwards. That's enough to stick in upper Maegashira.

12 Maegashira #2 West Tamawashi

Tamawashi Ichiro | 玉鷲 一朗

Kataonami | Mongolia

Hatsu 2022: 8-7

Tamawashi is at 1406 matches in a row without missing one, even as he is 37 years old. He keeps hanging around well enough it just might last. Maybe in ten years, a hand to the throat from the Bullet Eagle is still the rite of passage for ascendant young Maegashira.

13 Maegashira #3 East Onosho

Onosho Fumiya | 阿武咲 奎也

Onomatsu | Aomori

Hatsu 2022: 10-5

Onosho's 10-5 in January matched his record from September. In between, he went 5-10 in November, so this basho could be problematic for him. He fought like the former young star more at Hatsu, so maybe he can avoid the crash this time.

14 Maegashira #3 West Meisei

Meisei Chikara | 明生 力

Tatsunami | Kagashima

Hatsu 2022: 5-10

Meisei had a disastrous basho at Komusubi, ending his four basho run in the Sanyaku ranks. Meisei is at the start of his prime, and he should be back in Sanyaku in short order. He's an efficient wrestler who prefers to grapple, but can push when he needs to.

15 Maegashira #4 East Kiribayama

Kiribayama Tetsuo | 霧馬山 鐵雄

Michinoku | Mongolia

Hatsu 2022: 6-9

The toughest thing about assessing Kiribayama's performance is that he looked out of sorts in Hatsu, but also not that different than usual. The Misty Horse Mountain is surprisingly nimble and athletic for a big rikishi, and he can twist opponents around the dohyo. If he doesn't do that to himself too much, he can rack up wins.

16 Maegashira #4 West Endo

Endo Shota | 遠藤 聖大

Oitekaze | Ishikawa

Hatsu 2022: 7-8

Endo is 31, and his current ceiling may just be upper Maegashira. He's still a formidable foe, however, especially as he is unpredictable in a specific way. An Endo match is equally likely to feature grappling or thrusting, and he likes a variety of grips.

17 Maegashira #5 East Takarafuji

Takarafuji Daisuke | 宝富士 大輔

Isegahama | Aomori

Hatsu 2022: 9-6

The solid and efficient Takarafuji was briefly in yusho contention on Day Ten, but he went 1-4 in his last five. The veteran isn't going to overpower anyone, but he has remarkably effective footwork that puts him in any match. He'll be hanging around the kachi/make-koshi line most likely.

18 Maegashira #5 West Ishiura

Ishiura Shikanosuke | 石浦 鹿介

Miyagino | Tottori

Hatsu 2022: 11-4

Ishiura will be at Maegashira #5, his highest career rank, after a remarkable performance for Hatsu of 11 wins, his highest career total. At 32, the chances of him repeating that effort in this part of the Banzuke are very, very low. The cool part is we'll get to see him in matchups we haven't before.

19 Maegashira #6 East Hokutofuji

Hokutofuji Daiki | 北勝富士 大輝

Hakkaku | Saitama

Hatsu 2022: 6-9

Back up in his usual upper Maegashira position, Hokutofuji put in a lackluster 6-9. He did beat eventual Yusho winner Mitakeumi, but that was his only memorable moment at Hatsu. He will likely not need to face any Sanyaku wrestlers at this rank, which may allow him to put up some wins.

20 Maegashira #6 West Kotonowaka

Kotonowaka Masahiro | 琴ノ若 傑太

Sadogatake | Chiba Hatsu

2022: 11-4 Fighting Spirit Prize

Kotonowaka was technically able to get the Yusho going into the final day in January. That could be a sign of future good omens, as he is a 24 year old 3rd generation wrestler with real gifts. Even if he falters for this tournament, he still has a bright future.

21 Maegashira #7 East Takayasu

Takayasu Akira | 高安 晃

Tagonoura | Ibaraki

Hatsu 2022: 0-0-15

Takayasu missed all of Hatsu because his stable had a COVID outbreak, although he was fine. He's had glimmers over the past year of his Ozeki style, but injuries keep holding him back. On the wrong side of 30, that's not a promising outlook for Takayasu longterm.

22 Maegashira #7 West Okinoumi

Okinoumi Ayumi | 隠岐の海 歩

Hakkaku | Shimane

Hatsu 2022: 4-11

Okinoumi went 4-11 at Maegashira 4 in January. The tumble down the Banzuke could be a sign age is finally catching up with him, or just an opportunity to do some damage at a lower rank. He certainly won't be caught unaware by anyone.

23 Maegashira #8 East Chiyoshoma

Chiyoshoma Fujio | 千代翔馬 富士雄

Kokonoe | Mongolia

Hatsu 2022: 4-11

A 4-11 at Maegashira #5 is entirely to be expected from a wrestler who only made it to this part of the Banzuke after turning 30. He didn't drop that far, and even at his best he is always relying on tricks and deception. The one guarantee from Chiyoshoma is that he is bound to have an absolutely bizarre match in a basho.

24 Maegashira #8 West Sadanoumi

Sadanoumi Takashi | 佐田の海 貴士

Sakaigawa | Kumamoto

Hatsu 2022: 8-7

Sadanoumi is once again a mid-Maegashira stalwart, and someone who combines his athleticism and fundamentals at his age is effective. He is never overpowering or surprising, however. Hanging around a .500 record seems almost inevitable somehow.

25 Maegashira #9 East Tobizaru

Tobizaru Masaya | 翔猿 正也

Oitekaze | Tokyo

Hatsu 2022: 6-9

He isn't called the Flying Monkey for nothing (he chose it and it fits). The problem sometimes with a rikishi as fun as Tobizaru is the wild inventiveness isn't always effective. The good news is he is always must see against any opponent.

26 Maegashira #9 West Wakamotoharu

Wakamotoharu Minato | 若元春 港

Arashio | Fukushima

Hatsu 2022: 9-6

Wakamotoharu brought his efficient sumo to the top division for the first time and did well with it. He is just a little small, and he has just a little bit of an athleticism disadvantage. The key is that he is never caught off guard, and a decent promotion shouldn't change that.

27 Maegashira #10 East Shimanoumi

Shimanoumi Koyo | 志摩ノ海 航洋

Kise | Mie

Hatsu 2022: 5-6-4

Shimanoumi may have been the biggest benefit of Banzuke luck, as he only had five wins at Maegashira #9 and is now Maegashira #10. It was a scramble based on record, and he did have an injury plagued basho. Still, Shimanoumi is likely facing trouble again at Haru.

28 Maegashira #10 West Aoiyama

Aoiyama Kosuke | 碧山 亘右

Kasugano | Bulgaria

Hatsu 2022: 8-7

Big Dan the Blue Mountain got 8-5, then lost his last two. That's still a kachi-koshi, and his alternating tsuppari is still a tough challenge due to his long arms and immense strength. At 35, he can't recover well when a match doesn't go his way, but enough do to keep him winning.

29 Maegashira #11 East Myogiryu

Myogiryu Yasunari | 妙義龍 泰成

Sakaigawa | Hyogo Hatsu

2022: 5-8-2

Myogiryu got just 5 wins and then departed with an injury at Hatsu. Based on his recent history, he might pull out a surprise double-digit basho after a few really bad ones.

30 Maegashira #11 West Terutsuyoshi

Terutsuyoshi Shoki | 照強 翔輝

Isegahama | Hyogo

Hatsu 2022: 7-8

Terutsuyoshi was never over .500 during Hatsu, which somehow seems fitting. He is an undersized wrestler who relies on raw power, and he is more known as the most dramatic salt thrower in sumo. That doesn't seem like the recipe for double-digit wins, but anything can happen.

31 Maegashira #12 East Kotoeko

Kotoeko Mitsunori | 琴恵光 充憲

Sadogatake | Miyazaki

Hatsu 2022: 8-7

Despite being 8-3, Kotoeko ended up looking like he just squeaked out a winning record in January. His four straight losses at the end highlighted his struggles againt mid-Maegashira and above. His current level is being able to hang around in Makuuchi.

32 Maegashira #12 West Chiyotairyu

Chiyotairyu Hidemasa | 千代大龍 秀政

Kokonoe | Tokyo

Hatsu 2022: 7-8

Chiyotairyu's straight ahead sumo hasn't changed, but the results are getting a little less impressive overall with each passing basho. Don't expect a series of throws or impressive grappling from him, but also don't think he will just be worked out. There's still enough power left to hang around.

33 Maegashira #13 East Chiyomaru

Chiyomaru Kazuki | 千代丸 一樹

Kokonoe | Kagoshima

Hatsu 2022: 7-8

Chiyomaru might have just found the way to keep hanging out in lower Maegashira. It is weird looking, as he uses his girth and wingspan to keep opponents just off their gameplan. He can't really dominate anyone, but that doesn't mean he won't put up a hell of a fight.

34 Maegashira #13 West Chiyonokuni

Chiyonokuni Toshiki | 千代の国 憲輝

Kokonoe | Mie

Hatsu 2022: 4-11

The best version of Chiyonokuni didn't look that different from the Chiyonokuni for Hatsu, but the results weren't good. Since his devastating knee injury in 2019, he hasn't always had the ability to finish off a match. He's still a resilient fighter, though.

35 Maegashira #14 East Kotoshoho

Kotoshoho Yoshinari | 琴勝峰 吉成

Sadogatake | Chiba

Hatsu 2022: 11-4 Yusho (Juryo)

The Juryo yusho winner, Kotoshoho might be back on the form that had him at Maegashira #3 in January 2021. He is blessed with ideal size, strength, and athleticism for a rikishi, and he needs to just put it all together. That hasn't happened yet, and the question is when or if it will.

36 Maegashira #14 West Yutakayama

Yutakayama Ryota | 豊山 亮太

Tokitsukaze | Niigata

Hatsu 2022: 6-9

Even though he looks like a rikishi bred in a lab, Yutakayama often his misfirings on the dohyo. He's a pusher-thruster, but can't quite overpower his opponents out of the dohyo. The package has been enough to mostly keep him as a Maegashira in his career.

37 Maegashira #15 East Akua

Akua Shoma | 天空海 翔馬

Tatsunami | Ibaraki

Hatsu 2022: 4-11

Maegashira #10 was Akua's highest career rank, and he did not handle it well. Akua will certainly want to do better than his 4 wins at January. His ability to do that relies on capitalizing on opponents' mistakes. Few rikishis are as dependent on the performance of someone else, but heaven help the rikishi who falters against Akua.

38 Maegashira #15 West Tochinoshin

Tochinoshin Tsuyoshi | 栃ノ心 剛史

Kasugano | Georgia

Hatsu 2022: 7-8

Tochinoshin held off the demotion to Juryo for one more basho. Sometimes, when he gets the left-hand outside, right-hand outside grip, you can just see the Ozeki he once was. Tochinoshin's power isn't the same, however, and he has to work at sending someone out the dohyo instead of lifting them out in a show of strength.

39 Maegashira #16 East Nishikigi

Nishikigi Tetsuya | 錦木 徹也

Isenoumi | Iwate

Hatsu 2022: 9-6 (Juryo)

Nishikigi has once again returned to Makuuchi, after a solid 9-6 in Juryo. At his best, Nishikigi can wrap his arms around his opponents' and maneuver the match how he wants. If he doesn't do that, he often has a lot of trouble.

40 Maegashira #16 West Kotokuzan

Kotokuzan Taro | 荒篤山 太郎

Arashio | Kanagawa

Hatsu 2022: 10-5 (Juryo)

Kotokuzan will be the sole Makuuchi debutant for Haru 2022, and he gets here after a long career in sumo. He will be 28 before the basho begins. The fun fact is that he is probably the greatest ever rikishi with the birth name of "Jasper" already.

41 Maegashira #17 East Kagayaki

Kagayaki Taishi | 輝 大士

Takadagawa | Ishikawa

Hatsu 2022: 8-7 (Juryo)

Kagayaki snuck back in to Makuuchi with a bare 8-7 winning record at Juryo 1. He was a Maegashira for five years before that, so he should be able to keep this rank. It won't be anything spectacular, but straight-ahead sumo can win, too.

42 Maegashira #17 West Ichiyamamoto

Ichiyamamoto Daiki | 一山本 大生

Hanaregoma | Hokkaido

Hatsu 2022: 5-10

Ichiyamamoto is the official survivor of the Haru 2022 Banzuke. A 5-10 at Maegashira #14 should have sent him to Juryo, but other necessary demotions prevented that. He will go on a tsuppari binge, attacking by throwing both hands at his opponent.

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