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Haru 2023 Rikishi Preview

The banzuke is out for Haru 2023, so it's time to get excited for the basho. Before the sumo begins on March 12th, and you need to pick your team on Fantasizr, read this previewfor all 42 rikishi in Makuuchi.

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01 Yokozuna East Terunofuji

Terunofuji Haruo | 照ノ富士 春雄

Isegahama | Mongolia
Hatsu 2023 Rank: Yokozuna East
Hatsu 2023 Record: 0-0-15

Terunofuji is likely to once again sit out the entire basho for Haru. He had been seen out, at Hakuho's official retirement ceremony, but he looked achey and with the wrong kind of added mass. The best hope is the dominant Yokozuna is still in there and rehabbing towards May will bring him back.








02 Ozeki West Takakeisho

Takakeisho Mitsunobu | 貴景勝 光信

Tokiwayama | Hyogo
Hatsu 2023 Rank: Ozeki West
Hatsu 2023 Record: 12-3 Yusho

The dominant conversation of the Hatsu basho was whether a Yusho would get Takakeisho a Yokozuna promotion. A 12-3 yusho didn't, but the stakes are much clearer for the Battle Hamster. If he wins a yusho, that's two consecutive and an almost guaranteed promotion to sumo's top rank.








03 Sekiwake #1 East Wakatakakage

Wakatakakage Atsushi | 若隆景 渥

Arashio | Fukushima
Hatsu 2023 Rank: Sekiwake #1 East
Hatsu 2023 Record: 9-6

For the 7th straight basho, Wakatakakage will be ranked Sekiwake #1 East. Although he's never really had a serious Ozeki-run in that span, he's been able to keep his place for a reason. He will never make mistakes and always requires an opponent's best sumo to beat him.








04 Sekiwake #1 West Hoshoryu

Hoshoryu Tomokatsu | 豊昇龍 智勝

Tatsunami | Mongolia
Hatsu 2023 Rank: Sekiwake #1 West
Hatsu 2023 Record: 8-7

Hoshoryu looked like a Yusho favorite for the first week of the Hatsu basho but injured himself on Day 9. He came back limping on his left ankle after one day off. He managed 8 wins only because Onosho pulled his hair on Day Fifteen. If he's healthy, watch out.









05 Sekiwake #2 East Kiribayama

Kiribayama Tetsuo | 霧馬山 鐵雄

Michinoku | Mongolia
Hatsu 2023 Rank: Komusubi #1 East
Hatsu 2023 Record: 11-4 Jun-Yusho; Technique Prize

Winning his last 6 matches, Kiribayama earned a Jun-Yusho and possibly started an Ozeki run. Of course, duplicating an 11 win performance in Sanyaku is always a challenge. Yet Kiribayama is also 26, skilled, and well-built, so 2023 may be his year.









06 Komusubi #1 East Wakamotoharu

Wakamotoharu Minato | 若元春 港

Arashio | Fukushima
Hatsu 2023 Rank: Komusubi #2 West
Hatsu 2023 Record: 9-6

Wakamotoharu made his Maegashira debut as a 28 year old in January 2022, and he looked like a guy who may hang around Makuuchi. Instead, he made it to Sanyaku in January 2023 and went 9-6. Like younger brother Wakatakakage but more so, his size and strength disadvantage is overcome by doing things right and never giving an inch.







07 Komusubi #1 West Kotonowaka

Kotonowaka Masahiro | 琴ノ若 傑太

Sadogatake | Chiba
Hatsu 2023 Rank: Komusubi #1 West
Hatsu 2023 Record: 8-7

After starting 0-4, Kotonowaka righted the ship for a bare kachi-koshi in his Komusubi debut. He has an immense amount of potential and knows what he's doing out there. His next step is figuring out how to handle the best of the best.









08 Komusubi #2 East Daieisho

Daieisho Hayato | 大栄翔 勇人

Oitekaze | Saitama
Hatsu 2023 Rank: Maegashira #1 West
Hatsu 2023 Record: 10-5

Daieisho returned to something like his best form after falling out of the Sanyaku ranks for January. He's back in Sanykau for March, but he's been able to hold his own before. A series of thrusts to the chest is just never easy to deal with, and Daieisho does it as well as anyone.







09 Komusubi #2 West Tobizaru

Tobizaru Masaya | 翔猿 正也

Oitekaze | Tokyo
Hatsu 2023 Rank: Maegashira #1 East
Hatsu 2023 Record: 8-7

The Flying Monkey went 8-7 because of a five-match winning streak to close the Hatsu basho. A Tobizaru match always feels like it could go anywhere and see anything. Even if he won't dominate, he'll be fun.










10 Maegashira #1 East Tamawashi

Tamawashi Ichiro | 玉鷲 一朗

Kataonami | Mongolia
Hatsu 2023 Rank: Maegashira #2 West
Hatsu 2023 Record: 9-6

Sumo's grand old man doesn't seem like slowing down soon. Tamawashi's sumo is straightforward, a nodowa (a throat thrust) and hope that knocks the other guy out. And apparently that is how you compete at sumo's highest level at 38 years old.










11 Maegashira #1 West Shodai

Shodai Naoya | 正代 直也

Tokitsukaze | Kumamoto
Hatsu 2023 Rank: Sekiwake #2 West
Hatsu 2023 Record: 6-9

Shodai spectacularly crashed out of the Sanyaku ranks after spectacularly crashing out of Ozeki. Before his Ozeki run, Shodai was the type of sumotori who would pile up wins from a low enough ranks. Haru will prove if that's still true.










12 Maegashira #2 East Abi

Abi Masatora | 阿炎 政虎

Shikoroyama | Saitama
Hatsu 2023 Rank: Maegashira #3 East
Hatsu 2023 Record: 8-7

Abi followed up his yusho with an 8-7, which is a comedown but also a winning record. His sumo hasn't changed in his career, but his length and athleticism make throwing both hands at the other guy work. He will probably be closer to 8 wins than 12, but he can knock off anyone.







13 Maegashira #2 West Ryuden

Ryuden Goshi | 竜電 剛至

Takadagawa | Yamanashi
Hatsu 2023 Rank: Maegashira #5 East
Hatsu 2023 Record: 9-6

Ryuden has tremendous length, veteran smarts, and a remarkable ability to pretzel an opponent and himself. That's not really a yusho-winning combination, but he's wildly dangerous still. Ryuden has to be high among Maegashira his fellow rikishi hate seeing across the dohyo.








14 Maegashira #3 East Mitakeumi

Mitakeumi Hisashi | 御嶽海 久司

Dewanoumi | Nagano
Hatsu 2023 Rank: Maegashira #2 East
Hatsu 2023 Record: 7-8

Mitakeumi stabilized his slide down the Banzuke a little with a 7-8 in January.It's worth remembering he was promoted to Ozeki just a year ago. If he gets healthy from whatever has been bothering him, Mitakeumi should be good.









15 Maegashira #3 West Nishikigi

Nishikigi Tetsuya | 錦木 徹也

Isenoumi | Iwate
Hatsu 2023 Rank: Maegashira #5 West
Hatsu 2023 Record: 9-6

Nishikigi's career renaissance continued, as the 32 year old had another winning record in January. He was in Juryo for most of 2021, but is now a firm Maegashira. This shows there's always value in grabbing the other guy in close and not backing down.









16 Maegashira #4 East Onosho

Onosho Fumiya | 阿武咲 奎也

Onomatsu | Aomori
Hatsu 2023 Rank: Maegashira #8 East
Hatsu 2023 Record: 10-5

Onosho had one of his better basho of recent vintage spoiled by a final day hairpull on Hoshoryu. 10-5 is still quite good and lets the former Komusubi once again try against the top of the Banzuke. His recent experience with the joi has not gone well, however.









17 Maegashira #4 West Meisei

Meisei Chikara | 明生 力

Tatsunami | Kagashima
Hatsu 2023 Rank: Komusubi #2 East
Hatsu 2023 Record: 5-10

Meisei returned to Komusubi in January and could not handle the rank this time around. A demotion should help him, although his sumo can get out of sorts. He's a pusher-thruster, but not one who can overwhelm many rikishi, which is often his problem.









18 Maegashira #5 East Kotoshoho

Kotoshoho Yoshinari | 琴勝峰 吉成

Sadogatake | Chiba
Hatsu 2023 Rank: Maegashira #13 East
Hatsu 2023 Record: 11-4 Jun-Yusho; Fighting Spirit Prize

Kotoshoho's 11-4 Jun-Yusho was in some ways an announcement by the 23 year old he could be a force in sumo. On the other hand, he was at Maegashira #2 in January 2021. What no one has ever doubted is the talent, but injuries coupled with a wild approach have left him not hitting his potential. He easily could be now.





19 Maegashira #5 West Midorifuji

Midorifuji Kazunari | 翠富士 一成

Shizuoka | Isegahama
Hatsu 2023 Rank: Maegashira #3 West
Hatsu 2023 Record: 6-9

In the top portion of the banzuke, Midorifuji is pretty much always at a size disadvantage against his opponents. Of course, he's facing the best because he is a skilled rikishi, especially using the katasukashi, or under-shoulder swing down. He now has to find a way to beat the very best.







20 Maegashira #6 East Endo

Endo Shota | 遠藤 聖大

Oitekaze | Ishikawa
Hatsu 2023 Rank: Maegashira #9 West
Hatsu 2023 Record: 9-6

Endo had his first winning record in five bashos in January. Talent and ability were never Endo's problems, but he had a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none issue where he never had a consistent Plan A. Recently, injuries have also hampered him, although a strong rikishi is still there.








21 Maegashira #6 West Sadanoumi

Sadanoumi Takashi | 佐田の海 貴士

Sakaigawa | Kumamoto
Hatsu 2023 Rank: Maegashira #4 West
Hatsu 2023 Record: 6-9

Sadanoumi's surprising upper Maegashira run as a 35 year old might have ended with a 6-9 record for Hatsu. On the other hand, a truly lopsided record is out of the question for the veteran, who knows what he's doing. In fact, a demotion may see him come near a winning record again.








22 Maegashira #7 East Hokutofuji

Hokutofuji Daiki | 北勝富士 大輝

Hakkaku | Saitama

Hatsu 2023 Rank: Maegashira #6 East

Hatsu 2023 Record: 7-8

The sometime-Sanyaku version of Hokutofuji just might be gone. On the other hand, he doesn't look that different--foot stomp, hard shove to the throat, and fight like hell still describes a Hokutofuji match. The fine margins might just be catching up to him.









23 Maegashira #7 West Takayasu

Takayasu Akira | 高安 晃

Tagonoura | Ibaraki
Hatsu 2023 Rank: Sekiwake #2 East
Hatsu 2023 Record: 1-5-9

Takayasu looked like he never recovered from his two losses to Abi on Day Fifteen last November. In particular, he cited a shinbone problem as he left. The former Ozeki and 7 time Jun-Yusho winner also looked out of it, which is more concerning long-term.









24 Maegashira #8 East Ichiyamamoto

Ichiyamamoto Daiki | 一山本 大生

Hanaregoma | Hokkaido
Hatsu 2023 Rank: Maegashira #14 East
Hatsu 2023 Record: 10-5

Ichiyamamoto had by far his best basho as a Maegashira in January, which was still only a 10-5. His all out effort and heavy pushing style is entertaining, but he is almost always at a size disadvantage against Maegashira opponents.









25 Maegashira #8 West Ura

Ura Kazuki | 宇良 和輝

Kise | Osaka
Hatsu 2023 Rank: Maegashira #7 West
Hatsu 2023 Record: 7-8

Still extremely entertaining, Ura's sumo has not been quite as effective as he would want in recent basho. He is now over 30, with a less than stellar health record, which should mean his athleticism is declining. Of course, someone as tricky as Ura may figure out how to throw another rikishi even if his knees didn't work at all.







26 Maegashira #9 East Aoiyama

Aoiyama Kosuke | 碧山 亘右

Kasugano | Bulgaria
Hatsu 2023 Rank: Maegashira #10 East
Hatsu 2023 Record: 8-7

Big Dan the Bulgarian Blue Mountain is 36 and isn't going to add athleticism or stylistic diversity. Yet Aoiyama managed a winning record as a Maegashira #10 in January because many rikishi are going to struggle with a man this big unloading a series of open-hand thrusts to their chests.








27 Maegashira #9 West Hiradoumi

Hiradoumi Yuki | 平戸海 雄貴

Sakaigawa | Nagasaki
Hatsu 2023 Rank: Maegashira #10 West
Hatsu 2023 Record: 8-7

After a winning record in his third Makuuchi basho, Hiradoumi will once again have a career high rank. Hiradoumi is not an imposing figure on the dohyo, but he is 22 and has shown an impressive in-ring versatility. He's a definite Maegashira, and now the big question becomes what his ultimate ceiling can be.








28 Maegashira #10 East Myogiryu

Myogiryu Yasunari | 妙義龍 泰成

Sakaigawa | Hyogo
Hatsu 2023 Rank: Maegashira #6 West
Hatsu 2023 Record: 6-9

With Okinoumi's retirement in January, Myogiryu is now the second-oldest rikishi in Makuuchi. He never learned to fight like an aging veteran, so let's just assume he'll fight until retirement as a slightly wild, athletic rikishi. Just don't expect retirement to come too soon.







29 Maegashira #10 West Nishikifuji

Nishikifuji Ryusei | 錦富士 隆聖

Isegahama | Aomori
Hatsu 2023 Rank: Maegashira #4 East
Hatsu 2023 Record: 4-11

Nishikifuji reached a career high rank in January, and didn't do very well as a Maegashira #4 East. That happens, and now his task is to regroup at mid-Maegashira and see if he can make a real run at a Sanyaku prize.









30 Maegashira #11 East Azumaryu

Azumaryu Tsuyoshi | 東龍 強

Tamanoi | Mongolia
Hatsu 2023 Rank: Maegashira #14 West
Hatsu 2023 Record: 9-6

Remarkably, it was 9th time lucky for Azumaryu, as he got his first ever Makuuchi winning record in his 9th basho as a Maegashira stretched out over almost a decade. He's 35 and has never been the most athletic rikishi, so he might not go much further, but he's got that kachi-koshi feather in his cap.







31 Maegashira #11 West Takanosho

Takanosho Nobuaki | 隆の勝 伸明

Tokiwayama | Chiba
Hatsu 2023 Rank: Maegashira #9 East
Hatsu 2023 Record: 6-9

Takanosho was a Sanyaku man as recently as a year ago, but has not looked the same since an injury last July. At 28, he should be in his prime, but he can't get himself back on track. He's a rikishi with a defined style, a contained pushing approach that leads to slap downs and side shoves alot, so see if he is fighting that way early in March.







32 Maegashira #12 East Kagayaki

Kagayaki Taishi | 輝 大士

Takadagawa | Ishikawa
Hatsu 2023 Rank: Maegashira #12 East
Hatsu 2023 Record: 7-8

Kagayaki followed his 9-6 Makuuchi return in November with a 7-8. That's been pretty typical of his career over the last few years, although on paper Kagayaki seems like he should be a dominant rikishi.










33 Maegashira #12 West Takarafuji

Takarafuji Daisuke | 宝富士 大輔

Isegahama | Aomori
Hatsu 2023 Rank: Maegashira #16 East
Hatsu 2023 Record: 8-7

After a very bad November, Takarafuji fell to the foot of Makuuchi and went 8-7. That means he continues his 11 year run in Makuuchi for at least one more basho. The 36 year old is hanging on still.










34 Maegashira #13 East Kotoeko

Kotoeko Mitsunori | 琴恵光 充憲

Sadogatake | Miyazaki
Hatsu 2023 Rank: Maegashira #13 West
Hatsu 2023 Record: 7-8

Kotoeko scrapped his way to a 7-8 in lower Maegashira. That will keep him at the bottom of Makkuchi to flex his muscles and just go after the other guy as hard as he can.










35 Maegashira #13 East Daishoho

Daishoho Kiyohiro | 大翔鵬 清洋

Oitekaze | Mongolian
Hatsu 2023 Rank: Juryo #6 West
Hatsu 2023 Record: 12-3

Daishoho will return to Makuuchi after a strong 12-3 record in Juryo. His previous Maegashira career has been poor over five basho. Perhaps he has figured something new out at 28, or he's going to get overwhelmed again.









36 Maegashira #14 East Kinbozan

Kinbozan Haruki | 金峰山 晴樹

Kise | Kazakhstan
Hatsu 2023 Rank: Juryo #5 East
Hatsu 2023 Record: 11-4

Kinbozan is a big (191 cm, 165 kg) Kazakhstan native who went to University in Japan. He made short work of the lower divisions after entering as a Sandanme Tsukedashi in November 2021. He is already 25, so he is what he is now most likely, but he could make noise in Makuuchi immediately.







37 Maegashira #14 West Bushozan

Bushozan Kotaro | 武将山 虎太郎

Fujishima | Ibaraki
Hatsu 2023 Rank: Juryo #1 West
Hatsu 2023 Record: 9-6

Bushozan will make his Makuuchi debut in Haru. He's a 27 year old pusher-thruster who has been in Juryo for two years and steadily climbed to Makuuchi over the last few basho. He is unlikely to bowl over Maegshira, but he shouldn't be embarassed either.









38 Maegashira #15 East Hokuseiho

Hokuseiho Osamu | 北青鵬 治

Miyagino | Hokkaido
Hatsu 2023 Rank: Juryo #2 East
Hatsu 2023 Record: 9-6

Hokuseiho is a Mongolian-born, Hokkaido raised Hakuho protege that makes an anticipated Makuuchi debut. He is 21, absolutely massive, and has a 93-32-35 career record. His upright, almost cautious style looks awkward, but he has learned how to use his size advantage to win consistently before Makuuchi. His future is as bright as almost anyone's in sumo.







39 Maegashira #15 West Oho

Oho Konosuke | 王鵬 幸之介

Otake | Tokyo
Hatsu 2023 Rank: Maegashira #8 West
Hatsu 2023 Record: 4-11

Oho followed up what seemed to be a breakout November tournament with a ghastly 4-11 in January. He likely saved his Makuuchi spot only by winning his final three matches. He's 22, well-built, and skilled, so he should improve from this.










40 Maegashira #16 East Chiyoshoma

Chiyoshoma Fujio | 千代翔馬 富士雄

Kokonoe | Mongolia
Hatsu 2023 Rank: Maegashira #11 East
Hatsu 2023 Record: 5-10

Chiyoshoma's January did not go well, as he only managed 5 wins. To add to that glum total, one of his wins was a hansoku (penalty) victory over Takanosho. With his Makuuchi status on the line, maybe the Henka Master will be full of nonsense in March.









41 Maegashira #16 West Tsurugisho

Tsurugisho Momotaro | 剣翔 桃太郎

Oitekaze | Tokyo
Hatsu 2023 Rank: Maegashira #15 East
Hatsu 2023 Record: 7-8

Tsurugisho mostly held his own, which was clearly good enough to keep his Maegashira rank. A fairly large yori-kiri specialist, Tsurugisho is somewhere between the 35 and 50th best rikishi right now. That means he's likely to float back to Juryo soon, but will also not be gone for long.








42 Maegashira #17 East Mitoryu

Mitoryu Takayuki | 水戸龍 聖之

Nishikido | Mongolia
Hatsu 2023 Rank: Maegashira #15 West
Hatsu 2023 Record: 7-8

Mitoryu's losing record in the lowest Maegashira line saved him because it was just a 7-8 and there were worse performances above him. Nothing in Mitoryu's record suggests he'll storm his way up the Banzuke, but he also seems fated to hang around .500 for a few basho.

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