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Hatsu 2023 Rikishi Preview

The first basho of 2023 is less than a week away. You can sign up now on Fantasizr to play Fantasy Basho for Hatsu. Live sumo begins on January 8th. As you decide on your opening lineup, here's a capsule preview for all 42 top division rikishi.

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01 Yokozuna East Terunofuji

Terunofuji Haruo | 照ノ富士 春雄

Isegahama | Mongolia

Kyushu 2022 Rank: Yokozuna East

Kyushu 2022 Record: 0-0-15

Terunofuji is likely out once again in January, as his injuries are not fully healed. As a Yokozuna, he has earned the right to sit out a tournament and keep his place. Of course, the questions about possible retirement don't rest while he does.








02 Ozeki West Takakeisho

Takakeisho Mitsunobu | 貴景勝 光信

Tokiwayama | Hyogo

Kyushu 2022 Rank: Ozeki East

Kyushu 2022 Record: 12-3 Jun-Yusho

Takakeisho could, in theory, get a Yokozuna promotion with an impressive yusho. That is by no means a given, either for him to win the yusho or do it in a way that gets the promotion. As the only Ozeki, he should dominate, but he hasn't quite managed that recently.







03 Sekiwake #1 East Wakatakakage

Wakatakakage Atsushi | 若隆景 渥

Arashio | Fukushima

Kyushu 2022 Rank: Sekiwake #1 East

Kyushu 2022 Record: 8-7

Wakatakakage has kept his Sekiwake rank for a full year, which is nothing to sneeze at. Of course, that also means he hasn't done enough for an Ozeki run. He is a skillful rikishi who always gives max effort, but his size has maybe made this his (quite impressive) ceiling.







04 Sekiwake #1 West Hoshoryu

Hoshoryu Tomokatsu | 豊昇龍 智勝

Tatsunami | Mongolia

Kyushu 2022 Rank: Sekiwake #1 West

Kyushu 2022 Record: 11-4 Technique Prize

Hoshoryu has possibly started an Ozeki run at the age of 23 with 11 wins in Kyushu. His Technique Prize was well-deserved, as he won with eight different kimarite. 2023 could be his year.










05 Sekiwake #2 East Takayasu

Takayasu Akira | 高安 晃

Tagonoura | Ibaraki

Kyushu 2022 Rank: Maegashira #1 East

Kyushu 2022 Record: 12-3 Jun-Yusho; Outstanding Performance Prize

Takayasu had yet another Jun-Yusho, the third of 2022 and eighth of his career for Kyushu. He also did not look great after his playoff loss to Abi. If he is right, and that's no guarantee, he's a contender again for Hatsu







06 Sekiwake #2 West Shodai

Shodai Naoya | 正代 直也

Tokitsukaze | Kumamoto

Kyushu 2022 Rank: Ozeki West

Kyushu 2022 Record: 6-9

Shodai needs to get 10 wins to bounce back up to Ozeki. Since he only achieved 10 wins in his last two basho combined, that may seem like a long shot. Yet Shodai has survived kadoban scares enough the possibility shouldn't be discounted.








07 Komusubi #1 East Kiribayama

Kiribayama Tetsuo | 霧馬山 鐵雄

Michinoku | Mongolia

Kyushu 2022 Rank: Komusubi #1 West

Kyushu 2022 Record: 8-7

Kiribayama has quietly made himself into a Sanyaku regular. On the other hand, the Misty Horse Mountain hasn't really been in a yusho race yet, and his ultimate ceiling could be this or just a little better. That is a huge difference for a sekitori, but he may be able to make that next step.







08 Komusubi #1 West Kotonowaka

Kotonowaka Masahiro | 琴ノ若 傑太

Sadogatake | Chiba

Kyushu 2022 Rank: Maegashira #1 West

Kyushu 2022 Record: 9-6

Kotonowaka finally makes his Komusubi debut, although he's fought well enough to earn it before. He is 25, fundamentally impeccable, and has a great track record already. He should be going places in 2023.









09 Komusubi #2 East Meisei

Meisei Chikara | 明生 力

Tatsunami | Kagashima

Kyushu 2022 Rank: Maegashira #2 East

Kyushu 2022 Record: 9-6

Meisei has been at Komusubi before, but he's yet to really make it stick. He's got the talent and athleticism to do well against lower-ranked foes but hasn't consistently performed against the best of the best.









10 Komusubi #2 West Wakamotoharu

Wakamotoharu Minato | 若元春 港

Arashio | Fukushima

Kyushu 2022 Rank: Maegashira #4 East

Kyushu 2022 Record: 10-5

Wakamotoharu makes his Sanyaku debut a year after his Maegashira debut. He sort of surpassed expectations getting to the top division, so this is going even beyond that. He should get eaten alive at Komusubi, but doubting him was a bad move in 2022.








11 Maegashira #1 East Tobizaru

Tobizaru Masaya | 翔猿 正也

Oitekaze | Tokyo

Kyushu 2022 Rank: Komusubi #2 East

Kyushu 2022 Record: 7-8

The Flying Monkey just fell short of staying at Komusubi at Kyushu. He clearly has the ability to hang around this rank, despite a style that seems designed to make every match as wild as possible. He'll be the most fun wrestler at Hatsu, and he may also get a winning record.







12 Maegashira #1 West Daieisho

Daieisho Hayato | 大栄翔 勇人

Oitekaze | Saitama

Kyushu 2022 Rank: Komusubi #2 West

Kyushu 2022 Record: 7-8

Certainly, Daieisho's pushing attack is good enough to keep him around lower Sanyaku and upper Maegashira. The likelihood is that he will be around the kachi-koshi line for Hatsu, but he can surprise occasionally. The man has a yusho to his name for a reason.







13 Maegashira #2 East Mitakeumi

Mitakeumi Hisashi | 御嶽海 久司

Dewanoumi | Nagano

Kyushu 2022 Rank: Sekiwake #2 West

Kyushu 2022 Record: 6-9

Mitakeumi is hanging out in the Maegashira ranks for the first time since March 2020. In the meantime, he's won another yusho, made it to Ozeki, and quickly fell out of sumo's second rank.The talent is obviously there, but it's a question of health at this point in his career.







14 Maegashira #2 West Tamawashi

Tamawashi Ichiro | 玉鷲 一朗

Kataonami | Mongolia

Kyushu 2022 Rank: Komusubi #1 East

Kyushu 2022 Record: 6-9

Tamawashi did not quite repeat his yusho performance of Aki at the Kyushu basho. In fact, his 6-9 immediately dropped him out of Sanyaku. However, he is still incredibly tough and knows what he's doing on the dohyo.








15 Maegashira #3 East Abi

Abi Masatora | 阿炎 政虎

Shikoroyama | Saitama

Kyushu 2022 Rank: Maegashira #9 West

Kyushu 2022 Record: 12-3 Yusho; Fighting Spirit Prize

Abi snagged a surprise yusho for Kyushu, making him the third straight Maegashira champion and a sixth different champion in 2022. He was ranked lower with an easier schedule, but Abi also had to succeed in two playoff matches. Abi is unlikely to repeat, but he can still rack up wins in this spot.






16 Maegashira #3 West Midorifuji

Midorifuji Kazunari | 翠富士 一成

Shizuoka | Isegahama

Kyushu 2022 Rank: Maegashira #3 West

Kyushu 2022 Record: 8-7

Midorifuji has kept his rank after a winning record, which is an extremely tough beat. Yet he's also set to face the top men once again, where he did okay. He's entering his prime and knocking on the door of Sanyaku, so it's time to see how far his katasukashi can take him.







17 Maegashira #4 East Nishikifuji

Nishikifuji Ryusei | 錦富士 隆聖

Isegahama | Aomori

Kyushu 2022 Rank: Maegashira #5 West

Kyushu 2022 Record: 9-6

After making his Makuuchi debut in July 2022, Nishikifuji has won 10, 10, and 9 matches in his three Maegashira bashos. The time has now come to see what he can really do against some of the best rikishi. He won't see all of Sanyaku, but some named ranks will be on his dance card.







18 Maegashira #4 West Sadanoumi

Sadanoumi Takashi | 佐田の海 貴士

Sakaigawa | Kumamoto

Kyushu 2022 Rank: Maegashira #4 West

Kyushu 2022 Record: 8-7

Sadanoumi, like Midorifuji, has held his rank after an 8-7. This is about as high as Sadanoumi can probably get, since he is 35 and has a career high rank of Maegashira 1. Clearly, he is also a tough opponent to beat still thanks to some veteran know-how.








19 Maegashira #5 East Ryuden

Ryuden Goshi | 竜電 剛至

Takadagawa | Yamanashi

Kyushu 2022 Rank: Maegashira #6 West

Kyushu 2022 Record: 9-6

Ryuden's 9-6 has secured that he is still a mid-Maegashira after his suspension and subsequent fall to Makushita. He was never really a guy who would contend for yushos, but he's effective. Getting worked and bounced around the dohyo is unpleasant for anyone.







20 Maegashira #5 West Nishikigi

Nishikigi Tetsuya | 錦木 徹也

Isenoumi | Iwate

Kyushu 2022 Rank: Maegashira #6 East

Kyushu 2022 Record: 8-7

A study in the value of getting a hold and keeping your feet, Nishikigi is able to stick in the middle of Makuuchi. His lack of athleticism means he can't really bowl anyone over or win a wild one. The key is he also knows how to avoid those.








21 Maegashira #6 East Hokutofuji

Hokutofuji Daiki | 北勝富士 大輝

Hakkaku | Saitama

Kyushu 2022 Rank: Maegashira #5 East

Kyushu 2022 Record: 7-8

Hokutofuji still looks like the guy who was in Sanyaku a few years ago, with a close-in nodowa at the tachiai. However, he has probably lost a step as he crossed 30. That doesn't mean he can't win in mid-Maegashira. He is still a talented, strong rikishi who is gaining veteran know-how.







22 Maegashira #6 West Myogiryu

Myogiryu Yasunari | 妙義龍 泰成

Sakaigawa | Hyogo

Kyushu 2022 Rank: Maegashira #7 West

Kyushu 2022 Record: 8-7

Myogiryu keeps hanging around, although he feels so much like a rikishi who should be going down the Banzuke. He is 36, and has often relied on his athleticism. Despite that, he keeps staying in the middle of Makuuchi.








23 Maegashira #7 East Ichinojo

Ichinojo Takashi | 逸ノ城 駿

Minato | Mongolia

Kyushu 2022 Rank: Maegashira #2 West

Kyushu 2022 Record: 4-11

Ichinojo will be missing from the Hatsu basho after being suspended for violating COVID protocols and lying about it.










24 Maegashira #7 West Ura

Ura Kazuki | 宇良 和輝

Kise | Osaka

Kyushu 2022 Rank: Maegashira #3 East

Kyushu 2022 Record: 4-11

Ura did not have a good Kyushu basho, winning just four matches. This might be a weird benefit to him, because a rikishi as tricky as Ura is tougher when he hasn't been seen in a while. And at Maegashira #7 West, he should be facing a different slate of opponents.







25 Maegashira #8 East Onosho

Onosho Fumiya | 阿武咲 奎也

Onomatsu | Aomori

Kyushu 2022 Rank: Maegashira #11 East

Kyushu 2022 Record: 9-6

A rikishi who seems to be at his best below Maegashira #10, Onosho is at Maegashira #8 East after a 9-6 in Kyushu. He still has the talent that made him a young superstar, but he has struggled with consistency and injuries. It feels like at some point he could have a really strong basho even if it hasn't happened just yet.







26 Maegashira #8 West Oho

Oho Konosuke | 王鵬 幸之介

Otake | Tokyo

Kyushu 2022 Rank: Maegashira #13 West

Kyushu 2022 Record: 10-5

Oho broke through in Kyushu, falling out of the yusho race only when he began facing fellow yusho contenders. He is 22 and very gifted, while also possesing a good sense of fundamentals. He might not repeat double-digit wins in January, but he showed his bright future is coming sooner rather than later.






27 Maegashira #9 East Takanosho

Takanosho Nobuaki | 隆の勝 伸明

Tokiwayama | Chiba

Kyushu 2022 Rank: Maegashira #9 East

Kyushu 2022 Record: 7-8

Takanosho has been middling over the last few basho after an injury in July. He was a sekiwake a year ago, and that sekitori is still there somewhere. If he can be healthy. he'll do some damage.









28 Maegashira #9 West Endo

Endo Shota | 遠藤 聖大

Oitekaze | Ishikawa

Kyushu 2022 Rank: Maegashira #7 East

Kyushu 2022 Record: 6-9

Endo had a mediocre 2022. That could mean he is slowing down in his thirties, or it could just be he is finding his sumo style as an aging veteran. His skills would often get him in trouble even at his best. If he uses a decline in athleticism to find a way to impose his technique advantage on opponents.







29 Maegashira #10 East Aoiyama

Aoiyama Kosuke | 碧山 亘右

Kasugano | Bulgaria

Kyushu 2022 Rank: Maegashira #10 East

Kyushu 2022 Record: 7-8

The Bulgarian Blue Mountain is still doing what he's always done. He doesn't quite have his old power, but he can keep other rikishi off their game with his long arms. If his alternating thrusts don't work, he doesn't have many options. The problem is still getting him off the game he wants to play.







30 Maegashira #10 West Hiradoumi

Hiradoumi Yuki | 平戸海 雄貴

Sakaigawa | Nagasaki

Kyushu 2022 Rank: Maegashira #16 West

Kyushu 2022 Record: 10-5

Hiradoumi announced himself during the Kyushu basho, getting double-digit wins and making himself a solid Maegashira at 22. He is somewhat undersized, but he definitely has the ability to turn into a longterm top level sumotori.








31 Maegashira #11 East Chiyoshoma

Chiyoshoma Fujio | 千代翔馬 富士雄

Kokonoe | Mongolia

Kyushu 2022 Rank: Maegashira #10 West

Kyushu 2022 Record: 7-8

Chiyoshoma is still the master of tricks, which makes him oddly unappealing to watch. He mostly seems to be trying to surprise his opponent by doing something odd. With his reputation, that sometimes means he takes the other guy head on.








32 Maegashira #11 West Tochinoshin

Tochinoshin Tsuyoshi | 栃ノ心 剛史

Kasugano | Georgia

Kyushu 2022 Rank: Maegashira #8 West

Kyushu 2022 Record: 6-9

Tochinoshin is still holding on to a Maegashira spot, but a 6-9 at Maegashira #8 may show he's better in lower Makuuchi right now. The crane lifting Ozeki version of the big Georgian isn't seen as much anymore, but the veteran savvy version who finds a way to win when he needs to can get a kachi-koshi.







33 Maegashira #12 East Kagayaki

Kagayaki Taishi | 輝 大士

Takadagawa | Ishikawa

Kyushu 2022 Rank: Maegashira #15 East

Kyushu 2022 Record: 9-6

After a 9-6 at Kyushu following two Juryo basho, Kagayaki is once again a firm Maegashira. Few men below Sanyakyu look more like the sumo ideal when they mount the dohyo. Kagayaki's problem is that he doesn't look that way once the matches begin.








34 Maegashira #12 West Okinoumi

Okinoumi Ayumi | 隠岐の海 歩

Hakkaku | Shimane

Kyushu 2022 Rank: Maegashira #13 East

Kyushu 2022 Record: 8-7

Okinoumi got a kachi-koshi, which means he is fighting off a final slide into Juryo. He is 37, fought in 75 Makuuchi basho, and has been in the top division for over 12 years. Let's hope he can go even longer.









35 Maegashira #13 East Kotoshoho

Kotoshoho Yoshinari | 琴勝峰 吉成

Sadogatake | Chiba

Kyushu 2022 Rank: Maegashira #11 West

Kyushu 2022 Record: 7-8

Kotoshoho may be the most talented rikishi in Makuuchi, but he is also incredibly wild. He loses his feet and flies around the dohyo much too often. Even so, he is so big, strong, and athletic he can generally hang around kachi-koshi.








36 Maegashira #13 West Kotoeko

Kotoeko Mitsunori | 琴恵光 充憲

Sadogatake | Miyazaki

Kyushu 2022 Rank: Maegashira #12 East

Kyushu 2022 Record: 7-8

Sumo's best scrapper is still around. He is smaller than average and doesn't have any notable skills compared to many other Maegashira. He will just come at you and make sure to be in any match.









37 Maegashira #14 East Ichiyamamoto

Ichiyamamoto Daiki | 一山本 大生

Hanaregoma | Hokkaido

Kyushu 2022 Rank: Maegashira #14 East

Kyushu 2022 Record: 7-8

Ichiyamamoto will send both hands to the other guy's throat. Ichiyamamoto has no plan B. Ichiyamamoto still has the ability to stick in Maegashira.










38 Maegashira #14 West Azumaryu

Azumaryu Tsuyoshi | 東龍 強

Tamanoi | Mongolia

Kyushu 2022 Rank: Maegashira #14 West

Kyushu 2022 Record: 7-8

Azumaryu has still not had a winning record in Makuuchi in 10 attempts. The reason to think he may get there in Hatsu is that he keeps making it to Maegashira and he was able to make 7-8 last time around.








39 Maegashira #15 East Tsurugisho

Tsurugisho Momotaro | 剣翔 桃太郎

Oitekaze | Tokyo

Kyushu 2022 Rank: Juryo #3 East

Kyushu 2022 Record: 10-5

Tsurugisho pops back up from Juryo after a 10-5. Based on his previous track record, he is unlikely to get double digits in the top division.










40 Maegashira #15 West Mitoryu

Mitoryu Takayuki | 水戸龍 聖之

Nishikido | Mongolia

Kyushu 2022 Rank: Juryo #3 West

Kyushu 2022 Record: 9-6

Mitoryu returns to Makuuchi for his second go-round after one basho in Juryo. He went 5-10 in September on his first try. He should be better this time, but probably won't set Makuuchi on fire.









41 Maegashira #16 East Takarafuji

Takarafuji Daisuke | 宝富士 大輔

Isegahama | Aomori

Kyushu 2022 Rank: Maegashira #8 East

Kyushu 2022 Record: 3-12

Takarafuji had a very bad basho in Kyushu, and he looked completely out of sort. Age could finally be catching up to him. On the other hand, he should be able to hold his own against lower Maegashira if he is on form in any way in January.








42 Maegashira #16 West Chiyomaru

Chiyomaru Kazuki | 千代丸 一樹

Kokonoe | Kagoshima

Kyushu 2022 Rank: Juryo #1 West

Kyushu 2022 Record: 8-7

The Eternally Round one is back in Makuuchi! That may not lead to a great performance, but Chiyomaru's presence always makes Makuuchi that much more enjoyable.

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