Kyushu 2019 Rikishi Preview
鶴竜 力三郎 | Kakuryu Rikisaburo
Last 3 Basho: 4-4-7, 14-1 Y, 11-4
Previous Rank: Yokozuna East
Kakuryu will maintain his Yokozuna East spot by virtue of mounting the dohyo enough at Aki. He seems to be over the left knee issue that hurt him in September. He also is faced with changing stables, after his oyakata died recently.
白鵬 翔 | Hakuho Sho
Last 3 Basho: 0-2-13, 12-3 J, 0-0-15
Previous Rank: Yokozuna East
Hakuho lost his opening match to Hokutofuji, then sat out the rest of the Aki basho with a thumb injury. Supposedly, that's good enough for the dai-Yokozuna to compete. How well he'll compete is not clear.
豪栄道 豪太郎 | Goeido Gotaro
Ozeki 1 East
Last 3 Basho: 10-5, 3-5-7, 9-6
Previous Rank: Ozeki 1 West
Once again, Goeido managed to retain his Ozeki rank while he was kadoban. In fact, he won 10 matches. The weirdest thing about Goeido is that he is firmly a solid Ozeki who will win plenty, but rarely be in a yusho race.
高安 晃 | Takayasu Akira
Ozeki 1 West
Last 3 Basho: 0-0-15, 8-3-4, 9-6
Previous Rank: Ozeki 1 East
Takayasu was doing well in Nagoya until he got injured by Tamawashi. He secured 8 wins after that, which allowed him to sit out Aki with a bad elbow. He does need 8 wins in Kyushu to keep his Ozeki rank, and he's still got a massive brace on his left arm.
貴景勝 光信 | Takakeisho Mitsunobu
Ozeki 2 East
Last 3 Basho: 12-3 J, 0-0-15, 3-4-8
Previous Rank: Sekiwake West
He's back. Takakeisho got injured at Natsyu, and his stablemaster held him out for Nagoya, costing himself his Ozeki spot. He was right, as Takakeisho made it to a playoff for the yusho and won back his Ozeki title. He's a yusho favorite for Kyushu.
御嶽海 久司 | Mitakeumi Hisashi
Last 3 Basho: 12-3 Y, 9-6, 9-6
Previous Rank: Sekiwake East
Mitakeumi got his second Yusho at Aki, and he is a firm Sanyaku wrestler now. On the other hard, he needs twelve wins again for an Ozeki promotion, and he has not put together back to back double-digit wins in over 4 years.
栃ノ心 剛史 | Tochinoshin Tsuyoshi
Last 3 Basho: 6-9, 0-6-9, 10-5
Previous Rank: Ozeki 2 East
Tochinoshin lost his Ozeki rank again at Aki. Most troublingly is his form, because his knee was so bad he couldn't do his brand of sumo. Watching Tochinoshin without his crane-lift is difficult. It also might lead to him falling further down the banzuke.
阿炎 政虎 | Abi Masatora
Komusubi 1 East
Last 3 Basho: 9-6, 8-7, 10-5
Previous Rank: Komusubi East
So Abi is definitely a Komusubi. Abi has not developed another move or opening gambit besides the double-hand-to-the-throat. However, he is being slightly more strategic by using his shiftiness when caught out. Bottom line is he's winning.
遠藤 聖大 | Endo Shota
Komusubi 1 West
Last 3 Basho: 8-7, 10-5, 7-8
Previous Rank: Komusubi West
Endo also held onto his Komusubi spot. Endo's career can be read as a disappointment considering his intial success. At 29, he might not have stopped ascending the ranks, but he does need to be on his best form.
北勝富士 大輝 | Hokutofuji Daiki
Komusubi 2 East
Last 3 Basho: 9-6, 9-6, 7-8
Previous Rank: Maegashira 1 East
Hokutofuji has done enough to deserve a Komusubi spot, but everyone above him has done enough to hold onto the Sanyaku slots. So he's a Komusubi 2, which is almost a challenge to prove he can stand out among his peers.
朝乃山 英樹 | Asanoyama Hideki
Komusubi 2 West
Last 3 Basho: 10-5, 7-8, 12-3 Y
Previous Rank: Maegashira 2 West
After his 7-8 at Nagoya, Asanoyama showed he is still a future star by gathering 10 wins in Aki. He will make his Sanyaku debut as a Komusubi 2 West, but the honors are all the same. He also gets to show what he can do against the best of the best.
大栄翔 勇人 | Daieisho Hayato
Maegashira 1 East
Last 3 Basho: 8-7, 8-7, 7-8
Previous Rank: Maegashira 3 East
Daieisho has yet to set the world on fire, but he has consistently won in upper Maegashira. He works like a bulldozer, getting up and under on his opponent. That maneuver is always dangerous, but has yet to steadily dominate.
隠岐の海 歩 | Okinoumi Ayumi
Maegashira 1 West
Last 3 Basho: 11-4, 8-7, 5-10
Previous Rank: Maegashira 8 East
Solid, effective Okinoumi has been a little more interesting of late. He is a veteran with plenty of tricks, which he rode to an 8-0 start for Aki. He did not do as well against a tougher dance slate after that point, so his serious promotion could signal trouble.
妙義龍 泰成 | Myogiryu Yasunari
Maegashira 2 East
Last 3 Basho: 8-5-2, 8-7, 6-9
Previous Rank: Maegashira 6 West
Myogiryu was having a very good tournament in Aki, then had to miss two days due to injury. He still came back to secure his 8 wins, which leads to a promotion. Maybe that promotion will spell doom, or maybe he's on one of his weird hot streaks.
明生 力 | Meisei Chikara
Maegashira 2 West
Last 3 Basho: 10-5, 4-11, 10-5
Previous Rank: Maegashira 10 West
Meisei is finding his level still, as he rebounded from a 4-win performance to a 10-win performance. That's been a constant theme for his career to date, and he usually keeps rising overall.
On the other hand, he just received another wild promotion.
宝富士 大輔 | Takarafuji Daisuke
Maegashira 3 East
Last 3 Basho: 9-6, 6-9, 8-7
Previous Rank: Maegashira 8 West
Takarafuji naturally balanced out his 6-9 in Nagoya with a 9-6 in September. With this Banzuke, that shot him to Maegashira 3.Best guess for Kyushu is he'll float round the .500 mark and be a tough out for anyone.
友風 勇太 | Tomokaze Yuta
Maegashira 3 West
Last 3 Basho: 7-8, 11-4 S, 8-7
Previous Rank: Maegashira 3 West
Well, Tomokaze got his first losing record at Aki, just barely, and from the joi-jin. He's still a future stud. He just hit a speedbump on his way up the ladder.
玉鷲 一朗 | Tamawashi Ichiro
Maegashira 4 East
Last 3 Basho: 7-8, 5-10, 10-5
Previous Rank: Maegashira 4 East
At 34, Tamawashi could be slowing down. On the other hand, the first half of 2019 saw him win a Yusho and perform quite well. Tamawashi is big, tough, and smart. That goes a long way in sumo.
琴勇輝 一巖 | Kotoyuki Kazuyoshi
Maegashira 4 West
Last 3 Basho: 9-6, 11-4, 11-4 (Juryo)
Previous Rank: Maegashira 9 West
Has Kotoyuki refound the sumo that got him into Sanyaku 3 years ago? Whatever it is, Kotoyuki has been very good for the past few tournaments and he now gets a real stiff challenge as he will face mid-maegashira and maybe even tougher.
碧山 亘右 | Aoiyama Kosuke
Maegashira 5 East
Last 3 Basho: 5-10, 8-7, 6-9, 12-3
Previous Rank: Maegashira 1 West
Aoiyama, perhaps predictably, got knocked around at Maegashira 1. Sliding back down the Banzuke might help, but he's proven he can do well enough for a kachi-koshi even fighting the top rikishi.
竜電 剛至 | Ryuden Goshi
Maegashira 5 West
Last 3 Basho: 7-8, 4-11, 10-5
Previous Rank: Maegashira 5 West
Ryuden's awkward sumo is also strangely effective at times, especially now that he is in a more favorable spot on the Banzuke. The key, as always, is a long match is in Ryuden's favor, and he has a strange ability to prolong matches and create stalemates.
阿武咲 奎也 | Onosho Fumiya
Maegashira 6 East
Last 3 Basho: 9-6, 6-9, 8-7
Previous Rank: Maegashira 11 East
Onosho got back to winning ways in Aki, but he didn't always look like he was in top form. His balance has been off since his leg injury way back in January 2018. He might actually be finding a new kind of sumo instead of his charging-ahead, pushing style.
炎鵬 晃 | Enho Akira
Maegashira 6 West
Last 3 Basho: 9-6, 9-6, 7-8
Previous Rank: Maegashira 11 West
The Sumo world's favorite mighty mite got his second straight 9 win perfromance at the Aki basho. Enho is always at a disadvantage, because he weighs so much less than anyone he will face. His range of skills puts him in any match, however.
剣翔 桃太郎 | Tsurugisho Momotaro
Maegashira 7 East
Last 3 Basho: 10-5, 13-2 Y (Juryo), 9-6 (Juryo)
Previous Rank: Maegashira 14 East
Tsurugisho made an impression on his Makuuchi debut, garnering 10 wins and a nice promotion. Now everyone has seen him and might be ready for him. Also, he will be facing a much tougher schedule up here.
琴恵光 充憲 | Kotoeko Mitsunori
Maegashira 7 West
Last 3 Basho: 7-8, 9-6, 8-7
Previous Rank: Maegashira 7 West
Kotoeko has become a mid-Maegashira who is always floating right around a bare kachi-koshi. That's better than being in danger of getting sent back down to Juryo, but it asks questions about his upside.
松鳳山 裕也 | Shohozan Yuya
Maegashira 8 East
Last 3 Basho: 9-6, 6-9, 8-7
Previous Rank: Maegashira 12 East
Shohozan is doing his best to not go gently into that good night. In a position where a bad record would send him to Juryo for the first time since 2015, Shohozan put up 9 wins. More interestingly, he went to the mawashi more than usual.
佐田の海 貴士 | Sadanoumi Takashi
Maegashira 8 West
Last 3 Basho: 8-7, 9-6, 7-8
Previous Rank: Maegashira 10 East
Solid Sadanoumi once again achieved a solid 8-7. He is a good wrestler who is never very spectacular. That underwhelming style is still good enough to always be around the kachi-koshi/make-koshi line.
琴奨菊 和弘 | Kotoshogiku Kazuhiro
Maegashira 9 East
Last 3 Basho: 6-9, 7-8, 6-9
Previous Rank: Maegashira 7 East
The Chrysanthemum Harp keeps slowly sliding down the Banzuke. It's important to remember that he is a former Ozeki who is seeing many of his contemporaries retire. Holding on is not ideal, but is also better than the alternative.
豊山 亮太 | Yutakayama Ryota
Maegashira 9 West
Last 3 Basho: 10-5, 9-6 (Juryo), 8-7 (Juryo)
Previous Rank: Maegashira 16 East
Yutakayama is a relatively young sekitori who is recovering from his first major setback. In collecting 10 wins, his promise was on full display. He definitely has the size and skills to keep shooting up the banzuke; he just has to put it all together.
志摩ノ海 航洋 | Shimanoumi Koyo
Maegashira 10 East
Last 3 Basho: 5-10, 8-7, 10-5
Previous Rank: Maegashira 6 East
Shimanoumi finally hit a wall in Aki, after his baffling hot streak over the first four tournaments of 2019, during which he turned 30 and got his Makuuchi debut. Predicting his performance is not for the faint-hearted.
正代 直也 | Shodai Naoya
Maegashira 10 West
Last 3 Basho: 3-12, 7-8, 10-5
Previous Rank: Maegashira 4 West
Shodai had a miserable tournament at Aki, winning just 3 matches. That could be good for him, because he no longer has to face the top ranked rikishi. He is skilled, except for an awful tachiai, and he is better than most wrestlers he will face here.
石浦 将勝 | Ishiura Masakatsu
Maegashira 11 East
Last 3 Basho: 8-7, 9-6 (Juryo), 5-10
Previous Rank: Maegashira 15 East
Ishiura got 8 wins and quit yo-yoing between Makuuchi and Juryo. He is still on the small side, although heavily muscled, which gives him weird competitive disadvantages. He is silppery enough to overcome it when he's focused, but he can lose it for stretches.
千代大龍 秀政 | Chiyotairyu Hidemasa
Maegashira 11 West
Last 3 Basho: 2-13, 8-7, 6-9
Previous Rank: Maegashira 5 East
Chiyotairyu had an awful tournament. His tachiai-only approach is somewhat limiting, and he ran into trouble against the best sekitori. He is so powerful that he won't fall off instantly, but he's probably on the downslope of his career.
逸ノ城 駿 | Ichinojo Takashi
Maegashira 12 East
Last 3 Basho: 1-4-10, 9-6, 5-7-3
Previous Rank: Maegashira 2 East
All 500 lbs of Inchinojo fell on his arm in a match against Kakuryu, which naturally led to a shoulder injury. He has not been seen on a dohyo since, which is probably not unexpected. This being sumo, he might still try to fight in Kyushu.
隆の勝 伸明 | Takanosho Nobuaki
Maegashira 12 West
Last 3 Basho: 10-5 (Juryo), 9-6 (Juryo), 7-8 (Juryo)
Previous Rank: Juryo 2 East
Takanosho makes a triumphant return to Makuuchi after two very good basho in Juryo. Whether that will translate to top-division success is unclear, but he has some room before a trip back to Juryo at Maegashira 12.
千代丸 一樹 | Chiyomaru Kazuki
Maegashira 13 East
Last 3 Basho: 8-7 (Juryo), 5-10, 7-8
Previous Rank: Juryo 1 East
The Eternally Round One makes his return back up to the top division. He has basically proven he is worse than most Makuuchi wrestlers, but better than most Juryo wrestlers.
輝 大士 | Kagayaki Taishi
Maegashira 13 West
Last 3 Basho: 6-9, 7-8, 5-10
Previous Rank: Maegashira 13 East
Kagayaki sure seems like he should be a future star, based on his size, strength, and skills. However, he is on a serious downward trajectory as he can't put together a winning record. One more make-koshi and he might get sent to Juryo.
照強 翔輝 | Terutsuyoshi Shoki
Maegashira 14 East
Last 3 Basho: 4-11, 12-3, 6-9
Previous Rank: Maegashira 9 East
The jewel of the Nagoya basho, Terutsuyoshi got slammed after a serious promotion for the Aki tournament. The rikishi who was able to be in the yusho race four months ago is still there somewhere, but he didn't appear in September.
錦木 徹也 | Nishikigi Tetsuya
Maegashira 14 West
Last 3 Basho: 6-9, 6-9, 5-10
Previous Rank: Maegashira 13 West
Nishikigi had a demote-able performance at Aki, but many other rikishi did even worse. He needs to completely reverse his recent performances to stay in Makuuchi to kick off 2020.
大翔丸 翔伍 | Daishomaru Shogo
Maegashira 15 East
Last 3 Basho: 10-5 (Juryo), 9-6 (Juryo), 8-7 (Juryo)
Previous Rank: Juryo 5 East
Daishomaru crashed out of Makuuchi in January, but he has put together three successful tournaments in Juryo. He has been able to stay consistently in Makuuchi before, so he might hiold serve for Kyushu.
大翔鵬 清洋 | Daishoho Kiyohiro
Maegashira 15 West
Last 3 Basho: 5-10, 6-9, 9-6
Previous Rank: Maegashira 12 West
Daishoho has just held on to a Makuuchi spot, but he appears on the fast track back to Juryo. He had a very good Nagoya basho, but otherwise has looked overwhelmed and overmatched in the top division.
若隆景 渥 | Wakatakakage Atsushi
Maegashira 16 East
Last 3 Basho: 9-6 (Juryo), 8-7 (Juryo), 6-9 (Juryo)
Previous Rank: Juryo 3 West
Wakatakakage is Kyushu's lone Makuuchi debutante. He is a university standout with two brothers who are also sumotori, and he has made a steady ascent through Juryo after dominating the lower divisions. But he is here, and that's what matters.