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Kyushu 2022 Rikishi Preview

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On November 13th, the Kyushu Basho begins. To be ready for the sumo, here's a preview of all 42 top division wrestlers.

01 Yokozuna East Terunofuji

Terunofuji Haruo | 照ノ富士 春雄

Isegahama | Mongolia

Aki 2022 Rank: Yokozuna East

Aki 2022 Record: 5-5-5

Terunofuji is likely unable to compete in Kyushu after needing surgery after the Aki basho. He had bonespurs in both knees, as well as a problem with his right kneecap. He is recovering well but can take the yusho off as a Yokozuna. So he likely will.

02 Ozeki East Takakeisho

Takakeisho Mitsunobu | 貴景勝 光信

Tokiwayama | Hyogo

Aki 2022 Rank: Ozeki #1 East

Aki 2022 Record: 10-5

If Terunofuji does not show, Takakeisho is theoretically in pole position as the top-ranked Ozeki. However, he has been about 80% of peak Murder Hamster in the last few basho. He is still very good and just needs to return to his previous best form to be the next Yokozuna.

03 Ozeki West Shodai

Shodai Naoya | 正代 直也

Tokitsukaze | Kumamoto

Aki 2022 Rank: Ozeki #1 West

Aki 2022 Record: 4-11

Shodai had a terrible basho in September that saw him win just 4 matches and once again reach kadoban status. He has now been in danger of losing his rank 4 times in the two years he's been an Ozeki. So at least you could say that he knows how to get 8 wins in this situation.

04 Sekiwake #1 East Wakatakakage

Wakatakakage Atsushi | 若隆景 渥

Arashio | Fukushima

Aki 2022 Rank: Sekiwake #1 East

Aki 2022 Record: 11-4 Jun-Yusho; Gino-Sho

If you squint, Wakatakakage may be in contention for an Ozeki promotion, although he'd almost certainly need a yusho and maybe even 14 or 15 wins. A focus on Ozeki shouldn't overshadow what Wakatakakage's doing right now. He is a firm Sekiwake and arguably the best performer in sumo in 2022, largely on the strength of scrapping and being tough to topple.

05 Sekiwake #1 West Hoshoryu

Hoshoryu Tomokatsu | 豊昇龍 智勝

Tatsunami | Mongolia

Aki 2022 Rank: Sekiwake #1 West

Aki 2022 Record: 8-7

Hoshoryu kept his Sekiwake rank, so he is still just one significant developmental leap away from an Ozeki run. On the other hand, a bare 8-7 winning record doesn't scream dominance. His sumo, based on throws and tricks, can get him overthinking what he's doing on the dohyo at times.

06 Sekiwake #2 West Mitakeumi

Mitakeumi Hisashi | 御嶽海 久司

Dewanoumi | Nagano

Aki 2022 Rank: Ozeki #2 West

Aki 2022 Record: 4-11

Mitakeumi did not lose his Ozeki status after July's bad basho, because he was withdrawn for COVID reasons. The second shot at kadoban did not go very well, and now he's down to Sekiwake. 10 wins and he's back to sumo's second rank, but the recent version of Mitakeumi has not looked like he can get 10.

07 Komusubi #1 East Tamawashi

Tamawashi Ichiro | 玉鷲 一朗

Kataonami | Mongolia

Aki 2022 Rank: Maegashira #3 East

Aki 2022 Record: 13-2 Yusho; Shukun-Sho

Tamawashi's second yusho was a shocker for so many reasons: he is 37 (the oldest winner ever) and he hadn't reached 10 wins for over a year. He should still put in a good performance even from a higher Komusubi rank, although a repeat yusho seems unlikely. Clearly, the Mongolian's nodowa thrust to the chin is still quite effective.

08 Komusubi #1 West Kiribayama

Kiribayama Tetsuo | 霧馬山 鐵雄

Michinoku | Mongolia

Aki 2022 Rank: Komusubi #2 West

Aki 2022 Record: 9-6

Kiribayama has quietly made himself a Sanyaku wrestler, using his advantages against opponents as they come up. He will be bigger than most of the quicker rikishi, yet more flexible than most of the bigger rikishi. This usually means Kiribayama matches are fun to watch no matter what happens.

09 Komusubi #2 East Tobizaru

Tobizaru Masaya | 翔猿 正也

Oitekaze | Tokyo

Aki 2022 Rank: Maegashira #1 East

Aki 2022 Record: 10-5 Shukun-Sho

Tobizaru seemed primed for a disappointing Aki after getting promoted to Maegashira #1. Instead, he achieved 10 wins while delivering his usual exciting sumo. Komusubi for the first time could be difficult, but the Flying Monkey did well against a similar schedule last time.

10 Komusubi #2 West Daieisho

Daieisho Hayato | 大栄翔 勇人

Oitekaze | Saitama

Aki 2022 Rank: Sekiwake #2 East

Aki 2022 Record: 7-8

Daieisho fell just to Komusubi from Sekiwake after a bare make-kochi. At this point, it is probably best to consider him a guy who can hang around .500 in lower Sanyaku and upper Maegashira. Another yusho may be beyond him, but he's going to be competitive every day.

11 Maegashira #1 East Takayasu

Takayasu Akira | 高安 晃

Tagonoura | Ibaraki

Aki 2022 Rank: Maegashira #4 West

Aki 2022 Record: 11-4 Jun-Yusho; Kanto-Sho

Takayasu gets another Jun-Yusho and once again is knocking on the door of a Sanyaku return. He also did this in March, also after he went 0-0-15 in the previous tournament for COVID reasons. In May, he went 6-9, if you want a suggestion for what could happen in November.

12 Maegashira #1 West Kotonowaka

Kotonowaka Masahiro | 琴ノ若 傑太

Sadogatake | Chiba

Aki 2022 Rank: Maegashira #2 East

Aki 2022 Record: 8-7

Kotonowaka is at his career-high rank for November, and as has been true for most of 2022 he has fought like he could be in Sanyaku. An 8-7 gets him to Komusubi, while a great basho (and a not-great one from Wakatakakage) could give him the most wins in Makuuchi in 2022.

13 Maegashira #2 East Meisei

Meisei Chikara | 明生 力

Tatsunami | Kagashima

Aki 2022 Rank: Maegashira #2 West

Aki 2022 Record: 8-7

After a 1-14 in March, Meisei is getting his mojo back and is in range to return to Sanyaku. He looked injured, although he never left a tournament, and he seems better now. Notably, in September he was using a little more pushing/thrusting in his sumo, and he finished on a nice kick.

14 Maegashira #2 West Ichinojo

Ichinojo Takashi | 逸ノ城 駿

Minato | Mongolia

Aki 2022 Rank: Komusubi #1 West

Aki 2022 Record: 6-9

Ichinojo did not do so well defending his July yusho. In essence, he returned to what he was before lifting the Emperor's Cup in that very strange basho. He is absolutely massive and that benefits him and troubles him in about equal measure.

15 Maegashira #3 East Ura

Ura Kazuki | 宇良 和輝

Kise | Osaka

Aki 2022 Rank: Maegashira #3 West

Aki 2022 Record: 8-7

Ura's in full veteran savvy mode, and he was a trickster as a young rikishi before his awful knee injury. In September, he beat Takarafuji with the rarely seen tsutaezori, an underarm forward body drop. So certainly make every Ura match a must-see one throughout Kyushu.

16 Maegashira #3 West Midorifuji

Midorifuji Kazunari | 翠富士 一成

Shizuoka | Isegahama

Aki 2022 Rank: Maegashira #1 West

Aki 2022 Record: 7-8

Midorifuji held his own as a Maegashira #1, which wasn't exactly a guarantee after he made a big jump after a winning record in July. The Green Fuji is 26, and is just now entering the prime of his career. Sanyaku is just a strong record away, and we should continue seeing the best sumo he has for a little bit.

17 Maegashira #4 East Wakamotoharu

Wakamotoharu Minato | 若元春 港

Arashio | Fukushima

Aki 2022 Rank: Maegashira #6 East

Aki 2022 Record: 10-5

Maegashira #4 East feels like Wakamotoharu's ceiling, but then again so did Maegashira #6 East at Aki and he went 10-6. Arashio oyakata (the former Sokokurai) will hang his hat on the youngest Onami brother Wakatakakage. Yet the improvement middle brother Wakamotoharu may be the most significant, as he has turned into a good mid-Maegashira wrestler and may have more.

18 Maegashira #4 West Sadanoumi

Sadanoumi Takashi | 佐田の海 貴士

Sakaigawa | Kumamoto

Aki 2022 Rank: Maegashira #5 West

Aki 2022 Record: 9-6

This is Sadanoumi's highest rank since 2015, which seems remarkable for a 35 year old who was in Juryo for most of 2021. It's hard to fathom Sadanoumi racking up a ton of wins in Kyushu, but his entire 2022 has been surprising. He is just a solid veteran who knows what he's doing.

19 Maegashira #5 East Hokutofuji

Hokutofuji Daiki | 北勝富士 大輝

Hakkaku | Saitama

Aki 2022 Rank: Maegashira #8 West

Aki 2022 Record: 10-5

Hokutofuji is probably really an upper Maegashira by talent and ability, but an injury knocked him back a year ago both on the banzuke and in form. He is back where he belongs, and fighting accordingly. He's a tough pushing matchup for anyone in mid-Maegashira and tends to have the most exciting losses in sumo.

20 Maegashira #5 West Nishikifuji

Nishikifuji Ryusei | 錦富士 隆聖

Isegahama | Aomori

Aki 2022 Rank: Maegashira #10 East

Aki 2022 Record: 10-5

Nishikifuji has posted identical 10-5 records in his first two Makuuchi bashos, and yet he may still be under the radar. He is in the same stable as five other Makuuchi wrestlers, including a Yokozuna. He was mostly a steady climber through the lower divisions and doesn't have overwhelming size, but he is a 26 year old who may just be hitting his stride in the top division.

21 Maegashira #6 East Nishikigi

Nishikigi Tetsuya | 錦木 徹也

Isenoumi | Iwate

Aki 2022 Rank: Maegashira #4 East

Aki 2022 Record: 6-9

Nishikigi was able to get himself back to mid-Maegashira this year, but hit a bit of a wall in September. He is almost the walking definition of "knows what he should be doing," and he is always looking to keep his opponent close. Nishikigi is at a bit of an athleticism disadvantage against most opponents now.

22 Maegashira #6 West Ryuden

Ryuden Goshi | 竜電 剛至

Takadagawa | Yamanashi

Aki 2022 Rank: Maegashira #12 West

Aki 2022 Record: 11-4 Jun-Yusho

Ryuden's return to Makuuchi after a suspension and significant demotion went quite well. His 11-4 was a quiet Jun-Yusho, where he opened 1-4, then won his final 10. He was never in the yusho race and mostly beat lower Maegashira. We'll see if his wiry, awkward grappling still works against mid-Maegashira in Kyushu.

23 Maegashira #7 East Endo

Endo Shota | 遠藤 聖大

Oitekaze | Ishikawa

Aki 2022 Rank: Maegashira #6 West

Aki 2022 Record: 7-8

Endo had two three match losing streaks and one three match winning streak during Aki. That mostly came out in the wash, and his multifacted sumo skills mean he is in most matches. He just can't seem to put it together consistently enough anymore to get back into Sanyaku.

24 Maegashira #7 West Myogiryu

Myogiryu Yasunari | 妙義龍 泰成

Sakaigawa | Hyogo

Aki 2022 Rank: Maegashira #9 East

Aki 2022 Record: 8-7

Tamawashi is sumo's current ageless wonder, but if it weren't for him, we'd all be talking about Myogiryu. At 36, he's been able to hold on to his Maegashira status mostly by fighting an athletic style that outworks opponents. He is still talented, exciting, and able to win more than he loses.

25 Maegashira #8 East Takarafuji

Takarafuji Daisuke | 宝富士 大輔

Isegahama | Aomori

Aki 2022 Rank: Maegashira #5 East

Aki 2022 Record: 5-10

Solid, redoubtable Takarafuji has been slightly less solid of late. The style is still the same, as Takarafuji looks to stand wide and tall and take his opponents' best shot then find an opening. The problem is that he is getting rocked back more and more from an opponent's best shot.

26 Maegashira #8 West Tochinoshin

Tochinoshin Tsuyoshi | 栃ノ心 剛史

Kasugano | Georgia

Aki 2022 Rank: Maegashira #8 East

Aki 2022 Record: 7-8

Tochinoshin looks the same as he did in his Ozeki days, but isn't fighting quite the same way. He is still very strong, but his lower body doesn't hold up. The Big Georgian therefore developed a redirecting and throw based style that has kept him around the kachi-koshi/make-koshi line.

27 Maegashira #9 East Takanosho

Takanosho Nobuaki | 隆の勝 伸明

Tokiwayama | Chiba

Aki 2022 Rank: Maegashira #10 West

Aki 2022 Record: 8-7

Takanosho should be better than he's performed recently, as he was very recently a steady Sanyaku performer. His pushing sumo hasn't been as on point due to small injuries in recent basho, so he is down here. Yet he can create a world of hurt if he is in top form.

28 Maegashira #9 West Abi

Abi Masatora | 阿炎 政虎

Shikoroyama | Saitama

Aki 2022 Rank: Komusubi #1 East

Aki 2022 Record: 0-0-15

Abi missed the Aki tournament after having relatively minor surgery that meant he couldn't quite be 100% in September. He should be good to go now. By pure ability he should dominate at this rank, but watch out for ring rust early on.

29 Maegashira #10 East Aoiyama

Aoiyama Kosuke | 碧山 亘右

Kasugano | Bulgaria

Aki 2022 Rank: Maegashira #7 East

Aki 2022 Record: 6-9

Aoiyama's combination of size, strength, and know how keep him going as his athleticism wanes with age. He needs to keep every opponent in front of him, because lateral movement is his key weakness now. He should stay afloat with his trademark thrusting sumo.

30 Maegashira #10 West Chiyoshoma

Chiyoshoma Fujio | 千代翔馬 富士雄

Kokonoe | Mongolia

Aki 2022 Rank: Maegashira #14 East

Aki 2022 Record: 9-6

Chiyoshoma's sumo relies on creativity, if you're kind, or trickery, if you're not. That got him up to mid-Maegashira recently after a trip Juryo, but now he's once again fighting for his Makuuchi spot and holding on to it. The more nonsense you see in a Chiyoshoma match, the more likely he is to win.

31 Maegashira #11 East Onosho

Onosho Fumiya | 阿武咲 奎也

Onomatsu | Aomori

Aki 2022 Rank: Maegashira #7 West

Aki 2022 Record: 5-10

Onosho has continued the up and down pattern of his career once again and faced a significant demotion. He usually resettles his steamroller sumo after a bad basho, plus he's against less difficult completion in Kyushu. In theory, he's a candidate for a big win total.

32 Maegashira #11 West Kotoshoho

Kotoshoho Yoshinari | 琴勝峰 吉成

Sadogatake | Chiba

Aki 2022 Rank: Maegashira #11 East

Aki 2022 Record: 7-8

Kotoshoho has reestablished himself as a Makuuchi wrestler, but it would be wrong to say he found his sumo again. He is still young, extremely athletic, and supremely gifted, but he gets wild. It's a good thing for other Maegashira he still hasn't sorted himself out yet.

33 Maegashira #12 East Kotoeko

Kotoeko Mitsunori | 琴恵光 充憲

Sadogatake | Miyazaki

Aki 2022 Rank: Maegashira #9 West

Aki 2022 Record: 6-9

Kotoeko has dropped down to the ranks where he sometimes puts together pretty good bashos. He gets by on a scrappy determinism, which doesn't work if he's outmuscled. He should have friendlier competition down at this rank.

34 Maegashira #12 West Chiyotairyu

Chiyotairyu Hidemasa | 千代大龍 秀政

Kokonoe | Tokyo

Aki 2022 Rank: Maegashira #11 West

Aki 2022 Record: 6-9

Chiyotairyu's cannonball sumo is mostly a thing of the past now. In his 30s, he's found a new brand of sumo by making the other guy go sideways or otherwise wrong. It won't dominate, but Chiyotairyu can get towards kachi-Kishinev with luck.

35 Maegashira #13 East Okinoumi

Okinoumi Ayumi | 隠岐の海 歩

Hakkaku | Shimane

Aki 2022 Rank: Maegashira #12 East

Aki 2022 Record: 6-9

Okinoumi is staring down a Juryo demotion, after a 12 year run in the top division. He has staved off a drop down a few times in recent years with strong basho at lower ranks. So Kyushu will either be a strong performance for the Hakkaku man or the beginning of the end.

36 Maegashira #13 West Oho

Oho Konosuke | 王鵬 幸之介

Otake | Tokyo

Aki 2022 Rank: Maegashira #13 West

Aki 2022 Record: 7-8

Oho has established himself as a Maegashira, but hasn't done much beyond that. As a 22 year old with prototypical size, he has a strong chance of doing much more. He has just done little to show that leap will happen in Kyushu.

37 Maegashira #14 East Ichiyamamoto

Ichiyamamoto Daiki | 一山本 大生

Hanaregoma | Hokkaido

Aki 2022 Rank: Maegashira #13 East

Aki 2022 Record: 6-9

Ichiyamamoto has as much fighting spirit as anyone and always goes all out. The problem for him is that he is undersized and has one approach to sumo. When he can't push back the other guy with a two hand thrust, he is usually going to lose.

38 Maegashira #14 West Azumaryu

Azumaryu Tsuyoshi | 東龍 強

Tamanoi | Mongolia

Aki 2022 Rank: Juryo #2 West

Aki 2022 Record: 9-6

Azumaryu is back for his fifth turn at Makuuchi and has somehow never had a winning record as a Maegashira. There's no great reason to think he'll improve for Kyushu. He's somewhere between the 35th and 50th best rikishi in sumo, and that's put him in the top division again.

39 Maegashira #15 East Kagayaki

Kagayaki Taishi | 輝 大士

Takadagawa | Ishikawa

Aki 2022 Rank: Juryo #4 East

Aki 2022 Record: 9-6

Kagayaki did enough after two basho in Juryo to return to the Maeagashira ranks. He isn't exactly storming back into the top division. He looks like he should be in Sanyaku, but he rarely fights that way.

40 Maegashira #15 West Atamifuji

Atamifuji Sakutaro | 熱海富士 朔太郎

Isegahama | Shizuoka

Aki 2022 Rank: Juryo #3 East

Aki 2022 Record: 8-7

Atamifuji is making his debut as a 20 year old, which is a fairly rare feat in sumo. He is also blessed with great size and skill, which means he is almost certainly a future star. His present may have some bumps in the road, but he'll be one to watch for the next few years.

41 Maegashira #16 East Terutsuyoshi

Terutsuyoshi Shoki | 照強 翔輝

Isegahama | Hyogo

Aki 2022 Rank: Maegashira #15 East

Aki 2022 Record: 6-9

Terutsuyoshi is hanging on to his Maegashira rank, but his fellow Maegashira sure seem to have figured out his up and under power sumo. He is an undersized ball of fun with the best salt throw in the business, so sumo is more fun with him in the top division. But Kyushu is Terutsuyoshi's last chance to avoid a demotion.

42 Maegashira #16 West Hiradoumi

Hiradoumi Yuko | 平戸海 雄貴

Sakaigawa | Nagasaki

Aki 2022 Rank: Maegashira #16 West

Aki 2022 Record: 7-8

Hiradoumi should have been demoted after a 7-8 record in his Makuuchi debut. He remains a Maegashira because enough other rikishi in lower Maegashira had miserable Aki bashos. He is young, and he can clearly hang with Makuuchi men, so he may make some hay in Kyushu.

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