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Nagoya 2022 Rikishi Preview

The Nagoya basho begins in just a week. That means you have seven days to sign up and set your team for Fantasy Basho on Fantasizr. While you ponder your best strategy, take a look at this preview of all 42 Makuuchi rikishi.

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01 Yokozuna East Terunofuji

Terunofuji Haruo | 照ノ富士 春雄

Isegahama | Mongolia

Natsu 2022 Record: 12-3 (Yusho)

Natsu 2022 Rank: Yokozuna East

Terunofuji won in May, although it wasn't exactly the dominant Yokozuna performance he and the Sumo Association would have wanted. Still, he overcame a rough first week and proved he is the king of the sumo mountain as long as he can mount the dohyo. He is the favorite for Nagoya, although maybe not against the field since he is the one man who can pull out without threatening his rank.







02 Ozeki #1 East Takakeisho

Takakeisho Mitsunobu | 貴景勝 光信

Tokiwayama | Hyogo

Natsu 2022 Record: 8-7

Natsu 2022 Rank: Ozeki #2 East

Takakeisho will be the only Ozeki entering the Nagoya basho without kadoban status hanging around his neck. Just because he is guaranteed an Ozeki spot in September doesn't mean he is riding high into Nagoya. Takakeisho scraped out his winning record and has not looked like the multiple yusho winner during 2022 so far. That rikishi is still there somewhere.







03 Ozeki #1 West Mitakeumi

Mitakeumi Hisashi | 御嶽海 久司

Dewanoumi | Nagano

Natsu 2022 Record: 6-9

Natsu 2022 Rank: Ozeki #1 East

Mitakeumi will face his first kadoban basho as an Ozeki just three tournaments into his time at sumo's second highest rank. He was definitely bothered by something in May, although he also kept getting on the dohyo and wasn't too obviously pained. He can do enough to keep his rank and even challenge for the yusho, but he needs to be at his best.








04 Ozeki #2 West Shodai

Shodai Naoya | 正代 直也

Tokitsukaze | Kumamoto

Natsu 2022 Record: 5-10

Natsu 2022 Rank: Ozeki #1 West

The bad version of Shodai showed up at Natsu, although he had been dominating over the second week in March. Shodai's excellent defensive sumo has more often been overly reactive and desperate throughout the last three basho. If that Shodai is the one participating in Nagoya, he will lose his Ozeki status.







05 Sekiwake East Wakatakakage

Wakatakakage Atsushi | 若隆景 渥

Arashio | Fukushima

Natsu 2022 Record: 9-6

Natsu 2022 Rank: Sekiwake East

Wakatakakage has an outside chance of completing an Ozeki run in July, but he probably needs to duplicate his 12 win yusho performance from March (or better.) He's on 21 wins over the last two basho, and a dominating performance would fit the unofficial parameters for a promotion. Even if he can't manage that, another 9 wins would keep him as a Sekiwake for a fourth basho.







06 Sekiwake West Daieisho

Daieisho Hayato | 大栄翔 勇人

Oitekaze | Saitama

Natsu 2022 Record: 11-4 (Jun-Yusho)

Natsu 2022 Rank: Komusubi West

Daieisho was in with a shout for a second yusho on the final day of Natsu, but didn't have the chips fall like they needed to for him to make a playoff. Eleven wins was enough to get him a jun-yusho, a special prize, and a promotion to Sekiwake. He will be facing essentially the same slate of opponents, and he could duplicate the effort. On the other hand, basho-to-basho consistency has often eluded him.







07 Komusubi East Hoshoryu

Hoshoryu Tomokatsu | 豊昇龍 智勝

Tatsunami | Mongolia

Natsu 2022 Record: 8-7

Natsu 2022 Rank: Komusubi East

Sitting at Komusubi East for a second consecutive basho is a nice showing by Hoshoryu, although it also happened by the slimmest of margins. Hoshoryu is a young, rising star with a bevy of throws and trips. What that has yet to equal is dominance against the best of the best. If he can find that gear, which is by no means certain, it's over for every other rikishi.








08 Komusubi West Abi

Abi Masatora | 阿炎 政虎

Shikoroyama | Saitama

Natsu 2022 Record: 7-8

Natsu 2022 Rank: Sekiwake West

Abi had a bare losing record at Sekiwake, stalling his string of good performances since his return from suspension. Abi's sumo also did not look as strong at Natsu, reverting to his previous bad habit of back pedaling and moving at the tawara. He needs to find his powerful, foward thrusting once again to maintain his Sanyaku status.








09 Maegashira #1 East Kiribayama

Kiribayama Tetsuo | 霧馬山 鐵雄

Michinoku | Mongolia

Natsu 2022 Record: 10-5

Natsu 2022 Rank: Maegashira #2 East

Kiribayama sits at the top Maegashira rank, and he commences the run of rikishi who gave Sanyaku promotion worthy performances but will stay at Maegashira. Kiribayama went 10-5 in May with wins over Shodai, Wakatakakage, Daieisho, Hoshoryu, Abi, and Kotonowaka. That would bring a Sekiwake slot in other basho, but there was no room in Sanyaku for Nagoya. Let's see if the Misty Horse Mountain can keep it up.






10 Maegashira #1 West Takanosho

Takanosho Nobuaki | 隆の勝 伸明

Tokiwayama | Chiba

Natsu 2022 Record: 11-4 (Jun-Yusho)

Natsu 2022 Rank: Maegashira #4 West

Takanosho could have been in a playoff against Terunofuji on the final day, if he had only beaten Sadanoumi in his final match. After dominating, including picking up a kinboshi, he just could not manage that task. He is the second rikishi on the banzuke who gave a Sanyaku-level performance but won't be there for Nagoya.








11 Maegashira #2 East Kotonowaka

Kotonowaka Masahiro | 琴ノ若 傑太

Sadogatake | Chiba

Natsu 2022 Record: 9-6

Natsu 2022 Rank: Maegashira #2 West

Stop if you've heard this before, but Kotonowaka performed at a level during Natsu that would usually get a Sanyaku promotion without the actual jump in rank. He has won 31 matches over the first three basho in 2022, and at 24 his best years are ahead of him. He will be in Sanyaku in the near future.









12 Maegashira #2 West Ichinojo

Ichinojo Takashi | 逸ノ城 駿

Minato | Mongolia

Natsu 2022 Record: 0-0-15

Natsu 2022 Rank: Maegashira #1 West

Ichinojo sat out all of Natsu because a stablemate tested positive for the coronavirus in early May. Because of his 0-0-15 and the excellent performance of others, he dropped a half rank. He is the first Makuuchi rikishi to be demoted even slightly after sitting out due to COVID precautions.









13 Maegashira #3 East Tamawashi

Tamawashi Ichiro | 玉鷲 一朗

Kataonami | Mongolia

Natsu 2022 Record: 9-6

Natsu 2022 Rank: Maegashira #3 West

He's still here. The rumor is that he was an upper Maegashira stop for the first Yokozuna Akashi, being the necessary opponent to prove someone was a top man back in the Edo period. He may keep doing that same job until the 100th Yokozuna comes along, all while never missing a match for any reason.









14 Maegashira #3 West Ura

Ura Kazuki | 宇良 和輝

Kise | Osaka

Natsu 2022 Record: 9-5-1

Natsu 2022 Rank: Maegashira #6 East

Ura probably has a ceiling, and this may be it. He was an undersized trickster before he had traumatic leg injuries, and now his athleticism is not what it used to be. However, you do underestimate Ura in any match at your own peril, as he has the potential to surprise anyone.









15 Maegashira #4 East Wakamotoharu

Wakamotoharu Minato | 若元春 港

Arashio | Fukushima

Natsu 2022 Record: 9-6

Natsu 2022 Rank: Maegashira #6 West

Wakamotoharu has gone 9-6 over his last three basho, which are his only Makuuchi basho in his career. That streak will probably not continue, but he's shown he can hang in at this level. He starts with his left foot as normal, but his right sticking out, and he can usually find a way to get stuck in and work his way to at least a stalemate. Its not a model for anyone else, but it's working for him.







16 Maegashira #4 West Takayasu

Takayasu Akira | 高安 晃

Tagonoura | Ibaraki

Natsu 2022 Record: 6-9

Natsu 2022 Rank: Maegashira #1 East

Takayasu and the entirety of Tagonoura beya will be out for Nagoya after the former Ozeki and one other rikishi in the stable tested positive for COVID. Takayasu was also out due to a stablemate's COVID diagnosis in January as well, and came back to get a Jun-Yusho in a playoff in March. That might not be a foreshadowing if Takayasu gets a serious case of cornavirus. Here's hoping he has mild symptoms and recovers quickly.






17 Maegashira #5 East Endo

Endo Shota | 遠藤 聖大

Oitekaze | Ishikawa

Natsu 2022 Record: 7-8

Natsu 2022 Rank: Maegashira #4 East

Endo is 30-30 over his last four basho, going 8-7, 7-8, 8-7, and 7-8. Penciling in an 8-7 for Nagoya seems ridiculous but also like the safest assumption on a record for any rikishi. He can essentially keep his rank just outside the joi-jin line.









18 Maegashira #5 West Sadanoumi

Sadanoumi Takashi | 佐田の海 貴士

Sakaigawa | Kumamoto

Natsu 2022 Record: 11-4 (Jun-Yusho)

Natsu 2022 Rank: Maegashira #12 West

Sadanoumi had his career-best record with an 11-4 during Natsu, and that elevated him to a notably high rank of Maegashira #5 West. That's his best rank since November of 2015. Not bad for a 35 year old who looked like he was out of Makuuchi for good just a year ago. Also not a good sign he'll prosper at this rank.







19 Maegashira #6 East Aoiyama

Aoiyama Kosuke | 碧山 亘右

Kasugano | Bulgaria

Natsu 2022 Record: 10-5

Natsu 2022 Rank: Maegashira #6 West

Aoiyama did Aoiyama things, keeping his opponent at arm's length and alternating hand thrusts. Since he is tall, smart, and difficult to move, that is still a dangerous combination even as a 36 year old. Problem is, he did so well last time he is now facing a different caliber of scheduled opponents.








20 Maegashira #6 West Tobizaru

Tobizaru Masaya | 翔猿 正也

Oitekaze | Tokyo

Natsu 2022 Record: 7-8

Natsu 2022 Rank: Maegashira #5 West

The Flying Monkey went 1-8 (with the 1 being a fusen win) from Day 5 to Day 13, but won his first four and his last three to get a bare make-koshi in the end. That's kind of the Tobizaru experience, as his exciting and inventive style of sumo is as dangerous to him as an opponent.









21 Maegashira #7 East Okinoumi

Okinoumi Ayumi | 隠岐の海 歩

Hakkaku | Shimane

Natsu 2022 Record: 9-6

Natsu 2022 Rank: Maegashira #10 East

Okinoumi recovered from his three basho slide down the Banzuke to get a 9-6 at Maegashira #10 East. Although he'll turn 37 right after the Nagoya basho, Okinoumi is so fundamentally sound and strong enough that he can hang around a kachi-koshi at Maegashira #7.








22 Maegashira #7 West Hokutofuji

Hokutofuji Daiki | 北勝富士 大輝

Hakkaku | Saitama

Natsu 2022 Record: 5-10

Natsu 2022 Rank: Maegashira #3 East

Hokutofuji did not have a good time in May, losing 10 matches. Sometimes the awkward two-handed thrust to the chin works and sometimes it doesn't. Hokutofuji will be hoping it works more often in Nagoya, because he's definitely not changing his approach at this point.










23 Maegashira #8 East Tochinoshin

Tochinoshin Tsuyoshi | 栃ノ心 剛史

Kasugano | Georgia

Natsu 2022 Record: 8-7

Natsu 2022 Rank: Maegashira #9 West

A winning record in May means Tochinoshin is still hanging in, and he may be able to keep it up for a little bit longer. His sumo is still the same in approach as his Ozeki days, although his knees are in such bad shape his power isn't what it once was. He is skilled and smart enough to eke out wins, as well as occasionally bust out the old sky crane maneuver.







24 Maegashira #8 West Nishikigi

Nishikigi Tetsuya | 錦木 徹也

Isenoumi | Iwate

Natsu 2022 Record: 8-7

Natsu 2022 Rank: Maegashira #10 West

Nishikigi somehow reestablished himself as a Makuuchi wrestler over the last two basho. He didn't really change his sumo, which is still best described as minimal effort grappling. He will try to stall his opponent and bottle them up until they make a mistake. That has been working more than not of late.









25 Maegashira #9 East Shimanoumi

Shimanoumi Koyo | 志摩ノ海 航洋

Kise | Mie

Natsu 2022 Record: 7-8

Natsu 2022 Rank: Maegashira #8 East

Shimanoumi was 7-4 after Day Eleven, and he still got a make-koshi. His sumo, best described as extremely close pushing that sort of becomes grappling at some point, isn't built to dominate. It does keep him in matches, and that is why he is so often around average.








26 Maegashira #9 West Kotoeko

Kotoeko Mitsunori | 琴恵光 充憲

Sadogatake | Miyazaki

Natsu 2022 Record: 6-9

Natsu 2022 Rank: Maegashira #7 West

Sumo's ultimate scrapper did not do as well in Natsu as at Haru, reversing his 9-6 from March into a 6-9. Kotoeko could pull out another 9 wins, simply because he always seems to be in every match. Of course, he also is unlikely to ever dominate a match.










27 Maegashira #10 East Chiyotairyu

Chiyotairyu Hidemasa | 千代大龍 秀政

Kokonoe | Tokyo

Natsu 2022 Record: 8-7

Natsu 2022 Rank: Maegashira #13 East

Chiyotairyu's cannoball tachiai has had to be adjusted of late, as his power has not been enough to knock opponents back immediately. What he has developed is a sense of how to go just slightly away from someone ready to respond in kind to his full throttle sumo. It got him 8 wins in May, and he may do similarly in July.








28 Maegashira #10 West Meisei

Meisei Chikara | 明生 力

Tatsunami | Kagashima

Natsu 2022 Record: 8-7

Natsu 2022 Rank: Maegashira #13 West

Meisei followed his absolutely disastrous performance in March with a solid kachi-koshi in May. That doesn't betoken a dominant performance for July, but he has been in Sanyaku before for a reason. Sine he won't turn 26 until right after the basho, he could get back into the named ranks.








29 Maegashira #11 East Kotoshoho

Kotoshoho Yoshinari | 琴勝峰 吉成

Sadogatake | Chiba

Natsu 2022 Record: 6-9

Natsu 2022 Rank: Maegashira #9 East

Kotoshoho won 9 matches in March while looking completely wild, and then he got a promotion for May, looked just as wild, and lost 9 matches. His combination of size, athleticism, and youth is extremely rare. That can take him very far, but only if and when he gets his sumo put together.









30 Maegashira #11 West MIdorifuji

Midorifuji Kazunari | 翠富士 一成

Shizuoka | Isegahama

Natsu 2022 Record: 9-6

Natsu 2022 Rank: Maegashira #16 West

Midorifuji is back to reestablishing himself in Makuuchi after an unfortunate herniated disc disrupted his first effort in May 2021. He is a notably unusual rikishi, winning most often with the katasukashi (under shoulder swing down) kimarite, which accounts for less than 1% of all victories in sumo. In simpler terms, he will twist you around and turn you inside out if he can.







31 Maegashira #12 East Terutsuyoshi

Terutsuyoshi Shoki | 照強 翔輝

Isegahama | Hyogo

Natsu 2022 Record: 5-10

Natsu 2022 Rank: Maegashira #8 West

Terutsuyoshi's attempt to overpower his mostly larger opponents in every match has met with diminishing returns. He gives great effort and is plenty strong, but against top division sumotori he will usually be outgunned. At the least, between his over-the-top salt throw and maximalist style he is an entertaining wrestler.








32 Maegashira #12 West Takarafuji

Takarafuji Daisuke | 宝富士 大輔

Isegahama | Aomori

Natsu 2022 Record: 4-11

Natsu 2022 Rank: Maegashira #7 East

The redoubtable veteran was actually a little shaky during the Natsu basho. He never looked it, of course, because he was still able to manfully stand his ground and take his opponents' best offense. The problem in May was that Takarafuji had less of an ability to redirect that offense into an advantage for himself.









33 Maegashira #13 East Ichiyamamoto

Ichiyamamoto Daiki | 一山本 大生

Hanaregoma | Hokkaido

Natsu 2022 Record: 8-7

Natsu 2022 Rank: Maegashira #15 West

Ichiyamamoto's enthusiastic brand of pushing and thrusting has now produced back-to-back 8-7 records. He got there in different ways, needing a five-match winning streak to secure his 8 in March and losing his final five in May to stay at only 8. So even if he gets a mere 8-7 in Nagoya, he may have a very interesting way of getting there.








34 Maegashira #13 West Chiyoshoma

Chiyoshoma Fujio | 千代翔馬 富士雄

Kokonoe | Mongolia

Natsu 2022 Record: 6-9

Natsu 2022 Rank: Maegashira #11 West

Chiyoshoma's run in mid-Maegashira is probably over for now. Intriguingly, the master of the henka and generally different sumo largely lost in May when the match turned to some throw or other intriguing maneuver. There is the great likelihood he ups the henka quotient for Nagoya.









35 Maegashira #14 East Myogiryu

Myogiryu Yasunari | 妙義龍 泰成

Sakaigawa | Hyogo

Natsu 2022 Record: 6-9

Natsu 2022 Rank: Maegashira #12 East

Myogiryu is in his slow decline phase, but since he is a rikishi more reliant on athleticism it has been more uneven than most. This is partly because he knows how to fight off the even more athletic youngsters, and partly because he can get himself caught in a bind when he tries things he can no longer quite manage.









36 Maegashira #14 West Tsurugisho

Tsurugisho Momotaro | 剣翔 桃太郎

Oitekaze | Tokyo

Natsu 2022 Record: 10-5

Natsu 2022 Rank: Juryo #2 West

Tsurugisho returns to Makuuchi after two basho in Juryo. He hasn't been able to stick in the top division very well, but his general immensity and willingness to grapple head on means he will be a formidable opponent. Whether he can be more than that may just be a settled question at this point.









37 Maegashira #15 East Onosho

Onosho Fumiya | 阿武咲 奎也

Onomatsu | Aomori

Natsu 2022 Record: 2-4-9

Natsu 2022 Rank: Maegashira #5 East

Onosho pulled out of the Natsu basho with a left rib fracture after 5 days. That is the kind of injury which can simultaneously sound very serious and like something a rikishi will shake off by the next basho. We'll know just how badly Onosho fractured his rib in the first few days of the Nagoya basho.









38 Maegashira #15 West Oho

Oho Konosuke | 王鵬 幸之介

Otake | Tokyo

Natsu 2022 Record: 6-9

Natsu 2022 Rank: Maegashira #14 East

Generally speaking, a 6-9 record at Maegashira #14 is a great way to get demoted to Juryo, but Oho got lucky that a few other men had much more unfortunate bashos in May. The most important fact about Oho is that he is just 22, and the second most important fact is he has done well in the lower levels. In the short term, the question remains when he can figure out Makuuchi opposition.







39 Maegashira #16 East Yutakayama

Yutakayama Ryota | 豊山 亮太

Tokitsukaze | Niigata

Natsu 2022 Record: 6-9

Natsu 2022 Rank: Maegashira #14 West

Yutakayama has not established himself above lower Maegashira for awhile, but he also hasn't quite been bad enough to drop back down to Juryo yet. He is flirting with a demotion however, and needs to sort out his sumo in Nagoya to stay in Makuuchi.










40 Maegashira #16 West Daiamami

Daiamami Genki | 大奄美 元規

Oitekaze | Kagoshima

Natsu 2022 Record: 11-4 (Jun-Yusho)

Natsu 2022 Rank: Juryo #6 East

After crashing out of Makuuchi a year ago and only managing middling performances in Juryo since, Daiamami broke out with an 11-4 at Juryo #6 which earned him a playoff, a subsequent jun-yusho, and a promotion to Makuuchi. He'll be fighting at his absolute hardest to maintain a Maegashira slot in Nagoya, and even that may not be enough to keep him in the top division.







41 Maegashira #17 East NIshikifuji

Nishikifuji Ryusei | 錦富士 隆聖

Isegahama | Aomori

Natsu 2022 Record: 11-4 (Yusho)

Natsu 2022 Rank: Juryo #6 West

Nishikifuji is Nagoya's lone Makuuchi debutant, rising to Maegashira after an 11-4 record and a playoff victory for the yusho. He is a university man with multiple lower-level yusho to his name. Coming from Terunofuji's Isegahama beya, he also faces top level rikishi every day in training.









42 Maegashira #17 West Chiyomaru

Chiyomaru Kazuki | 千代丸 一樹

Kokonoe | Kagoshima

Natsu 2022 Record: 8-7

Natsu 2022 Rank: Juryo #1 East

The Eternally Round One enlivens the proceedings in Makuuchi once again. The key for him is always if he is just spry enough to use his long arms and immense girth to keep opponents away from what they want to do. And if he doesn't, having Chiyomaru back still makes Makuuchi matches more fun.

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