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Natsu 2022 Rikishi Preview

The Natsu basho will begin on May 8th. You can go ahead and sign up for the Fantasy Basho game for the tournament at Fantasizr. But if you want a quick rundown of each riksihi, here a few sentences on all 42 Makuuchi rikishi.

01 Yokozuna East Terunofuji

Terunofuji Haruo | 照ノ富士 春雄

Isegahama | Mongolia

Haru 2022: 3-3-9

Should Terunofuji's withdrawal during Haru be a concern for his future? Maybe, but he also wasn't obviously limping or pained. One of the perks of being a Yokozuna is pulling out of a basho when you aren't 100%, and the Kaiju is still the best performing rikishi over the last year.

02 Ozeki 1 East Mitakeumi

Mitakeumi Hisashi | 御嶽海 久司

Dewanoumi | Nagano Haru

2022: 11-4

11-4 is a great showing for a shin-Ozeki, and Mitakeumi will be the top Ozeki in just his second basho at sumo's second highest rank. He should be able to stay here for a little bit, and for Natsu Mitakeumi will be a contender for the yusho. Maybe this is the best he'll ever get, but that's still really, really good.

03 Ozeki 1 West Shodai

Shodai Naoya | 正代 直也

Tokitsukaze | Kumamoto

Haru 2022: 9-6

Shodai came into Haru suffering with long COVID symptoms and looked completely hopeless over the first six days. Then he went from 1-5 to 9-6, keeping his Ozeki rank and showing he can still be a force on the dohyo. Shodai isn't exactly a favorite for the Emperor's CUp, but no one should be surprised if he's in the yusho race.

04 Ozeki 2 East Takakeisho

Takakeisho Mitsunobu | 貴景勝 光信

Tokiwayama | Hyogo

Haru 2022: 8-7

On Day Eleven, Takakeisho secured his vital eighth win to eliminate his kadoban status and guarantee he'd stay at Ozeki. After that, he faced the toughest part of his schedule and lost four straight. It's not the best omen for the May basho, but Takakeisho needed the time off to regain his power and if he did everyone should watch out.

05 Sekiwake East Wakatakakage

Wakatakakage Atsushi | 若隆景 渥

Arashio | Fukushima

Haru 2022: 12-3 Yusho; Technique Prize

Don't expect a repeat yusho from Wakatakakage, as only Yokozuna and Ozeki have won a consecutive Emperor's Cup. Also don't expect him to crash and burn. He spent much of 2021 consolidating his sumo, and his form in March showed he can hang with the best due to his surprising strength and efficiency.

06 Sekiwake West Abi

Abi Masatora | 阿炎 政虎

Shikoroyama | Saitama

Haru 2022: 8-7

The bare kachi-koshi Abi got for Haru may look disappointing after his back to back 12 win performances. On the other hand, he showed he should be at Sekiwake. His signature sumo, two-hands-to-the-throat and dance at the tawara as plan B, does work surprisingly well against the top ranked rikishi.

07 Komusubi East Hoshoryu

Hoshoryu Tomokatsu | 豊昇龍 智勝

Tatsunami | Mongolia

Haru 2022: 8-7

Hoshoryu will have his second basho as a Sanyaku wrestler before he turns 22 (his birthday is May 22). Despite that, he has still never been dominant. Presumably, someone this good this young has an extra gear, but we haven't seen it yet. When it comes, watch out.

08 Komusubi West Daieisho

Daieisho Hayato | 大栄翔 勇人

Oitekaze | Saitama

Haru 2022: 8-7

Daieisho went 8-7 at Maegashira #1 East, which is essentially a guarantee of a Komusubi rank. That isn't exactly storming into the top of Makuuchi, but it's better than a demotion. Daieisho can hang around kachi-koshi here, and sometimes go beyond that.

09 Maegashira #1 East Takayasu

Takayasu Akira | 高安 晃

Tagonoura | Ibaraki

Haru 2022: 12-3 Jun-Yusho; Fighting Spirit Prize

Takayasu can't come any closer to the Emperor's Cup without winning it than he did for Haru, because no one can. It's also likely he won't be as good for May, because he was very, very good in March. He does seem to be closer to his best form now than he has been in awhile.

10 Maegashira #1 West Ichinojo

Ichinojo Takashi | 逸ノ城 駿

Minato | Mongolia

Haru 2022: 9-6

Ichinojo will be absent from the entire Natsu basho dye to a positive COVID test, Unfortunatey, the giant Mongolian won't be able to build on his sold Haru basho, but will hold this rank for Nagoya.

11 Maegashira #2 East Kiribayama

Kiribayama Tetsuo | 霧馬山 鐵雄

Michinoku | Mongolia

Haru 2022: 10-5

Kiribayama had a Sanyaku worthy performance, but so did four other Maegashira and only one slot was available. His sumo has become more focused, although he can still twist opponents around as much as anyone. At this point, sustained success would transform his career.

12 Maegashira #2 West Kotonowaka

Kotonowaka Masahiro | 琴ノ若 傑太

Sadogatake | Chiba

Haru 2022: 11-4 Fighting Spirit Prize

Kotonowaka has had two straight 11-4 basho with Fighting Spirit Prizes. That is probably not going to happen again based on the law of averages and his promotion to a career high rank of Maegashira #2. He is also technically excellent, built well, and young, so he could keep making noise.

13 Maegashira #3 East Hokutofuji

Hokutofuji Daiki | 北勝富士 大輝

Hakkaku | Saitama

Haru 2022: 9-6

It's probably fair to consider Hokutofuji a solid veteran now. He tends to hang out in the upper Maegashira mostly, except for when he had a small injury in September and rebounded with 11 wins in November to get back up. He'll be a solid thrusting opponent to anyone in the joi-jin, and should be for awhile.

14 Maegashira #3 West Tamawashi

Tamawashi Ichiro | 玉鷲 一朗

Kataonami | Mongolia

Haru 2022: 7-8

Tamawashi is 8-7 and 7-8 over his last two basho, but they both did come with a kinboshi. He's 37, never missed a match, and wasn't exactly subtle as a younger man. A Tamawashi match will feature a hard tachiai with a nodowa at the other guy's throat, and he will win about as often as he loses.

15 Maegashira #4 East Endo

Endo Shota | 遠藤 聖大

Oitekaze | Ishikawa

Haru 2022: 8-7

In his last three basho, Endo has gone 8-7, 7-8, and 8-7. That is even more remarkable since Endo is one of the more unpredictable rikishi from match to match. He has a range of skills to baffle opponents, although sometimes picking the skill to use will baffle him more.

16 Maegashira #4 West Takanosho

Takanosho Nobuaki | 隆の勝 伸明

Tokiwayama | Chiba

Haru 2022: 4-11

After multiple basho as a Sekiwake, Takanosho made his Komusubi debut and it did not go well. He looked just a little off his sumo in March, and may continue to have trouble. He also has historically done well as an upper Maegashira, however.

17 Maegashira #5 East Onosho

Onosho Fumiya | 阿武咲 奎也

Onomatsu | Aomori

Haru 2022: 6-9

This was a "Bad Basho" for Onosho, which he seems to alternate with "Good Basho." Maybe a light demotion is just what he needs to avoid facing the very top ranked men. The real signal is how far forward he gets, because Onosho is the rikishi most likely to fall face first.

18 Maegashira #5 West Tobizaru

Tobizaru Masaya | 翔猿 正也

Oitekaze | Tokyo

Haru 2022: 9-6

The Flying Monkey put up 9 wins in Osaka, and now he's on the cusp of the joi-jin. That was his first winning record in a year, so he may struggle against the best of the best. He also won't face the entire Sanyaku slate, but just a selection of upper ranked rikishi.

19 Maegashira #6 East Ura

Ura Kazuki | 宇良 和輝

Kise | Osaka

Haru 2022: 4-11

Ura reached his highest rank for Haru, and he did not do well as a Maegashira #1. Ura's tricks don't work that well against the best of the best, and he may greatly benefit from a slide down the banzuke. Wherever he lands, Ura will be the most watchable wrestler in Makuuchi.

20 Maegashira #6 West Wakamotoharu

Wakamotoharu Minato | 若元春 港

Arashio | Fukushima

Haru 2022: 9-6

Although his younger brother stole the show at Haru, Wakamotoharu had a very good basho himself. A 9-6 in both of his first two Makuuchi bashos means he's a firm mid-Maegashira. This is where the real test begins for him.

21 Maegashira #7 East Takarafuji

Takarafuji Daisuke | 宝富士 大輔

Isegahama | Aomori

Haru 2022: 6-9

Takarafuji went 6-9 in March after a 9-6 in January. It all looks the same from the veteran, just taking the best shot and barely moving until he can redirect the other guy's momentum. That's boring, but it also keeps him near .500 in mid-Maegashira.

22 Maegashira #7 West Kotoeko

Kotoeko Mitsunori | 琴恵光 充憲

Sadogatake | Miyazaki

Haru 2022: 9-6

Even though he posted 9 wins in March, Kotoeko went 1-2 against rikishi above Maegashira #10. He'll definitely scrap at Maegashira #7 West, because that's what he does, but his schedule will be much tougher. Even if he won't win every match, he'll be an unpleasant opponent.

23 Maegashira #8 East Shimanoumi

Shimanoumi Koyo | 志摩ノ海 航洋

Kise | Mie

Haru 2022: 8-7

Shimanoumi's particular style, a close-in pushing approach that results in yorikiris more than it should, has leveled him out in Mid-Maegashira. Considering he seems a step slower than many rivals and didn't make Makuuchi until he was almost 30, that's pretty good.

24 Maegashira #8 West Terutsuyoshi

Terutsuyoshi Shoki | 照強 翔輝

Isegahama | Hyogo

Haru 2022: 8-7

In Haru, Terutsuyoshi had 13 different kimarite in his 15 matches to display a range of sumo for the spectators. He also got a bare kachi-koshi, which seems to sum up the overall Terutsuyoshi experience.

25 Maegashira #9 East Kotoshoho

Kotoshoho Yoshinari | 琴勝峰 吉成

Sadogatake | Chiba

Haru 2022: 9-6

Being 22, blessed with prototypical size, and wildly talented, Kotoshoho can win even when he isn't on his best. He wasn't often throughout Haru, as he often looked wild. He still won 9 matches and could keep making noise even if he isn't in his best form.

26 Maegashira #9 West Tochinoshin

Tochinoshin Tsuyoshi | 栃ノ心 剛史

Kasugano | Georgia

Haru 2022: 9-6

Tochinoshin had his first winning record in a year, garnering 9 wins at the very bottom of Makuuchi during Haru. He isn't his old Ozeki self, although he crane lifted out Terutsuyoshi in March as a reminder of what he could do.

27 Maegashira #10 East Okinoumi

Okinoumi Ayumi | 隠岐の海 歩

Hakkaku | Shimane

Haru 2022: 5-10

Okinoumi crashed down the Banzuke, to an area of Makuuchi that he has rarely experoenced in his 12 years as a Maegashira. He could do real damage down at Maegashira #10, or the 36 year old is finally showing his age. He owns a Kabu stock, so it might a countdown until we see him in a large, tailored suit.

28 Maegashira #10 West Nishikigi

Nishikigi Tetsuya | 錦木 徹也

Isenoumi | Iwate

Haru 2022: 9-6

After a 9 basho sojourn in Juryo, Nishikigi got 9 wins in his return to Makuuchi in March. There's nothing very different or overwhelming about him, but he knows how to stay upright and fight off an opponent. There are worse combinations for a sekitori.

29 Maegashira #11 East Aoiyama

Aoiyama Kosuke | 碧山 亘右

Kasugano | Bulgaria

Haru 2022: 7-8

The Bulgarian Blue Mountain still looks like he always has, standing up and keeping everyone at bay with alternating open-hand thrusts. That just isn't connecting to a bunch of victories like it used to. Any young guns in lower Maegashira probably need to watch out still, but veterans know what's coming.

30 Maegashira #11 West Chiyoshoma

Chiyoshoma Fujio | 千代翔馬 富士雄

Kokonoe | Mongolia

Haru 2022: 5-10

The Chiyoshoma as mid-Maegashira experience has probably run its course, as predictable as his rise was surprising. The master trickster was much less tricky than usual at Haru, seeming to want to fight head on. He might actually get a better record if he just sidestepped the whole time and gave a fifteen day henka clinic.

31 Maegashira #12 East Myogiryu

Myogiryu Yasunari | 妙義龍 泰成

Sakaigawa | Hyogo

Haru 2022: 7-8

Myogiryu is another veteran looking like his best days are behind him, although he also had an 11-4 Jun-Yusho last November. A 35 year old who is at his best when he has an athleticism advantage in a match is probably in trouble, although he keeps going.

32 Maegashira #12 West Sadanoumi

Sadanoumi Takashi | 佐田の海 貴士

Sakaigawa | Kumamoto

Haru 2022: 5-10

Sadanoumi is another veteran hanging on in lower-Maegashira after a few disappointing basho. He has already done a Juryo demotion and bounce back up in recent memory, so he could do better at any moment.

33 Maegashira #13 East Chiyotairyu

Chiyotairyu Hidemasa | 千代大龍 秀政

Kokonoe | Tokyo

Haru 2022: 7-8

Chiyotairyu's slow slide down the Banzuke has come as he's changed up his sumo. He is no longer the "run right into the other guy with no Plan B" rikishi he used to be. That might be part of why he hasn't crashed out, however.

34 Maegashira #13 West Meisei

Meisei Chikara | 明生 力

Tatsunami | Kagashima

Haru 2022: 1-14

Meisei won the Anti-Yusho at Haru, despite two other rikishi leaving the tournament due to injury and later returning. His lone victory was on the opening day against Takanosho, and then he never earned a victory again in Haru 2022. He will probably win more at Natsu, if only because getting just one win is extremely rare.

35 Maegashira #14 East Oho

Oho Konosuke | 王鵬 幸之介

Otake | Tokyo

Haru 2022: 10-5 (Juryo)

Oho immediately bounced back after he immediately was demoted in his Makuuchi debut in January. He is the youngest rikishi in the top division for Natsu, and he spent Haru overwhelming Juryo. Watch out for him, because he'll be a good one.

36 Maegashira #14 West Yutakayama

Yutakayama Ryota | 豊山 亮太

Tokitsukaze | Niigata

Haru 2022: 7-8

Yutakayama just looks like the model of a sekitori, until he engages with an opponent. He always has an air of struggle in his matches, like it's just a touch harder than he expected it would be.

37 Maegashira #15 East Azumaryu

Azumaryu Tsuyoshi | 東龍 強

Tamanoi | Mongolia

Haru 2022: 10-5 (Juryo)

Azumaryu has spent the majority of his thirteen-year career in Juryo, but he does occasionally do really well there and comes up to Makuuchi. After a 10-5 in Haru, he's back in the top division. Be warned that he has never had a winning record as a Maegashira or stayed at that rank longer than 2 basho.

38 Maegashira #15 West Ichiyamamoto

Ichiyamamoto Daiki | 一山本 大生

Hanaregoma | Hokkaido

Haru 2022: 8-7

Ichiyamamoto held on to his Maegashira rank with a five match winning streak to close out Haru. He'll need a winning record once again to keep his rank for July, and he hasn't exactly set Makuuchi on fire in his 4 top division basho.

39 Maegashira #16 East Ishiura

Ishiura Shikanosuke | 石浦 鹿介

Miyagino | Tottori

Haru 2022: 2-7-6

Ishiura was at a career high rank of Maegashira #5 West for Haru, and then he was injured on Day Three. Even though he returned to the Dohyo, he didn't do so welll. He subsequently got sent to the bottom of Makuuchi for Natsu, and he might still struggle here.

40 Maegashira #16 West Midorifuji

Midorifuji Kazunari | 翠富士 一成

Shizuoka | Isegahama

Haru 2022: 12-3 (Juryo)

Midorifuji has returned to Makuuchi after a year away due to a herniated disc in his back. His 12-3 vaulted him back up and included a variety of kimarite, especially his signature katasukashi (under shoulder swing down.) Midorifuji will bring a lot of fun to the top division.

41 Maegashira #17 East Kotokuzan

Kotokuzan Taro | 荒篤山 太郎

Arashio | Kanagawa

Haru 2022: 7-8

Kotokuzan got a bare maki-koshi on the final day of Haru, which should have demoted him to Juryo as a Maegashira #16. Instead, worse performances above him got demoted, and now he gets a second chance for Makuuchi winning record. He's a pusher who can keep his feet, although he doesn't always overwhelm opponents. That balance doesn't usually lead to wild success, but he could win more than he loses.

42 Maegashira #17 West Kagayaki

Kagayaki Taishi | 輝 大士

Takadagawa | Ishikawa

Haru 2022: 7-8

Kagayaki had a demotion-worthy performance, but only a select number of rikishi can go down to Juryo. He gets to be at the bottom of Makuuchi instead, which is a huge bit of luck. He'll need to do much better to stick again.

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