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  • Fantasy Basho

Natsu 2023 Rikishi Preview

The Natsu Basho starts in just a little over a week. You can join Fantasy Basho on Fantasizr right now. Pick your team, invite a friend, and use the below previews to beat whoever you are playing against.

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01 Terunofuji Haruo | 照ノ富士 春雄

Isegahama | Mongolia

Birthdate: November 29, 1991

Haru 2023 Rank: Yokozuna East

Haru 2023 Record: 0-0-15

He should be back. After sitting out three full tournaments due to terrible knees (osteoarthritis AND surgeries), Terunofuji is planning to compete for May. He probably won't be in full Kaiju mode, but Terunofuji is too big, strong, and talented for most rikishi event at less than 100%.








02 Ozeki West Takakeisho

Takakeisho Takanobu | 貴景勝 貴信

Tokiwayama | Hyogo

Birthdate: August 5, 1996

Haru 2023 Rank: Ozeki West

Haru 2023 Record: 3-4-8

Takakeisho did not manage to gain Yokozuna-dom, and in fact fell apart while trying to get it once again. He is a devastating pusher-thruster at his best, but his body and style are basically designed to create injury issues. He didn't suffer the kind of knee injury that requires lengthy absence, but he can't be at his best for May.






03 Sekiwake #1 East Kiribayama

Kiribayama Tetsuo | 霧馬山 鐵雄

Michinoku | Mongolia

Birthdate: April 24, 1996

Haru 2023 Rank: Sekiwake #2 East

Haru 2023 Record: 12-3 Yusho; Technique Prize

Kiribayama is coming off his first Yusho, which followed his first Jun-Yusho in January. He can likely make Ozeki with double-digit wins, which is easier said than done. What is certain is Kiribayama has found a new level of sumo that blends his power and his speed in a killer blend.







04 Sekiwake #1 West Hoshoryu

Hoshoryu Tomokatsu | 豊昇龍 智勝

Tatsunami | Mongolia

Birthdate: May 22, 1999

Haru 2023 Rank: Sekiwake #1 West

Haru 2023 Record: 10-5

Hoshoryu is in the range of an Ozeki promotion if he could go 15-0 or 14-1. His career best record is 11 wins, but he's added bulk to complement his strategy and skill. Hoshoryu probably won't earn an Ozeki promotion after May, although he is nearing that shot.








05 Sekiwake #2 East Daieisho

Daieisho Hayato | 大栄翔 勇人

Oitekaze | Saitama

Birthdate: November 10, 1993

Haru 2023 Rank: Komusubi #2 East

Haru 2023 Record: 12-3 Jun-Yusho; Technique Prize

Daieisho was a hair's breadth from a second yusho in March, losing in a playoff to Kiribayama. A 29 year old, undersized oshidashi specialist probably shouldn't be one of the better rikishi in sumo. Yet Daieisho has perfected his brand of sumo so much he could be on an Ozeki run if you squint and really want to see it.








06 Sekiwake #2 West Wakamotoharu

Wakamotoharu Minato | 若元春 港

Arashio | Fukushima

Birthdate: October 5, 1993

Haru 2023 Rank: Komusubi #1 East

Haru 2023 Record: 11-4

In a basho where his brother Wakatakakage was seriously injured, Wakamotoharu had his best career tournament. 11 wins as a Komosubi seems like it should be his ceiling. We've also said that before about Wakamotoharu and been wrong.









07 Komusubi #1 East Kotonowaka

Kotonowaka Masahiro | 琴ノ若 傑太

Sadogatake | Chiba

Birthdate: November 19, 1997

Haru 2023 Rank: Komusubi #1 West

Haru 2023 Record: 9-6

Kotonowaka's steady climb to the top of the Banzuke continued in March. 9 wins as a Komusubi is impressive, although it isn't knocking on the door of Ozeki. He is 25 with an ideal build and the best fundamentals in Makuuchi. He just needs to take it to the next level.








08 Komusubi #1 West Wakatakakage

Wakatakakage Atsushi | 若隆景 渥

Arashio | Fukushima

Birthdate: December 6, 1994

Haru 2023 Rank: Sekiwake #1 East

Haru 2023 Record: 7-7-1

Wakatakakage will not compete in May, or for nearly a year, after injuring his right meniscus and ACL. Here is hoping he can come back strong after a series of demotions.









09 Komusubi #2 East Shodai

Shodai Naoya | 正代 直也

Tokitsukaze | Kumamoto

Birthdate: November 5, 1991

Haru 2023 Rank: Maegashira #1 West

Haru 2023 Record: 10-5

Shodai got a surprising 10-5 and looked somewhat like the excellent defensive wrestler who made it to Ozeki. His actual Ozeki performance was middling, thanks to a combination of inconsistency and injuries. If the injuries (which included battling long COVID symptoms) are gone, perhaps Shodai can be consistent again.






10 Maegashira #1 East Abi

Abi Masatora | 阿炎 政虎

Shikoroyama | Saitama

Birthdate: May 4, 1998

Haru 2023 Rank: Maegashira #2 East

Haru 2023 Record: 9-6

That November yusho is looking more like an outlier the further it gets in the rear-view mirror. Still, Abi is an absolute handful thanks to mixing excellent size with a practiced two-hand alternating tsuppari. He struggles when Plan A goes wrong, but he often doesn't need Plan B.







11 Maegashira #1 West Midorifuji

Midorifuji Kazunari | 翠富士 一成

Shizuoka | Isegahama

Birthdate: August 30, 1996

Haru 2023 Rank: Maegashira #5 West

Haru 2023 Record: 10-5

Midorifuji did go 10-5, but that record is stained somewhat by getting the five losses in his final five matches. The master of the Katasukashi is eminently skilled, but a little undersized against most rikishi. He should be able to build on March, but yusho contention could be a bridge too far.








12 Maegashira #2 East Takayasu

Takayasu Akira | 高安 晃

Tagonoura | Ibaraki

Birthdate: February 28, 1990

Haru 2023 Rank: Maegashira #7 West

Haru 2023 Record: 10-5

Takayasu proved again in March that after he has to leave a basho, he can come back strong. 10-5 is not quite like the Jun-Yusho he scattered across 2022. He should still be on the short list of possible yusho-contenders heading into the Natsu Basho.








13 Maegashira #2 West Endo

Endo Shota | 遠藤 聖大

Oitekaze | Ishikawa

Birthdate: October 19, 1990

Haru 2023 Rank: Maegashira #6 East

Haru 2023 Record: 9-6

Two straight 9-6 records to start the year means Endo has already surpassed the number of kachi-koshi he had in 2022. Endo may not be fully back, but if he is healthy and not overthinkingmhe is still trouble for most Maegashira.








14 Maegashira #3 East Tobizaru

Tobizaru Masaya | 翔猿 正也

Oitekaze | Tokyo

Birthdate: April 24, 1992

Haru 2023 Rank: Komusubi #2 West

Haru 2023 Record: 6-9

Tobizaru seems to be in the "winning-record-as-upper-Maegashira-losing-record-in-Sanyaku" perpetual motion machine. He is outgunned against most top opponents from a size and strength perspective. The Flying Monkey holds his own by being the trickiest wrestler in Makuuchi.







15 Maegashira #3 West Nishikifuji

Nishikifuji Ryusei | 錦富士 隆聖

Isegahama | Aomori

Birthdate: July 22, 1996

Haru 2023 Rank: Maegashira #10 West

Haru 2023 Record: 10-5

Nishikifuji garnered 10 wins in March after an awful 4-11 in January. A 26 year old who is extremely skilled but not extremely big, so he is still figuring out how to handle the very best. But he should be able to sort that out as he moves forward.








16 Maegashira #4 East Ura

Ura Kazuki | 宇良 和輝

Kise | Osaka

Birthdate: June 22, 1992

Haru 2023 Rank: Maegashira #8 West

Haru 2023 Record: 9-6

Ura had a solid basho for Haru, although he wasn't usual dynamic and tricky self as often. That could easily be a good development for the oft-injured rikishi as he moves into his thirties. Because even if he focuses more on straight-ahead sumo, Ura can pull a surprise on anyone at anytime.







17 Maegashira #4 West Nishikigi

Nishikigi Tetsuya | 錦木 徹也

Isenoumi | Iwate

Birthdate: August 25, 1990

Haru 2023 Rank: Maegashira #3 West

Haru 2023 Record: 6-9

Nishikigi's recent rise from Juryo to Upper Maegashira may have hits its maximum point, Most rikishi do not improve after turning 30 or by not changing their sumo much, but maybe Nishikigi is just a natural exception. He has never dominated, so a step back means losing records.







18 Maegashira #5 East Kinbozan

Kinbozan Haruki | 金峰山 晴樹

Kise | Kazakhstan

Birthdate: June 24, 1997

Haru 2023 Rank: Maegashira #14 East

Haru 2023 Record: 11-4; Fighting Spirit Prize

Kinbozan made his Makuuchi debut in March, and all he accomplished was 11 wins, figuring in the Yusho race, and earning a Special Prize. The Kazakh is huge, strong, and gifted, so he will continue to make waves in Makuuchi. At 25, nearly 26, he is near his ceiling, but it could be a pretty high one.







19 Maegashira #5 West Kotoshoho

Kotoshoho Yoshinari | 琴勝峰 吉成

Sadogatake | Chiba

Birthdate: August 26, 1999

Haru 2023 Rank: Maegashira #5 East

Haru 2023 Record: 6-9

Kotoshoho only managed 6 wins after his Jun-Yusho in January. The confidence and focus fell off, but the powerful and athletic rikishi was still there. His five match winning streak from Day 10 to Day 14 showed that yusho contention may happen again for the 23 year old.







20 Maegashira #6 East Meisei

Meisei Chikara | 明生 力

Tatsunami | Kagashima

Birthdate: July 24, 1995

Haru 2023 Rank: Maegashira #4 West

Haru 2023 Record: 5-10

The tail end of 2022 saw Meisei begin to reestablish his Sanyaku form after two disastrous basho to start the year. 2023 has seen Meisei have two disastrous basho to start the the year once again, so maybe he just dislikes January and March. Or he's really starting to struggle.








21 Maegashira #6 West Mitakeumi

Mitakeumi Hisashi | 御嶽海 久司

Dewanoumi | Nagano

Birthdate: December 25, 1992

Haru 2023 Rank: Maegashira #3 East

Haru 2023 Record: 4-11

Mitakeumi's fall from Ozeki has not yet found its floor in Maegashira. He's clearly dealing with the kind of injury that affects his overall athleticism and sumo ability. Mitakeumi should still be good if he can get healthy, but who knows when that will happen.








22 Maegashira #7 East Hokutofuji

Hokutofuji Daiki | 北勝富士 大輝

Hakkaku | Saitama

Birthdate: July 15, 1992

Haru 2023 Rank: Maegashira #7 East

Haru 2023 Record: 7-8

Hokutofuji should still be considered a formidable opponent for a Maegashira, but he's over a year from a double-digit win total and more than two from a Sanyaku rank. Hokutofuji still fights the same way with an inside shove to an opponent's upper chest and neck. He just isn't able to get the same results against the top-rankers. Welcome to veteran mid-Maeagsira-dom.





23 Maegashira #7 West Tamawashi

Tamawashi Ichiro | 玉鷲 一朗

Kataonami | Mongolia

Birthdate: November 16, 1984

Haru 2023 Rank: Maegashira #1 East

Haru 2023 Record: 3-12

Tamawashi fell down the Banzuke thanks to a 3-12, which should mean he faces a lot of guys who haven't seen his nodowa in awhile or maybe ever. Getting a hand to the throat is discomforting for most rikishi and Tamawashi is the all-time master. Perhaps his age will finally show, but the 38 year old can probably keep it up for a few more basho.






24 Maegashira #8 East Sadanoumi

Sadanoumi Takashi | 佐田の海 貴士

Sakaigawa | Kumamoto

Birthdate: May 11, 1987

Haru 2023 Rank: Maegashira #6 West

Haru 2023 Record: 6-9

Sadanoumi is 35 and never made it to Sanyaku, but he does seem to be coming down from the best stretch of his career. A 6-9 from mid-Maegashira takes him more to the upper part of lower Maegashira. Down here he may be able to get more mileage out of his veteran know how and still impressive athleticism.







25 Maegashira #8 West Takanosho

Takanosho Nobuaki | 隆の勝 伸明

Tokiwayama | Chiba

Birthdate: November 14, 1994

Haru 2023 Rank: Maegashira #11 West

Haru 2023 Record: 8-7

Still trying to regain his brand of sumo after an injury in July, Takanosho did manage a winning record. A pusher-thruster, he has recently looked hopeless when the other guy gets a grip. Look for him to push out an opponent early if he's on form.







26 Maegashira #9 East Onosho

Onosho Fumiya | 阿武咲 奎也

Onomatsu | Aomori

Birthdate: July 4, 1996

Haru 2023 Rank: Maegashira #4 East

Haru 2023 Record: 4-5-6

Onosho had to leave the March tournament two days after suffering an injury in both knees. That's an odd mix of low-level concern and multiple injuries, so it's anyone's guess what he'll look like in May. He can bowl people over, but he can also get too far forward and fall on his face, so it's anyone's guess how he'll do anyway.






27 Maegashira #9 West Hiradoumi

Hiradoumi Yuki | 平戸海 雄貴

Sakaigawa | Nagasaki

Birthdate: April 20, 2000

Haru 2023 Rank: Maegashira #9 West

Haru 2023 Record: 7-8

Hiradoumi just turned 23 between basho, and he has a career 32-28 record in Makuuchi. He does not have ideal size, a dramatic style, or lower-level dominance. What he has done is win fairly consistently and steadily improved. That 7-8 at Haru may just be a blip.








28 Maegashira #10 East Ryuden

Ryuden Goshi | 竜電 剛至

Takadagawa | Yamanashi

Birthdate: November 10, 1990

Haru 2023 Rank: Maegashira #2 West

Haru 2023 Record: 2-13

Ryuden had a disaster basho in March. He looked the same--a step slow and looking to tie up his opponents to frustrate them--but the results showed he may have been off by just a little bit. If Ryuden is anything, he's a sumo survivor that has rebounded from worse.








29 Maegashira #10 West Takarafuji

Takarafuji Daisuke | 宝富士 大輔

Isegahama | Aomori

Birthdate: February 18, 1987

Haru 2023 Rank: Maegashira #12 West

Haru 2023 Record: 8-7

The solid, redoubtable veteran keeps hanging in there. Takarafuji's 8-7 at Maegashira #12 doesn't mean he'll threaten Sanyaku soon, but it does put more cushion ahead of a possible Juryo drop. He'll be an interesting gatekeeper for anyone being promoted to Makuuchi for a little bit longer.







30 Maegashira #11 East Hokuseiho

Hokuseiho Osamu | 北青鵬 治

Miyagino | Hokkaido

Birthdate: November 12, 2001

Haru 2023 Rank: Maegashira #15 East

Haru 2023 Record: 9-6

Hokuseiho came into Makuuchi as a 21 year old and managed 9 wins in his first basho. That is a remarkable feat, especially considering he visibly has much more room to improve. Hokuseiho's massiveness also leads to an awkward fighting style, and once he learns how to apply his gifts against Makuuchi men they are all in trouble.






31 Maegashira #11 West Daishoho

Daishoho Kiyohiro | 大翔鵬 清洋

Oitekaze | Mongolian

Birthdate: August 28, 1994

Haru 2023 Rank: Maegashira #13 East

Haru 2023 Record: 8-7

Daishoho returned to Makuuchi after a long hiatus in May and held his own. For a guy who spent three years outside the top flight and briefly dropped back to Makushita, that's pretty good. Now the question is how long the Mongolian can stay.








32 Maegashira #12 East Aoiyama

Aoiyama Kosuke | 碧山 亘右

Kasugano | Bulgaria

Birthdate: June 19, 1986

Haru 2023 Rank: Maegashira #9 East

Haru 2023 Record: 6-9

Aoiyama was Aoiyama again, just using his giant mass and dual-action hand thrusts to keep opponents at bay. He just didn't do enough for a winning record. He is 36 and isn't gaining athleticism, but his style is going to keep him alive in lower Maegashira.








33 Maegashira #12 West Kotoeko

Kotoeko Mitsunori | 琴恵光 充憲

Sadogatake | Miyazaki

Birthdate: November 20, 1991

Haru 2023 Rank: Maegashira #13 East

Haru 2023 Record: 8-7

Kotoeko did what he does, scrapping, clawing, and fighting to a stalemate against mostly larger men, in March. That resulted in an 8-7 that keeps him firmly as a lower Maegashira. May he keep this up for a while longer.








34 Maegashira #13 East Chiyoshoma

Chiyoshoma Fujio | 千代翔馬 富士雄

Kokonoe | Mongolia

Birthdate: July 20, 1991

Haru 2023 Rank: Maegashira #16 East

Haru 2023 Record: 9-6

Chiyoshoma will keep his Maegashira career going at least one more basho. He probably even avoids a demotion unless he does really poorly. That has come from relatively straight-ahead sumo, but the henka master is always lurking if he needs to pull it out.









35 Maegashira #13 West Ichinojo

Ichinojo Takashi | 逸ノ城 駿

Minato | Mongolia

Birthdate: April 7, 1993

Haru 2023 Rank: Juryo #3 East

Haru 2023 Record: 14-1

The shocking news coming into Natsu is that Ichinojo will be retiring. The massive Mongolian has had a weird 2023, with a mixture of injuries, scandal, and a demotion. But despite a 14-1 Juryo Yusho after that demotion, Ichinojo has been unable to practice due to lower back pain. He has offically handed in retirement papers and is done as an active competitor. He will be missed.





36 Maegashira #14 East Asanoyama

Asanoyama Hiroki | 朝乃山 広暉

Takasago | Toyama

Birthdate: March 1, 1994

Haru 2023 Rank: Juryo #1 East

Haru 2023 Record: 13-2

And so he returns. Asanoyama was last seen on the dohyo in Makuuchi in May 2021. Since then, he has been suspended for violating COVID rules, dropped to Sandanme, and fought his way back in convincing but not completely dominant fashion. There is no reason not to think he will be very, very good, but the question remains if he is as good as he was.






37 Maegashira #14 West Myogiryu

Myogiryu Yasunari | 妙義龍 泰成

Sakaigawa | Hyogo

Birthdate: October 22, 1986

Haru 2023 Rank: Maegashira #10 East

Haru 2023 Record: 5-10

Myogiryu's 5-10 from Maegashira #10 is not a good sign for his future. Now he's in possible Juryo demotion range if he has another lopsided negative record. The veteran has sruvived this scenario before, but sekitori don't have unlimited lives.








38 Maegashira #15 East Ichiyamamoto

Ichiyamamoto Daiki | 一山本 大生

Hanaregoma | Hokkaido

Birthdate: October 1, 1993

Haru 2023 Rank: Maegashira #8 East

Haru 2023 Record: 4-11

Ichiyamamoto reached a career high rank of Maegashira #8 in March and got smacked right back down the Banzuke. A consumate gamer, Ichiyamamoto is also relatively small and entirely a one-dimensional pusher. He is probably best with his back against the wall, which should be seen as the ray of hope for him for May.







39 Maegashira #15 West Tsurugisho

Tsurugisho Momotaro | 剣翔 桃太郎

Oitekaze | Tokyo

Birthdate: July 27, 1991

Haru 2023 Rank: Maegashira #16 West

Haru 2023 Record: 8-7

Tsurugisho's 8-7 was all he really needed, as he was at the foot of Makuuchi in March. It wasn't spectacular, but he didn't need that and he won't need anymore in May.









40 Maegashira #16 East Mitoryu

Mitoryu Takayuki | 水戸龍 聖之

Nishikido | Mongolia

Birthdate: April 25, 1994

Haru 2023 Rank: Maegashira #17 East

Haru 2023 Record: 8-7

Mitoryu got his first winning Makuuchi record in March. That was a bare 8-7 from Maegashira #17, but it keeps him here for a little bit longer.










41 Maegashira #16 West Oho

Oho Konosuke | 王鵬 幸之介

Otake | Tokyo

Birthdate: February 14, 2000

Haru 2023 Rank: Maegashira #15 West

Haru 2023 Record: 7-8

Oho is hanging on to Maegashira status by the skin of his teeth. The young rikishi has shown flashes of future greatness in his career so far, but he largely has middling results. He could dominate lower Maegashira, but it seems silly to count on it.








42 Maegashira #17 East Kagayaki

Kagayaki Taishi | 輝 大士

Takadagawa | Ishikawa

Birthdate: June 1, 1994

Haru 2023 Rank: Maegashira #12 East

Haru 2023 Record: 5-10

Kagayaki fell to the very bottom of Makuuchi after performing at a level that could have sent him to Juryo. His outlook for May is bad unless he finds some special form before the basho begins.

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