Who are the 10 best sumo wrestlers ever to exist? A ranked list
Sumo wrestling is a traditional form of Japanese wrestling that incorporates grappling and throwing as the primary way to gain victory. It is Japan's official sport and has been practised since the 8th century. Join us today as we look at some of the best sumo wrestlers in history!
In Japanese, the word 'sumo' can be roughly translated to 'fight.' It is also common in other countries such as Mongolia and The Philippines.
The top 10 best sumo wrestlers to ever exist
The sport has also found popularity in the United States as it is popularly depicted in Hollywood martial arts films. The highest-ranked sumo wrestler in the sport is given the honorary title of Yokozuna.
10. Konishiki Yasokichi
Konishiki was born Saleva'a Fuauli Atisano'e in Hawaii, USA, and was the first non-Japanese Sumo wrestler to reach the sumo rank of Ozeki, the second most senior title after Yokozuna. In 81 tournaments over his career, he won 649 bouts. After he retired from Sumo wrestling, he became a successful TV personality in Japan and America and has been featured in both movies and TV shows.
|Name||Saleva'a Fuauli Atisano'e|
9. Inazuma Raigorō
Inazuma was a 19th-century wrestler who achieved the rank of Yokozuna and held it for nine consecutive years (1830-1839). He is the 7th ever Yokozuna on record.
8. Musashimaru Kōyō
Musashimaru is another non-Japanese sumo champion. He was born in American Samoa but moved to Hawaii as a child. He was initially named Fiamalu Penitani. He achieved the rank of Yokozuna in 1999 though injuries forced him to retire in 2002 aged just 31. He was the 67th Yokozuna.
7. Wajima Hiroshi
Hiroshi Wajima was a dominant wrestler in the late 20th century. He was crowned the sport's 54th Yokozuna in 1973. He was also the only collegiate athlete to become Yokozuna. He passed away in 2018 due to cancer.
6. Tanikaze Kajinosuke
Tanikaze was an 18th-century Yokozuna who was the first to be recognized with the title while still alive. He is officially recorded as the 4th ever Yokozuna, and there is a statue of him in Sendai, Japan.
5. Asashōryū Akinori
Akinori was born in Mongolia under the name Dolgorsürengiin Dagvadorj. He dominated sumo wrestling in the early 21st century, with his spell as Yokozuna lasting from 2004-2007. He was the sport's 68th Yokozuna and the first Mongolian to achieve that rank. He was known for being controversial and retired in 2010 after being accused of assault outside a Tokyo nightclub.
4. Harumafuji Kōhei
Harumafuji is another Mongolian-born wrestler.His original name is Davaanyamyn Byambadorj.He was the sport's 70th Yokozuna and had five years of dominance between 2012 and 2017. He is lighter than most sumo wrestlers and used his superior technique and skills to best opponents. He resigned in 2017 after admitting to physically assaulting another wrestler at a regional meet.
3. Taiho Koki
Koki was born Ivan Boryshko in 1940 to a Japanese mother and a Ukrainian father. His family was split up after World War 2 when the Soviet Union took over the Sakhalin Islands, and he moved to Japan with his mother. He became the 48th Yokozuna in 1961, aged just 21 years. He passed away in 2013.
2. Kitanoumi Toshimitsu
Kitanoumi was the youngest ever sumo wrestler to be made Yokozuna, earning the achievement aged 21 years and two months in 1974. He was the sport's 55th Yokozuna and later became the Japanese Sumo association president. He passed away in 2015.
1. Hakuho Sho
Sho is widely considered the most outstanding sumo wrestler ever. Born Mönkhbatyn Davaajargal in Mongolia, he first became Yokozuna in 2007. He is well known for his longevity and consistency, only retiring in 2021 after a twenty-year sumo wrestling career. He also holds the annual Hakuho cup in Japan for upcoming sumo wrestlers.
The sport of sumo wrestling continues to garner more attention and popularity across the world. It requires skill, strength, technique, and discipline to be a champion. That is why we have broken down the top 10 best sumo wrestlers in the world.
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