Best Sumo Wrestlers of All Time

Best Sumo Wrestlers of All Time

In the history of modern sumo wrestling, some legendary wrestlers have stepped into the dohyo. Diehard sumo fans often argue about who were the best sumo wrestlers of all time.

Let’s throw our opinion in the mix and list twelve of the best sumo wrestlers of all time. Check out the highlights and histories of the best sumo wrestlers in the sport below, and tell us your list.

12 Best Sumo Wrestlers of All Time

Konshicki Yasokichi

Weight:633 lbs(287 kg)
Birthplace:Oahu, Hawaii
Career:1982-1997
Wins:733
Championships:6 Titles

Konsicki Yaokichi is one of the most famous sumos to compete in the sport. The Hawaiian native was one of the best sumo wrestlers in the world during the 1980s and 1990s.

He is most known for the iconic photo he took facing off with a child, which millions have seen. Konsicki would have earned the rank of yokozuna if it were not for internal politics against foreign rikishis.

However, Saleva Fuauli has found even more success after his career as a public personality. Even though he wasn’t given the rank of yokozuna, Konsicki is still one of the most beloved sumos in history.

Konshicki Yasokichi

Musashimaru Koyo

Weight:518 lbs(235 kg)
Birthplace:American Samoa
Career:1989-2003
Wins:779
Championships:15 Titles

Musashimaru is considered one of the best non-Japanese sumo in the history of the sport. The Samoan native came on to the scene in 1989 and had incredible rivalries with the sport’s best athletes.

He was a large and powerful sumo with incredible rivalries with Asashoryu, Takanahana, and Akebono. In 1999, Mushashimaru became the 2nd non-Japanese wrestler to earn the rank of yokozuna.

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He would unfortunately retire just four years later due to injury, but the legend already made his mark. Musashimaru ended his illustrious career with 779 wins and 15 tournament championships.

Hiroshi Wajima

Weight:287 lbs(135 kg)
Birthplace:Ishikawa, Japan
Career:1970 to 1981
Wins:673
Championships:16 Titles

Hiroshi Wajima made a lot of history during his illustrious career. During his 11-year career, the 54th yokozuna became one of the first college athletes to achieve this honor.

As an athlete, Wajima’s talent was unmatched. To earn the rank of yokozuna, Hiroshi went 15-0 at the 1973 May basho. He was known as “the sumo genius” for his knowledge and abilities in the sport.

Wajima was a trailblazer and earned his status as a sumo legend.

Harumafuji Kohel

Weight:302 lbs(137 kg)
Birthplace:Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Career:2001 to 2017
Wins:827
Championships:12 Titles

Haraumafuji is another one of the most successful Mongolian sumo wrestlers during the modern era. Kohel earned his pro status in 2001 and quickly made a name for himself.

He routinely found success in competition and earned 827 wins during his career, with 12 championships. What many fans note about Harumafuji’s career was his tense rivalry with legend Hakunho Sho.

If Kohel was not in the same era as Sho, many might consider him the great Mongolian sumo of the era.

Taiho Koki

Weight:337(152 kg)
Birthplace:Karafuto, Japan
Career:1956 to 1971
Wins:872
Championships:34 Titles

Taiho Koki was the 48th yokozuna, who was the most dominant sumo during the 1960s. Just three years after making his pro debut, Taiho earned the rank of yokozuna.

After earning the rank, Koki dominated the sport during the 1960s. During this time, Koki racked up 872 wins and won 34 tournament titles.

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His most successful run during his career was between 1968 to 1969. He won an incredible 45 straight matches, which was the most in over 40 years by a rikishi.

Many fans and experts considered Taiho to be among the best sumo wrestlers of the post-war period.

Akebono Taro

Weight:514 lbs(233 kg)
Birthplace:Waimanalo, Hawaii
Career:1988 to 2001
Wins:654
Championships:11 Titles

When you talk about the best sumo wrestlers of all time, Akebono is one of the most iconic figures in the sport’s history. The mammoth Hawaiian was one of the most feared athletes in the history of sumo.

In sumo, Akebono was one of the most feared rikishi during his era. He made history by becoming the first non-Japanese wrestler in history to earn the rank of yokozuna.

His era was also one of the most viewed in the sport’s history. Millions of fans watched his rivalries with fellow legends like Takanohana and Wakanohana. Akebono was the face of sumo, and deservedly so.

Akebono Taro

Chiyonofuji Mitsugu

Weight:278 lbs(126 kg)
Birthplace:Hokkaido, Japan
Career:1970 to 1981
Wins:1045
Championships:32 Titles

Yokozuna legend Chiyonofuji is considered the best sumo wrestler of the 1970s. 

Mitsugu was a bit undersized but an incredible athlete with superior technique.

During his 11-year career, Chiyonfuji captured 32 tournament titles, winning 1045 matches. He is among the most successful sumo of the modern era and is revered as a legendary athlete.

Chiyonofuji is also a legendary coach who trained many champions at the Kokonoe stable until he died in 2016.

Takanohana Koji

Weight:340 lbs(154 kg)
Birthplace:Tokyo, Japan
Career:1988 to 2003
Wins:794
Championships:24 Titles

Takanohana Koji is not only one of the best sumo wrestlers of all time but one of the most beloved. During Takanohana’s 15-year career, the yokozuna was adored by his fans.

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Whenever Koji stepped into the ring, the fans were excitedly trembling. During his career, he earned 794 wins with 24 tournament titles as a pro.

After his athletic career ended, Takanohana opened his successful school called the Takohana stable. Today, he’s still part of the sport he loves and continues to produce high-level rikishi.

Takanohana Koji

Futabayama Sadaji

Weight:282 lbs(128 kg)
Birthplace:Oita, Japan
Career:1927 to 1945
Wins:345
Championships:12 Titles

Futabayama Sadaji was a legend long before many fans of sumo wrestling were born. From 1927 to 1945, Futabayama was the best rikishi in the sport of sumo.

At just 21 years of age, Sadaji earned the top rank of yokozuna. Making him one of the youngest athletes to receive this high honor. 

Some may argue that he wasn’t one of the best sumo wrestlers ever by his number. However, fans who say Futabayama competed said his talent was undeniable.

He would’ve become a legend in any generation of sumo before or after his time.

Kitanoumi Toshimitsu

Weight:373 lbs(169 kg)
Birthplace:Hokkaido, Japan
Career:1967 to 1985
Wins:951
Championships:24 Titles

Along with Chiyonofui, Kitanoumi Toshimitsu is considered one of the best sumo wrestlers of the 1970s and 1980s. Many fans and experts feel that Kitanoumi had an edge over his rival with his longevity in the sport.

Kitanoumi was a top-ranked sumo for almost twenty years and earned an outstanding 951 wins. The legend also captured 24 tournament titles during his illustrious career.

Toshimitsu also became the head of the sumo federation and a respectable head coach after his career ended.

Kitanoumi Toshimitsu

Asashoryu Akinori

Weight:326 lbs(148 kg)
Birthplace:Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Career:1999 to 2010
Wins:669
Championships:28 Titles

Asashoryu Akinori is always a unanimous selection when debating the best sumo wrestlers of all time. Akinori had an eleven-year career, which was filled with legendary feet.

The Mongolian native won 28 tournaments during this time, which made him one of the most successful rikishi of the era. He is the only sumo of the modern era to win all six major tournament seasons.

This was a feat that hadn’t been accomplished in almost 50 years. Asashoryu Akinori had an incredible year and deserves to be on any all-time great sumo list.

Asashoryu Akinori

Hakuho Sho 

Weight:342 lbs(155 kg)
Birthplace:Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Career:2001 to 2021
Wins:1187
Championships:46 Titles

When you talk about the best sumo wrestlers of all time, the answer for the greatest is almost unanimous. Hakunho Sho is arguably the best sumo wrestler ever to live.

The Mongolian native is an undeniable talent whose success and longevity surpass all the legends. For twenty years, Sho proved that he was a legend.

Hakuho won an incredible 1187 matches and 46 tournament titles in his career. The greatness of this yokozuna is unmatched and Hakuho Sho will be forever known as a legend of sumo.

Hakuho Sho