Heaviest Sumo Wrestlers of All Time
Sumo is the national sport of Japan, and the ancient form of wrestling dates back to the Yayoi period (circa 300 B.C.-250 A.D.). After a match-fixing scandal in 2011, the sport is on the way back up thanks to talented rikishi (wrestlers) and the emergence of several high-profile grand champions.
There has always been a ritualistic beauty and depth to sumo that has carried on for thousands of years. At the center of this tradition are the rikishi, the wrestlers who live regimented lives. Their every move is dictated by their sumo training stables, down to the food they eat and the clothes they wear.
To win and be elite in sumo, you have to be big. Really big. These are the biggest sumo wrestlers of all time, based on their weight in pounds.
30. Anju — 456 Pounds
Born: May 10, 1979 (Miyazaki, Japan)
Bottom line: Anju made his sumo debut in 1998, at 18 years old, and spent his career out of the Isegahama stable.
Anju wrestled professionally until 2008, and finished his career with a record of 184-191-73 across all four divisions he competed in. The highest rank achieved for Anju was Sandanme 94, and he went 2-5 in that division.
28. Higonoryu — 459 Pounds (Tie)
Born: Nov. 19, 1985 (Kumamoto, Japan)
Bottom line: Higonoryu made his sumo debut in 2004 and has wrestled the majority of his matches in the Jonidan division, where he posted a record of 238-250 overall.
Attached to the Kise stable for his entire career, Higonoryu has had one of the more lengthy careers of any rikishi on this list. His career record after his most recent match in March 2022 was 343-399.
28. Amakaze — 459 Pounds (Tie)
Born: July 7, 1991 (Kagawa, Japan)
Bottom line: Amakaze has one championship to his name, winning a title in the Juryo division in 2013 after making his debut as a rikishi in 2007.
Amakaze has become one of the more popular rikishi in recent memory thanks to his outgoing personality. He loves food and travel and a video of him attempting a 40-yard dash went viral in 2015.
27. Takaryu — 460 Pounds
Born: March 18, 1992 (Ishikawa, Japan)
Bottom line: Another rikishi competing out of the powerful Kise stable — stables are known as "heya" in Japan— Takaryu made his sumo debut in 2014, when he was 22 years old.
While Takaryu hasn't wrestled since May 2021, he's actually been a high climber as far as the sumo divisional ranks, with the majority of his matches coming in the ultra-competitive Makushita division, where he has an overall record of 118-120.
25. Onokuni — 465 Pounds (Tie)
Born: Oct. 9, 1962 (Hokkaido, Japan)
Bottom line: Onokuni made his sumo debut in 1978 and rose to the top of the Yokozuna division in 1987, becoming perhaps the best-known rikishi in the world at the time.
Onokuni retired in 1991 and became the head of the Shibatayama stable, where he guided the careers of other sumo wrestlers.
Outside of the ring, Onokuni has been featured on a myriad of reality television shows in Japan, but not for his skill as a rikishi but as a baker, where he's known for making very, very tasty cakes.
25. Toma — 465 Pounds (Tie)
Born: May 10, 2000 (Okinawa, Japan)
Bottom line: The youngest rikishi to make the list, Toma turns 22 in 2022, and it's still early in his career.
He competes out of the Miyagino stable and has reached the rank of Sandame 1 so far.
23. Gagamaru — 467 Pounds (Tie)
Born: Feb. 23, 1987 (Tbilisi, Georgia)
Bottom line: Gagamaru was just the third Georgian to make it to the top division of sumo — Makuuchi — rising to that level in 2010 after making his debut as a rikishi in 2005.
Gagamaru was a judo national champion in his native country before he moved over to sumo and quickly turned pro. After a series of injuries in 2020, he retired with a 516-538-32 record.
23. Ryutei — 467 Pounds (Tie)
Born: June 2, 1986 (Shandong, China)
Bottom line: Weifu Lu joined the Nishonoseki stable in 2003 and changed his name to Ryutei when he made his sumo debut in 2004, kicking off a nine-year career that ran through 2013.
Ryutei reached his highest ranking as a rikishi at Sandanme 3 in 2007, and in one of the weirder quirks we've ever heard of, he refused to wrestle past the 13th day of the month during his final year as a rikishi.
22. Maeta — 470 Pounds
Born: June 24, 1982 (Yamagata, Japan)
Died: Aug. 26, 2020 (38 years old)
Bottom line: Standing just 5-foot-11 and weighing in at 470 pounds, Maeta originally played soccer and swimming in grade school before switching over to sumo.
He rose to the level of Makushita 3 before he retired in 2018 after he suffered a severe concussion in his final match.
Maeta was working with elementary school and junior high students when he collapsed on Aug. 26, 2020, and died later that day. He was only 38 years old.
21. Omatsuda — 472 Pounds
Born: Aug. 26, 1986 (Hyogo, Japan)
Bottom line: Wrestling out of the Otake stable in Japan, Omatsuda reached just the Sandame 15 level in the sumo ranks.
20. Fujinawa — 475 Pounds
Born: Nov. 2, 1974 (Ibaraki, Japan)
Bottom line: Other than competing out of the Isenoumi stable, we don't know much about the career of Fujinawa, other than he made his sumo debut in 1993.
Oh, and that he also weighed almost 500 pounds during his career.
19. Toyonoumi — 483 Pounds
Born: Sept. 22, 1965 (Fukuoka, Japan)
Died: Nov. 20, 2021 (56 years old)
Bottom line: Toyonoumi was the Cal Ripken Jr. of sumo wrestling. He never missed a bout in 19 years as a rikishi, which is pretty incredible.
Toyonoumi was already a sumo star by the time he was in elementary school in Fukuoka, Japan, before making his sumo debut in 1981. After his career, Toyonoumi was named an elder of the Japan Sumo Association, where he remained until 2002.
Toyonoumi died in 2021, at age 56.
17. Takatenshu — 487 Pounds (Tie)
Born: Sept. 23, 1992 (Saitama, Japan)
Bottom line: Takatenshu made his sumo debut in 2008, at just 16 years old, wrestling out of the Chiagnoura stable before moving over to the Takanohana stable.
Takatenshu retired in 2020 with a record of 232-258 for his career.
17. Daiki — 487 Pounds (Tie)
Born: July 16, 1973 (Honolulu, Hawaii)
Died: May 16, 2005 (31 years old)
Bottom line: Hawaiian-born Daiki Susumo made his debut in 1991, at 18 years old, and wrestled in sumo until 1998, winning a pair of Makushita championships along the way.
Daiki's life ended in tragedy in 2005, when he was stabbed to death by a high school friend in Hawaii in a dispute over money. Kealiokalan Meheula was eventually convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison in 2006.
16. Komanokuni — 498 Pounds
Born: June 29, 1990 (Kanagawa, Japan)
Bottom line: Komanokuni Joji — real first and last name — is still wrestling in the pro ranks out of the Shibatayama stable, which is the only stable in the western part of Tokyo.
As of April 2022, Komanokuni has a career record of 331-308-19.
15. Ichinojo — 500 Pounds
Born: April 7, 1993 (Arkhangai, Mongolia)
Bottom line: Ichinojo was an outlier among rikishi. Thanks to his success on the amateur level, the Mongolian-born heavyweight was allowed to enter the pro sumo ranks in the Makushita division, which had never happened before.
Originally setting out to be a pro judo fighter, Ichinojo was convinced to move over to sumo in high school. He's also one of the few wrestlers on this list that are still active in 2022.
14. Mankajo — 503 Pounds
Born: Feb. 10, 1990 (Miyazaki, Japan)
Bottom line: Mankajo wrestled out of the Oitekaze stable and reached the rank of Makushita 6 during his career.
To put Mankajo's career in perspective and what a typical sumo match is like, his loss against Saskayima in 2013 was considered one of the best bouts of the year. At almost three minutes long, it was deemed a "marathon" match for the sport.
13. Hidenoumi — 505 Pounds
Born: Nov. 20, 1965 (Osaka, Japan)
Bottom line: Hidenoumi isn't the given name for this rikishi. Instead, it's a name he adopted once he began his sumo career. The tradition is not much different than actors or actresses who change their names.
Born Wataru Maeda, Hidenoumi finished his career with a record of 235-216 and missed 14 tournaments because of different injuries.
12. Sakaefuji — 511 Pounds
Born: Aug. 14, 1992 (Tokyo, Japan)
Bottom line: It's tough to find much information on some of the heaviest sumo wrestlers of all time. Sakaefuji, who weighed 511 pounds, is one of those.
We know he wrestled out of the Sakaigawa stable, which was established in 1998 and has gained a reputation for putting out top-ranked wrestlers in the 2020s.
11. Tokushinho — 516 Pounds
Born: May 13, 1984 (Mie, Japan)
Bottom line: Tokushinho studied karate in his youth but became part of the sumo club at Asahi University, then became the biggest sumo star to ever come out of the Japanese college.
Tokushinho made his sumo debut in 2007 and wrestled as a rikishi until he retired in 2020 with a record of 382-373.
Following his retirement, Tokushinho planned to return to Asahi to become the instructor for the college's sumo club. Listen to Tokushinho, kids.
10. Akebono — 520 Pounds
Born: May 8, 1969 (Waimanalo, Hawaii)
Bottom line: The sheer terror of stepping in the ring to face Akebono in his prime is something we can all appreciate. In his prime, you were squared up against a 6-foot-8, 520-pound human being. That's not normal.
Akebono made history in 1993 when he became the first non-Japanese-born person to reach the yokozuna level of sumo, the highest in the sport. Akebono's rivalry with several Japanese rikishi in the early 1990s contributed to the sport's popularity at that time, and the Hawaiian-born rikishi actually became a Japanese citizen in 1996.
Following his retirement in 2001, Akebono went into entertainment as a professional wrestler in Japan, where he was a two-time heavyweight champion in the All Japan Pro Wrestling League.
8. Musashimaru — 522 Pounds (Tie)
Born: May 2, 1971 (American Samoa)
Bottom line: Musashimaru was born in American Samoa, moved to Hawaii at 10 years old, and made his sumo debut in Japan in 1989, at 18 years old.
One of the most popular rikishi of all time, Musashimaru was just the second foreign-born sumo wrestler to reach the top rank of yokozuna. He also was intimidating to step in the ring against, standing at 6-foot-4 and weighing over 500 pounds in his prime.
8. Kainowaka — 522 Pounds (Tie)
Born: April 20, 1979 (Fukuoka, Japan)
Bottom line: Kainowaka began his career as a rikishi in 1995, at just 16 years old, and is one of the longest-tenured wrestlers on this list.
He was still participating in sumo tournaments as of March 2022, closing in on his 43rd birthday.
Across all divisions, Kainowaka has a record of 531-554-35.
7. Susanoumi — 530 Pounds
Born: Aug. 30, 1972 (Osaka, Japan)
Bottom line: Susanoumi reached his peak weight early in his career — checking in at an intimidating 6-foot, 530 pounds in 1998.
Susanoumi stayed in sumo until 2003, when he got busted down to one of the lowest divisions and went to work running a restaurant, then as a security guard.
Over all divisions, Susanoumi had a record of 501-526.
6. Tominohana — 531 Pounds
Born: Feb. 15, 1972 (Keelung, Taiwan)
Bottom line: Wrestling out of the Takadagawa stable, Tominohana proved more effective in the ring than other wrestlers around his weight because of his ability to adopt a grappling technique — an actual wrestling-style approach.
Like many rikishi, Tominohana's career didn't last very long. He made his debut in 1988 at a weight of 317 pounds, and by the end of his career in 1992, he weighed over 531 pounds.
One time he disclosed, he'd eaten five servings of barbecue meat along with five servings of ramen noodles in one sitting.
5. Kenho — 550 Pounds
Born: Feb. 10, 1989 (Miyagi, Japan)
Bottom line: Rikishi Kenho's weight is even more incredible when you take into account he's only 5-foot-9. That's short even for a sumo wrestler.
4. Dewanojo — 569 Pounds
Born: Dec. 14, 1993 (Tochigi, Japan)
Bottom line: Dewanojo has already reached the level of Makushita 56 and is part of the prestigious Dewamoumi stable.
At just 28 years old, he's still an up-and-coming rikishi and popular among Japanese fans.
3. Yamamotoyama — 611 Pounds
Born: May 8, 1984 (Saitama, Japan)
Bottom line: Yamamotoyama is thought to be not only the heaviest Japanese-born sumo wrestler of all time, but also the heaviest Japanese person of all time.
Yamamotoyama's career ended in shame in 2011, when he was forced into retirement by the Japan Sumo Association when his role in a massive match-fixing scheme came to the light.
Yamamotoyama left Japan for Los Angeles, where he has tried to carve out a career in Hollywood. His biggest role to date was in "John Wick 2" alongside Keanu Reeves in 2017.
2. Konishiki — 633 Pounds
Born: Dec. 31, 1963 (Honolulu, Hawaii)
Bottom line: Hawaiian-born Konishiki became the first rikishi born outside of Japan to advance to the rank of Ozeki, or No. 2 in all of sumo.
Konishiki won the top grand division championship three times in his career and came very close to becoming a grand champion, which sparked a debate among Japanese fans as to whether a non-Japanese wrestler should even be allowed to advance to that level.
Since his career ended, Konishiki had gastic bypass surgery that resulted in a 150-pound weight loss and has also carved out a career as a DJ and rapper in Japan.
1. Orora — 645 Pounds
Born: April 26, 1983 (Ziagraveyo, Buryat, USSR)
Bottom line: Orora was big from a young age — no surprise there — and became fascinated with sumo when he was 8 years old and saw a match on television. By the time he was 16, the family had moved to St. Petersburg in order for him to train full-time to become a rikishi.
Orora made his sumo debut in 2000, when he was just 17 years old and 6-foot-3 and 420 pounds. When he retired in 2018, his weight had shot up to a record 645 pounds.
Orora once performed a rare move where he actually picked up an opponent and threw him out of the ring, but only won about half his matches because opponents would simply run around him until he tired out.