Kisenosato improved to 10-0 for the first time in his career with victory over fellow ozeki Kotooshu at the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament on Tuesday.
Kisenosato is aiming to become the first Japanese since Tochiazuma in 2006 to win a title.
Yokozuna Hakuho kept up with ease, outclassing Goeido (5-5) with a quick tug of the sekiwake’s arm to maintain his perfect record two-thirds of the way through the basho.
Ozeki Kakuryu trails the two leaders at 9-1, successfully bouncing back from his first loss of the tournament a day earlier by dismissing third-ranked maegashira Aran (4-6).
A pack of three, including yokozuna Harumafuji who ran over No. 5 Shohozan in a heartbeat, stands at 8-2. Eighth-ranked Tokitenku picked up his eighth win by default after No. 12 Kyokushuho (5-5) withdrew.
Kisenosato had lost his last three against Kotooshu (6-4), and was again made to work by the desperate Bulgarian, who needs to post a winning record at the basho to stave off demotion.
After slamming into one another in the center of the ring, Kisenosato had blood dripping across his chest, but that did not deter the Naruto wrestler from beating Kotooshu with class and composure in the marquee matchup of the day.