Former ozeki Dejima took a share of the lead after knocking out Mongolian Kyokushuzan, who was tripped to his first defeat at the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament on Monday.
In the head-to-head, Kyokushuzan, a 10th-ranked maegashira, throttled Dejima but the No. 5 maegashira quickly used his superior leg strength to plow down his opponent to improve to 8-1 to share the lead with Kyokushuzan at Tokyo’s Ryogoko Kokugikan.
Meanwhile, yokozuna Asashoryu disposed of fellow Mongolian Hakuho to stay one off the pace at 7-2, along with sekiwake Wakanosato and ozeki Kaio, in the chase for his fifth consecutive Emperor’s Cup.
In the day’s final bout, the 19-year-old Hakuho tried his best to keep the yokozuna at bay with a series of hard shoves but Asashoryu got a right-hand grip on his mawashi before inflicting a bone-crunching underarm throw on the third-ranked maegashira.
Asashoryu, who is seeking his ninth overall title, is also aiming to become the first wrestler to win all six tourneys in the same year with a title victory at the 15-day meet.
Dejima, who notched a winning record for the first time in four tournaments, is in his best form in ages and could present an obstacle to Asashoryu as the final week of action winds down.
It was a day of fortune for ozeki Kaio and Chiyotaikai while Musoyama lost his bout via default to yokozuna killer Tochinonada after pulling out through injury the same day.
Kaio was in no mood for games as he quickly grabbed Shimotori (3-6) by the mawashi and slammed the top-ranked maegashira to the dirt surface to stay in contention.
Chiyotaikai (6-3) finally found his groove with his trademark thrusting attack, bludgeoning Miyabiyama (4-5) with a flurry of strikes before slamming the sekiwake over the edge.