Kaio remained in sole possession of the lead Friday after a hard-fought win over fellow ozeki Chiyotaikai, while yokozuna Asashoryu was upset again at the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament.
Kokugikan. Wakanosato improved his record to 10-3 while
Asashoryu fell back to 9-4.
Chiyotaikai, who was handed his fourth straight loss of the 15-day tourney, went on the attack in the penultimate bout at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan with a barrage of arm thrusts.
But Kaio held his ground and drove the burly ozeki out with a mammoth shove that carried both wrestlers into the first row of seats.
Heading into the final two days of competition, Kaio has an 11-2 record and a one-win lead over four wrestlers. Chiyotaikai dropped to 6-7 and will just be hoping to finish with a winning record.
In the day’s finale, Asashoryu came charging out of the faceoff but was handed his fourth loss against nine wins when sekiwake Wakanosato (10-3) dodged to one side as the Mongolian grand champion hit the dirt.
Asashoryu is bidding for his fifth straight Emperor’s Cup and will need a major comeback over the weekend to have any chance.
In other major bouts, Tochinonada improved to 10-3 when Mongolian Hakuho (6-7) lost his footing shortly after the faceoff and fell to the dirt surface in a showdown of No. 3 maegashira grapplers.
In an earlier bout, Mongolian Kyokushuzan, a No. 10 maegashira, stayed in the hunt and improved to 10-3 when he swatted down No. 13 Tochisakae, who dropped to 5-8.
Rising star Roho, a No. 15 maegashira, kept his title hopes alive when he exploded out of the faceoff and drove Dejima out to improve to 10-3. No. 5 maegashira Dejima dropped to 9-4.
Kotomitsuki deployed a textbook arm throw to send Georgian-born Kokkai sprawling over the straw ridge.
Komusubi Kotomitsuki improved to 7-6 while top maegashira Kokkai was handed his seventh loss against six wins.
Elsewhere, Mongolian Kyokutenho also used an arm throw to upend Iwakiyama. Komusubi Kyokutenho improved to 5-8 while No. 2 maegashira Iwakiyama dropped to 7-6.
Miyabiyama used a series of arm thrusts to the upper body to send No. 5 maegashira Toyozakura backpedaling out of the ring. Sekiwake Miyabiyama picked up his seventh win.