Ozeki Goeido capitalized on a slip-up by his closest rival to move two wins clear at the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament on Wednesday.
After Chiyotairyu crashed to a third defeat, Goeido (10-1) took full advantage in the day’s penultimate bout, getting both hands on the front of Mitakeumi’s (5-6) belt and surging forward to force him over the straw bales.
Goeido, who won his first career title with a 15-0 mark at this tournament last year, looks like a good bet to take home the championship hardware in the absence of a number of top wrestlers.
The field has been weakened following the withdrawal of three yokozuna, Hakuho, Kakuryu and Kisenosato, and two ozeki, Takayasu and Terunofuji.
Komusubi Tamawashi (5-6) outgrappled Chiyotairyu and bundled the third-ranked maegashira out of the ring. Chiyotairyu shares second place with Asanoyama and Takanoiwa at 8-3.
Asanoyama, a No. 16 maegashira, kicked off the day’s action in the top flight by shoving out 13th-ranked Kaisei (6-5), securing a majority of wins in his debut in the makuuchi division in the process.
Ninth-ranked Takanoiwa slapped down 12th-ranked Daishomaru (7-4), but ninth-ranked Mongolian maegashira Arawashi fell a further win off the pace, dropping to 7-4 after getting forced out by 14th-ranked Endo (7-4).
In the day’s finale, lone yokozuna Harumafuji (7-4) took out sixth-ranked maegashira and fellow Mongolian Ichinojo (6-5) with pulling overarm throw.