Tochinoshin remained at the top of the heap with an unbeaten record on Wednesday, the 11th day of the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament.
Tochinoshin remained one win ahead of Hakuho and fellow yokozuna Kakuryu, who survived a scare against komusubi Mitakeumi (7-4) at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan.
Tochinoshin, who is gunning for a second makuuchi division championship and an ozeki promotion, overturned an initial challenge from No. 5 maegashira Kotoshogiku (6-5) to continue the best start of his career.
Kotoshogiku, who entered the match with a 24-7 career record against Tochinoshin, got the better of the initial charge by seizing a left-hand overarm hold.
The Georgian was momentarily pushed back by his opponent before Kotoshogiku withstood Tochinoshin’s attempt to toss him with his right arm. But the sekiwake saw an opening and maneuvered into his favored left-handed belt grip, then slammed the maegashira down with a powerful overarm throw.
On Thursday, Tochinoshin will face Hakuho, whom he has yet to beat in 25 matchups.
Hakuho, who is chasing a record-extending 41st title after withdrawing from this year’s first two basho, easily dispatched No. 4 Shodai (6-5) in Wednesday’s penultimate bout.
Kakuryu made good progress on his opening slap-and-shove assault against Mitakeumi. But the komusubi found a second wind with his back to the straw, countered and nearly drove the yokozuna from the ring.
But Kakuryu’s well-executed retreat forced the youngster to lunge forward off balance. As Kakuryu danced away to one side, he slapped the stumbling Mitakeumi down at the straw bales.
Sekiwake Ichinojo (7-4) earned a quick victory over Chiyotairyu (4-7), when the hefty Mongolian stopped the No. 4 maegashira’s charge and turned him out of the ring by his belt.
Fan-favorite Endo (3-6-2) was pushed to a losing record by top-ranked maegashira Tamawashi (4-7), meaning a likely forfeiture of his recently-gained komusubi status.
Tamawashi stood his ground after the initial clash, then easily forced his opponent out to post an eighth straight win over Endo, who lost to Hakuho upon returning to the ring Tuesday after withdrawing for two bouts due to a right-arm injury.
Among the lower-ranked wrestlers, No. 11 Chiyonokuni (8-3), who was the only wrestler two wins off the pace after Day 10, fell further behind after losing to No. 16 Myogiryu (8-3).
At the bottom of the table, No. 15 Kyokutaisei (8-3) defeated Bulgarian juryo wrestler Gagamaru (2-9) to secure a winning record in his makuuchi-division debut.