Sekiwake Tochinoshin survived a trial of endurance on Friday to remain in a tie with yokozuna Kakuryu after both men collected wins on Day 6 of the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament.
The Georgian was put to the test for over a minute at Ryogoku Kokugikan and prevailed in a nail-biter against fellow sekiwake Ichinojo (2-4) to remain on track to reach the 10-win mark needed to regain ozeki status.
After regaining his ground against the Mongolian, who had gotten the better of their first crash, Tochinoshin strong-armed Ichinojo to the edge while trying to remain centered in the ring.
The 31-year-old nearly exhausted his resources trying to lift out the 227-kg fighter, but Tochinoshin had enough left in the tank for one final nudge as Ichinojo broke down.
In the day’s final bout, yokozuna Kakuryu retained his spotless record after a close brush with No. 2 maegashira Daieisho (3-3). Kakuryu allowed himself to be taken back to the straw while connecting for a last-ditch, slap-down win.
In earlier bouts, No. 8 Asanoyama relinquished his share of the lead as his five-day undefeated run ended, while troubles continued to plague struggling ozeki Goeido and Takayasu.
Goeido suffered his second straight loss and fell to 3-3 after being brought down by No. 3 Chiyotairyu (2-4). Goeido went for an inside edge against the maegashira but was pulled down as Chiyotairyu capitalized on a rare opening.
Takayasu was also handed a third loss, at the hands of No. 3 Tamawashi. The ozeki was put upright by his foe at the outset and was unable to gain ground against an onslaught of pushes and shoves as Tamawashi also evened his record at 3-3.
In other bouts, Mitakeumi got the better of his initial clash with No. 1 Kotoshogiku (2-4) and improved to 4-2. The former ozeki tried to rally against the komusubi but was consistently denied a belt hold while being gradually forced from the ring.
Returning komusubi Aoiyama (1-6) was quickly pushed out with little fanfare to his fifth straight loss by No. 1 Hokutofuji (2-4).
Asanoyama, the only rank-and-filer to begin Thursday with a perfect record, took a heavy hit from No. 10 Onosho (3-3) and was shoved out to his first loss.
Makuuchi-division debutant Enho, the west No. 14 maegashira, is the only other wrestler at 5-1 after turning the tables on No. 12 Yago (3-3), who is marking his third tournament in the top tier.