Okinoumi suffered his first loss of the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament on Monday and fell into a two-way tie for the lead with fellow rank-and-filer Meisei.
The No. 8 maegashira saw the longest winning streak of his top-division career come to a sudden end and he also relinquished sole control of the top spot in the race for the title after falling to No. 5 Ryuden (4-5) on Day 9 of the 15-day meet at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan.
The 34-year-old veteran charged out of the gates and nearly forced Ryuden over the straw, but lost his balance after being shoved aside and crashed down to his first defeat.
Okinoumi faces No. 10 Sadanoumi (4-5) on Day 10 in his bid to hoist the Emperor’s Cup for the first time.
The tournament remains wide open with the two yokozuna, Hakuho and Kakuryu, both out of the meet with injuries.
Hakuho was the first to go, pulling out on the second day of the tournament because of a broken finger. Kakuryu followed his fellow yokozuna to the sidelines on Day 8, citing an injury to his left knee. He had been gunning for his second straight top-division title after winning the July tournament in Nagoya.
The other co-leader, No. 10 Meisei (8-1), earned his seventh straight victory and clinched a winning record after defeating No. 7 Kotoshogiku (4-5).
The former ozeki had Meisei on the ropes after a hard initial slam, but the younger maegashira circled around and swung Kotoshogiku down with a beltless arm throw.
Sekiwake Takakeisho, Mitakeumi and No. 2 Asanoyama are providing the nearest competition for the frontrunners, with each trailing by a win after improving to 7-2.
Takakeisho beat No. 4 Tamawashi (5-4) and is now three wins shy of securing a return to sumo’s second-highest rank.
The two wrestlers traded shoves in a power exchange before Takakeisho took control and forced the maegashira off the dohyo.
Mitakeumi outmuscled No. 3 Tomokaze (5-4) to stay in contention for his second top-division title. The sekiwake was initially taken back but stepped on the gas and bulldozed his opponent out.
Asanoyama defeated komusubi Abi (5-4) in a hard-fought match that kicked off the bouts featuring the sport’s elite.
The komusubi put all of his energy into a flurry of shoves and slaps, but Asanoyama, who won his first title in May, remained poised and bounced back several times before eventually taking Abi over the straw to earn the win.
In the final bout of the day, ozeki Goeido wasted little time dispatching No. 4 Shodai (2-7), ramming the rank-and-filer off the raised ring for his sixth win.
Tochinoshin (4-5) also picked up a much-needed win over komusubi Endo (6-3), who fell further off the pace. The Georgian ozeki immediately stepped to the side and delivered a right-handed slap to claim an easy victory with the controversial technique.
Both ozeki require eight wins here to keep their rank and avoid demotion to sekiwake.