Mitakeumi, Takakeisho and Asanoyama earned impressive victories Tuesday to move into a five-way tie for the lead at the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament.
The logjam at the top of the standings at Ryogoku Kokugikan follows losses on Day 10 by the joint overnight leaders, No. 8 maegashira Okinoumi and No. 10 Meisei.
With both yokozuna and one ozeki out injured, the race for the Emperor’s Cup appears wide open at the 15-day tournament.
Sekiwake Mitakeumi, winner of last year’s Nagoya tournament, joined the leaders at 8-2 by defeating No. 4 Tamawashi.
After an exchange of hard shoves, Tamawashi forced Mitakeumi to backpedal, but the sekiwake slipped to the side and slammed his advancing opponent to the clay.
Mitakeumi was awarded the victory after the judges confirmed he did not illegally grab Tamawashi’s topknot while slapping him down.
“I thought maybe I stepped out. I didn’t know it was about the topknot,” Mitakeumi said. “I want to step up to ozeki. I’m moving forward, I’m in good shape, and I just want to rack up more wins.”
Sekiwake Takakeisho, who is aiming for promotion straight back to ozeki with 10 wins, moved closer to the target by blowing away No. 4 Shodai (2-8).
Showing no signs of the knee injury that kept him out of the Nagoya Grand Tournament, Takakeisho had all the momentum as he quickly pushed Shodai down.
No. 2 Asanoyama, the winner of the May tournament, moved closer to a second top-level title with a dominant performance against No. 6 Shimanoumi (3-7).
Taking a strong right-hand grip from the jump, Asanoyama used his left hand to quickly push Shimanoumi to the edge and out.
Injury-hampered Tochinoshin (5-5), fighting as a relegation-threatened kadoban ozeki, beat No. 5 Chiyotairyu.
Following a strong charge, Tochinoshin wrapped up Chiyotairyu (2-8) and set his feet. After several seconds locked in the center of the ring, the big Georgian gritted his teeth and drove the maegashira back and out.
Fellow kadoban ozeki Goeido dropped to 6-4 with an upset loss to komusubi Abi (6-4). Using his long reach, Abi kept the ozeki at arm’s length and pushed his way to a convincing win.
Kadoban ozeki must win at least eight matches to avoid relegation to the third-highest rank, sekiwake.
After making it through the first week undefeated, Okinoumi lost for the second straight day to drop to 8-2.
The maegashira was outmuscled on Day 10 by No. 10 Sadanoumi (5-5), who took a strong grip at the opening and quickly powered his way to victory by front crush-out.
Meisei dropped back to the pack with a loss against No. 14 Tsurugisho (7-3), who advanced to within one win of the lead in his makuuchi division debut.
After initiating a throw, Meisei succumbed to a counter and was first to hit the deck as both men tumbled.
Also one win back is No. 8 Takarafuji, who improved to 7-3 by pushing out No. 12 Shohozan (6-4).
Komusubi Endo (6-4) was overwhelmed by No. 1 Hokutofuji (4-6). After denying Endo a belt grip, the maegashira knocked his higher-ranked opponent off balance and pushed him out.