Takayasu maintained his outright lead at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament, improving to 9-0 by outmuscling fellow rank-and-file grappler Aoiyama on Monday.

Ozeki Mitakeumi, sekiwake Wakatakakage and No. 6 maegashira Kotonowaka remained one win off the pace, securing winning records at 8-1 on Day 9 of the 15-day tournament.

With the sport's sole yokozuna, Terunofuji, pulling out Friday due to multiple leg injuries, the title race appears wide open at Edion Arena Osaka.