Former ozeki Takayasu and new sekiwake Wakatakakage each defeated a title rival to remain tied for the lead as the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament championship chase reached a fever pitch on Thursday, the 12th day of the 15-day meet.

Currently a No. 7 maegashira, Takayasu (11-1) outfought new ozeki Mitakeumi (9-3) in a battle for belt holds before forcing him out to his third loss.

A day after suffering his first loss at Edion Arena Osaka, Takayasu was solid from the get-go with a left-overarm hold. Mitakeumi, January's champion, vacillated between aggressively going for a belt hold of his own and fighting off his opponent's.