Sekiwake Kotonowaka remained among the leaders after the 11th day of the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament with a win over Takakeisho on Wednesday that seriously damaged the ozeki's hopes of promotion to sumo's highest rank of yokozuna.
The sekiwake improved to 9-2, leaving him in a three-way tie with ozeki Kirishima and No. 8 maegashira Atamifuji at Fukuoka Kokusai Center.
Takakeisho (7-4) had no answer when he failed to wrap up Kotonowaka's arms on the opening charge. This allowed the sekiwake to shove Takakeisho to one side, get behind him and push him out.
The ozeki won September's grand tournament in a playoff with Atamifuji after both finished at 11-4, but another 11-4 record would hardly set him up for promotion.
Kirishima locked up the arms of sekiwake Wakamotoharu (4-7), forcing him to the straw bales and over after a brief struggle, while Atamifuji had little trouble bundling out makuuchi debutant No. 15 Churanoumi (7-4).
No. 14 Ichiyamamoto (8-3) dropped out of the leading group when sekiwake Daieisho (7-4) forced the maegashira's upper body upward with his charge before pulling him down off balance to the sandy surface.
Ozeki Hoshoryu (8-3) secured a winning record for the tournament by throwing No. 1 Asanoyama (1-3-7), all but ensuring the former ozeki will drop a rung or two in the rankings ahead of the next grand sumo tournament in January.