Young rank-and-filer Atamifuji retained a share of the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament lead with a sensational win against ozeki Hoshoryu on Thursday.
The No. 8 maegashira — who made a surprise title run from the bottom half of the draw in September — shares the top rung at 10-2 with ozeki Kirishima, who defeated sekiwake Kotonowaka in another highlight bout of Day 12 at Fukuoka Kokusai Center.
Hoshoryu's fourth loss knocked him off the leaderboard. He initially blasted Atamifuji backward, but the maegashira turned things around with a thrust down at the edge.
The 21-year-old Atamifuji said he was not dwelling too much on the September meet, when he tied for the best record at 11-4 before losing the championship playoff to ozeki Takakeisho.
"I'm just concentrating on this tournament. I won't get too carried away now," he said. "That was then. Maybe the experience will help me."
Kirishima briefly held the outright lead after overpowering joint overnight leader Kotonowaka (9-3). With both wrestlers looking for a belt hold, it was the Mongolian who secured a strong grip and used it to force his heavier opponent over the straw bales.
Takakeisho improved to 8-4 by pushing out sekiwake Wakamotoharu (4-8) and consigning him to a losing record for the 15-day tournament.
Sekiwake Daieisho clinched a winning record at 8-4 by thrusting down No. 5 Midorifuji (8-4). Komusubi Abi (5-7) preserved his hopes of a winning record by slipping to the side and thrusting down No. 2 Meisei (3-9).
No. 14 Ichiyamamoto, who relinquished a share of the lead the previous day, also stayed one win back at 9-3 by forcing out No. 4 Nishikigi (6-6).