Joint leaders ozeki Kirishima and No. 8 maegashira Atamifuji both won on Friday at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament, opening up a two-win gap with two days to go at the 15-day meet after their two closest rivals both lost.

Kirishima had to contend with several powerful shoves from Daieisho (8-5), but comfortably stood his ground before the sekiwake slipped, leaving Kirishima, in his third meet at sumo's second-highest rank, with an easy slap-down win at Fukuoka Kokusai Center.

Atamifuji (11-2), meanwhile, overcame a tricky opponent in No. 3 Takayasu (8-5) after the pair tussled without either gaining a belt grip in a busy encounter.

The former ozeki seized the initiative from the start, only for the 21-year-old Atamifuji to repeatedly slip away. Finally, Takayasu tried to swing his opponent by the arm, but lost his grip, staggered backward and was pushed out.

Atamifuji was 4-11 in his makuuchi division debut here last year and headed straight back to second-tier juryo division. Two months ago, however, he went 11-4 in his return to the top flight, only losing the championship to ozeki Takakeisho in a playoff.

After falling to Kirishima a day earlier, sekiwake Kotonowaka (9-4) lost for the second straight day, at the hand of Ryuden (9-4). The No. 10 quickly grabbed a shallow left overarm belt hold and kept his head on Kotonowaka's chest en route to a sound force-out victory.

Ichiyamamoto (9-4) also took a step back in the title chase when No. 5 Midorifuji (9-4) immediately jumped to his left and pulled the No. 14 down to the clay.

Takakeisho (9-4) won his ozeki showdown, thrusting down Hoshoryu (8-5) after exchanging several shoves.

Sekiwake Wakamotoharu and komusubi Hokutofuji both lost and dropped to 4-9, while komusubi Abi improved to 6-7.