Promotion-chasing sekiwake Kotonowaka claimed the outright lead Tuesday, the 10th day of the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament, moving ahead of his five closest rivals by a single win.

Kotonowaka (9-1) cruised in his highly-anticipated bout against top-tier makuuchi-division debutant and fellow joint overnight leader Onosato (8-2), helped by the No. 15 maegashira's tepid opening charge and failure to make use of his big frame at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan.

A powerful drive from Kotonowaka met little resistance in a force-out win as the sekiwake inched toward ozeki promotion.