Top-division debutant Takerufuji maintained the outright lead Sunday at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament with an impressive victory over former komusubi Ryuden.

Fighting as a No. 17 maegashira, the 24-year-old from the Isegahama stable became the first wrestler to secure a winning record by improving to 8-0 at Edion Arena Osaka.

He holds a one-win lead over No. 5 maegashira Onosato (7-1) who defeated veteran No. 7 Tamawashi (2-6) on Day 8.

Takerufuji, winner of January's second-tier jūryо̄ championship, showed strength and composure as he went toe-to-toe with No. 13 maegashira Ryuden before pushing him over the straw bales.

"My aim here is to go into the ring for 15 days and it's not really about winning or losing. I believe I managed to wrestle in my style," Takerufuji said. "I'm always determined not to lose the mental battle."

Among the ozeki, Hoshoryu, Takakeisho and Kotonowaka all improved to 6-2, but the struggles continued for Kirishima, who dropped to 2-6. The 27-year-old Mongolian grappler looked out of sorts as he failed to secure a belt grip and was forced out by No. 4 Tobizaru (5-3).

Takakeisho, fighting as a demotion-threatened "kadoban" ozeki, moved closer to the eight wins needed to keep his rank by pushing out No. 3 Oho (3-5), while Hoshoryu had to dig in his heels before shoving No. 3 Takanosho (3-5) over the edge.

Newly promoted Kotonowaka showed his aptitude for pushing and thrusting as he ushered out sekiwake Wakamotoharu (5-3) with a flurry of blows.

The 15-day tournament is taking place without a yokozuna following the withdrawal of Terunofuji (2-5-1) on Day 7 due to lower back pain and other health issues.