The countdown to another impressive milestone continued for Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho on Friday as the co-leader made short work of Hokutofuji to preserve his unbeaten start at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament.
On a day when injury-hit Kisenosato became the second grand champion and fourth wrestler in the top makuuchi division to withdraw from the tournament, Hakuho produced another classy performance in his first meeting with Hokutofuji.
The yokozuna soaked up a head charge from Hokutofuji (3-3) and disarmed the No. 2 maegashira before scoring an "okuridashi" rear push out win that keeps him tied with No. 8 maegashira Aoiyama at 6-0 at the 15-day tourney.
The result saw Hakuho, the sport's most successful wrestler with a record 38 career titles, move within five wins of former ozeki Kaio's record of winning 1,047 bouts.
Bulgarian-born Aoiyama pummeled seventh-ranked Takanoiwa (0-6) with a flurry of thrusts to the face and yanked him down by the back of the neck to keep his share of the lead.
Yokozuna Kisenosato and ozeki Terunofuji both pulled out earlier in the day and forfeited their respective sixth-day bouts against komusubi Kotoshogiku (2-4) and top-ranked maegashira Shodai (2-4).
The 31-year-old Kisenosato, who has been competing despite a slowed recovery from an upper arm injury, injured his left ankle while losing to third-ranked maegashira Ikioi on Thursday.
It is the second straight tournament that the grand champion from the Tagonoura stable has been forced to withdraw from.
Terunofuji suffered a left-knee injury and he will have to compete in the Autumn meet as a demotion-threatened "kadoban" ozeki if he misses the remainder of the Nagoya basho.
Mongolian yokozuna Kakuryu pulled out of the Nagoya meet on Wednesday with a right-foot injury and popular maegashira Endo withdrew with a left-ankle problem on Thursday.
In Friday's other bouts, Takayasu (5-1) outlasted Georgian No. 2 maegashira Tochinoshin (2-4) in an epic tussle to score his fifth straight win after losing on opening day on his debut at sumo's second rank of ozeki.
But fellow ozeki Goeido was sent to his third defeat when he got thrust down by sekiwake Tamawashi, who improved to 4-2
Yokozuna Harumafuji (4-2) wrapped up the day's action at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium by ramming out third-ranked maegashira Ikioi (1-5).