Grand champion Hakuho edged one step closer to his first top division title of the year and a record-extending 41st career championship after beating Tochinoshin on Thursday, the 12th day of the 15-day Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament.
Hakuho extended his undefeated run at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan to 12 straight days, making quick work once again of ozeki Tochinoshin (7-5).
The Mongolian yokozuna slipped his right arm underneath Tochinoshin's left armpit and coolly threw the powerful Georgian down to the clay. He now has a two-win lead going into Day 13.
Hakuho, who has won a record 40 top division championships, has missed all or part of three grand tournaments this year due to injury but has displayed his usual top form here.
Tochinoshin has beaten Hakuho only once in 27 career matchups. After 25 consecutive losses against the yokozuna, the Georgian defeated Hakuho en route to a 13-2 finish at the May tournament, resulting in his promotion to sumo's second-highest rank.
Fighting as a demotion-threatened "kadoban" ozeki, Tochinoshin still needs one more win to avoid demotion and maintain his status at the next grand sumo tournament.
Grand champion Kakuryu (10-2) suffered another upset, this time at the hands of Takayasu (10-2). The ozeki got an outside grip on Kakuryu's belt and swung the yokozuna around and down for his second straight loss.
In the day's final bout, Kisenosato (9-3) bounced back after a Day 11 upset with a hard-fought win against Mitakeumi (6-6).
(Kisenosato bounces back after a Day 11 upset)
The Japanese yokozuna was swung around the ring by Mitakeumi but kept his equilibrium, wearing out his opponent in the process. Kisenosato eventually gained control over the exhausted sekiwake and muscled him over the straw.
Five straight losses have dashed Mitakeumi's hopes for a second straight makuuchi division championship and possible ozeki promotion.
Goeido (10-2) defeated No. 4 Abi (6-6) to join Kakuryu and Takayasu as the only wrestlers two wins behind Hakuho. The ozeki struggled to get Abi out of the ring, but capitalized on an opportunity for a slap-down instead.
The two heaviest men in the division, sekiwake Ichinojo (5-7) and top-ranked maegeshira Kaisei (5-7), engaged in a battle of bulk in their attempts to put together a winning record by Day 15.
Ichinojo, heavier by 20 kilograms, secured a solid belt hold and put his lighter Brazilian opponent on the back foot, then stepped to the side to deploy a winning overarm throw.
Takakeisho thrust out No. 3 Shodai (5-7) to even his record at 6-6, while fellow komusubi Tamawashi (3-9) was quickly pulled down by No. 2 Chiyotairyu (4-8).
No. 5 Myogiryu and No. 15 Yoshikaze each earned winning records with Day 12 victories.
No. 13 Takanoiwa (9-3), the only rank-and-filer to start the day two wins off the pace, ended a seven-match winning streak after losing to No. 7 Shohozan (6-6).
Takanoiwa returned to the top division after claiming his second juryo division championship at the July meet in Nagoya.
The Takanohana stable wrestler had been demoted after missing two tournaments due to head injuries sustained in an after-hours assault by fellow Mongolian Harumafuji last October, prompting the yokozuna's retirement.