Grand champion Kakuryu kept his share of the lead at the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament on Wednesday, defeating rank-and-filer Ichinojo in the day's final bout at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan.
The Mongolian yokozuna, gunning for his second straight championship, sits in a tie with sekiwake Takakeisho and No. 8 maegashira Okinoumi after the fourth day of the 15-day tournament.
The only grand champion remaining in the meet, Kakuryu made quick work of the 224-kilogram Ichinojo, the heaviest man in the top makuuchi division.
(Kakuryu defeats Ichinojo)
Among the two ozeki competing, Goeido remains one win behind the leaders, while Tochinoshin suffered his third loss of the tournament.
A day after suffering his first loss, Goeido (3-1) bounced back to beat No. 1 Hokutofuji (1-3) to stay in contention for his second top division championship.
In the day's penultimate bout, Tochinoshin appeared to have won after resisting komusubi Abi's charge and throwing him down, but the ringside judges overturned the result.
After conferring in the ring, the judges determined Tochinoshin illegally grabbed Abi (3-1) by his topknot while sending him to the ground.
Tochinoshin and Goeido are both competing as demotion-threatened "kadoban" ozeki, and need at least eight wins to keep their place in the sport's second-highest rank for November's tourney in Fukuoka.
Takakeisho, who was demoted to the sport's third-highest rank of sekiwake ahead of the meet, easily collected his fourth straight win in his campaign to regain ozeki status.
(Tochinoshin (R) and Abi)
Following the initial clash, the popular sekiwake chased No. 3 maegashira Tomokaze (2-2) out of the ring to secure the win in 2.6 seconds.
While questions regarding his fitness were raised after he skipped the previous meet with injury, Takakeisho has brushed off those concerns. He needs six more wins to return to ozeki.
In front of a sell-out crowd, sekiwake Mitakeumi beat Bulgarian No. 1 Aoiyama (0-4) to remain one win behind the leading pack. Komusubi Endo also recorded his third win following another strong display against No. 2 Asanoyama (2-2), the May tournament champion.
Among the three rank-and-filers who started the day at 3-0, Azumaryu and Enho both suffered their first losses of the meet.
No. 15 Azumaryu (3-1), making his return to the top division following a long stint in the lower ranks, was unable to react to the strong shoves from No. 17 Takagenji (1-3).
No. 11 Enho (3-1), the division's lightest wrestler at 98 kg, lost to No. 12 Shohozan (2-2) in an action-packed bout that lasted more than a minute.