Grand champion Kakuryu retained his spotless record with a third-straight win at the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament on Tuesday, while ozeki Goeido suffered his first loss and dropped down the leaderboard.
All the sport's elite in competition at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan prevailed on Day 3 of the 15-day meet with the exception of Goeido, who fell to 6-7 in his rivalry with komusubi Endo.
In the day's last bout, Kakuryu took a few thrusts from No. 1 maegashira Aoiyama but quickly found a gap to slap down the winless Bulgarian.
(Kakuryu (L) and Aoiyama)
The 34-year-old Mongolian, the July champion, is seeking a second-straight title, and will do so without any competition from fellow yokozuna Hakuho, who pulled out on Day 2 with a broken finger.
In earlier bouts, Goeido nearly swung Endo (2-1) around and out, but the komusubi recovered and swapped positions with the ozeki before forcing Goeido out to his first loss.
The other "kadoban" ozeki in danger of losing his rank, Tochinoshin, picked up his first win since May's Summer meet by defeating Hokutofuji. The top-ranked maegashira suffered his second-straight loss since delivering a shock upset to Hakuho on Day 1.
After two false starts, Tochinoshin latched onto his opponent's belt and grappled him around into a stalemate before taking charge and steamrolling Hokutofuji off the raised ring.
Both ozeki need at least eight wins to retain their spot at sumo's second highest rank for November's tourney in Fukuoka.
(Tochinoshin (R) and Hokutofuji)
Takakeisho defeated No. 2 Asanoyama (2-1) to claim a third win in his fight to regain his ozeki status. The sekiwake delivered a massive shove in the initial charge against Asanoyama, then vaulted back while slapping the maegashira down by the arms and back.
In the next bout, sekiwake Mitakeumi (2-1) dodged a slap-down attempt from No. 2 Ichinojo (1-2) and capitalized on the chance to force out the off-balance Mongolian behemoth.
Abi (2-1) emerged the victor in a close brush with No. 3 Daieisho (0-3). The komusubi was taken to the edge by his opponent but managed to slap Daieisho down the moment before his own foot cleared the straw.
Five wrestlers remain perfect after three days of action in the Japanese capital, including No. 8 Okinoumi, division lightweight No. 11 Enho and No. 15 Azumaryu.
Azumaryu sealed his third win of the meet with a push-out victory over No. 16 Yutakayama. The 32-year-old Mongolian is making his return to the top division for the first time in 30 tournaments.
Makuuchi rookie Tsurugisho, fighting in the east No. 14 slot, improved to 2-1 with a win over No. 13 Nishikigi (2-1).
No. 5 Chiyotairyu, former ozeki and current No. 7 Kotoshogiku, No. 11 Onosho and No. 16 Tochiozan all earned their first wins of the tournament.