Joint leaders Hakuho and Terunofuji stayed unbeaten Monday at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament, easily handling rank-and-file opponents to preserve a two-win buffer at the head of the pack.

Grand champion Hakuho continued his career dominance over No. 4 maegashira Chiyotairyu, while Terunofuji kept up his bid for yokozuna promotion by downing No. 5 Okinoumi.

Grand champion Hakuho (L) defeats Chiyotairyu on the ninth day of the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament at Dolphins Arena in Nagoya, central Japan, on July 12, 2021. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

The two front-runners have stood head and shoulders above the rest through nine days at Nagoya's Dolphins Arena, and appear to be on a collision course in the battle for the Emperor's Cup.

Hakuho improved to 10-0 for his career against Chiyotairyu, barely breaking a sweat in the final bout of the day.

Having won with a wide range of techniques at the tournament so far, the Mongolian-born great kept it simple on Day 9, quickly forcing Chiyotairyu (2-7) out following a brief exchange of slaps.

Terunofuji, fighting for his third straight title at the 15-day meet, patiently waited for an opening before driving Okinoumi (5-4) over the edge.

Terunofuji (L) beats Okinoumi on the ninth day of the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament at Dolphins Arena in Nagoya, central Japan, on July 12, 2021. (Kyodo)

The ozeki held firm as his opponent attacked from the jump, securing a belt grip that enabled him to execute a quick force out.

Two wrestlers from the bottom half of the draw -- No. 11 Kotonowaka and No. 17 Ichiyamamoto -- occupy the next rung on the leaderboard at 7-2.

Ozeki Shodai fought an ugly but effective battle against new komusubi Meisei (4-5), improving to 5-4 with a push out.

After absorbing Meisei's initial attack, Shodai slung the komusubi off balance and shoved him over the straw.

Sekiwake Takayasu overcame an awkward start on his way to a convincing win over No. 3 Hokutofuji (4-5). The maegashira had the early momentum before Takayasu (5-2-2) neutralized his thrusting attack and slapped him to the clay.

Sekiwake Mitakeumi advanced to 6-3 by blowing away No. 4 Kotoeko (2-7). The two-time Emperor's Cup winner delivered a hard opening hit and kept moving forward for an easy push out.

Komusubi Wakatakakage dropped to 3-6 with a loss to young Mongolian No. 5 Hoshoryu (6-3). The 22-year-old nephew of former yokozuna Asashoryu executed an underarm throw for his first-ever win over Wakatakakage.

No. 1 Daieisho (1-8), winner of the New Year tournament, will finish the 15-day meet with a losing record after falling to No. 2 Takanosho (5-4) in a battle of former sekiwake.

Related coverage:

Sumo: Hakuho, Terunofuji stay perfect at head of field on Day 8

Sumo: Hakuho downs tricky Tobizaru, stays even with unbeaten Terunofuji

Sumo: Front-running Hakuho, Terunofuji remain unbeaten in Nagoya