No. 2 maegashira Kotonowaka took ozeki's scalp for the third consecutive day Tuesday, maintaining his perfect record at the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament by edging out Mitakeumi by the narrowest of margins.
Kotonowaka, who beat Takakeisho and Shodai to open the meet, has no losses so far alongside four other rank-and-filers as high-ranked wrestlers continue to falter at Ryogoku Kokugikan.
Kotonowaka was second-best against Mitakeumi, who charged low and drove forward bullishly. Kotonowaka's late thrust-down at the edge toppled Mitakeumi, with the ozeki's hand and Kotonowaka's foot appearing to land outside the ring simultaneously.
Kotonowaka was eventually named the winner after a long discussion by the ringside judges, overruling the referee's original call that handed the win to Mitakeumi. The judges could have also called for a replay of the bout.
"I was left in a tight spot, and it came right at the edge," Kotonowaka said of his desperate attempt. "I'm happy (to beat three ozeki). My body is moving well."
Lone yokozuna Terunofuji (2-1), who will face Kotonowaka on Wednesday, won for the second straight day after keeping No. 2 Kiribayama (1-2) at bay.
The grand champion, back after pulling out early from the Spring meet in March with knee issues, reeled off a right arm-lock throw to swivel Kiribayama before flooring him with a deft twisting backward knee trip.
The three ozeki's difficult start continued, as they all lost on the day, with Shodai remaining winless after haplessly getting shoved out by komusubi Daieisho (2-1).
Shodai was initially equal to the powerful shoves from Daieisho but soon found himself on the back foot and showed little resistance as he was ousted.
It is another slow start to a meet for Shodai, who began the March meet going 1-5 before rallying back to secure a winning record to retain his status at the second-highest rank.
Takakeisho (1-2) lost after trading shoves with No. 1 Takayasu (1-2), pushed down to the sandy surface at the edge by the former ozeki, who missed out on his first Emperor's Cup in March with a playoff defeat to Wakatakakage.
Sekiwake Wakatakakage (2-1) was calm against No. 4 Endo (1-2), forcing the rank-and-filer to the edge before flooring him with a left pulling overarm throw.
Sekiwake Abi (2-1) looked like he was heading for a one-sided defeat but somehow turned the tables against No. 4 Takanosho (1-2).
Abi, who went 12-3 in the November and January meets, dug himself into a hole as his half-hearted pull-down attempt left Takanosho with more momentum to charge forward. But a thrust-down at the edge was enough to outfox his rival and salvage a win.
Komusubi Hoshoryu (2-1) was on the receiving end of shoves from No. 3 Hokutofuji (0-3), but the nephew of former Mongolian grand champion Asashoryu had the calmness to also win by a thrust-down.
No. 3 Tamawashi, No. 5 Tobizaru, No. 11 Aoiyama and No. 15 Ichiyamamoto all won to join Kotonowaka at 3-0.