Lone ozeki Takakeisho regained a share of the lead Friday at the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament with a hard-fought victory over front-runner Onosho.
Takakeisho will enter the final weekend of the 15-day meet tied at 10-3 with the No. 8 maegashira as well as No. 13 Kotoshoho after continuing his head-to-head dominance of the overnight leader on Day 13 at Ryogoku Kokugikan.
Following consecutive losses that threatened his title bid, the two-time Emperor's Cup winner made a stronger start against Onosho, trading upper body blows and getting his nose bloodied before pushing the former komusubi off the dohyo.
The highest-ranked wrestler in the absence of yokozuna Terunofuji, Takakeisho improved to 12-3 for his career against Onosho in the top division, including victories in their past seven meetings.
Kotoshoho won a frenetic battle against November grand tournament winner Abi (7-6), pushing and shoving the No. 3 before thrusting him to the sandy surface.
Former ozeki Shodai, demoted to sekiwake after November's meet, dropped to 6-7 with a force-out loss to No. 5 Ryuden (8-5). He now must win both of his remaining bouts to stay at sumo's third-highest rank.
Wakatakakage won his highly anticipated battle with fellow sekiwake Hoshoryu, staying low and executing a beltless arm throw to earn a victory that left both men at 7-6.
A day after taking down Takakeisho, Mongolian komusubi Kiribayama (9-4) stayed one win back of the leaders and strengthened his case for promotion by crushing out talented No. 3 Midorifuji (6-7).
Komusubi Wakamotoharu (7-6) closed to within one bout of a winning record in his first tournament among the distinguished "sanyaku" ranks by forcing out No. 6 Hokutofuji (7-6).
Another sanyaku debutant, komusubi Kotonowaka (6-7) kept alive his bid for a winning record with a slap-down victory over No. 2 Tamawashi (8-5).