Lone ozeki Takakeisho sank to 3-3 with a loss to rank-and-file opponent Mitakeumi at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament on Friday, jeopardizing his bid for a second straight championship and promotion to yokozuna.
Komusubi Daieisho, No. 5 maegashira Midorifuji and No. 7 Takayasu, meanwhile, moved into a three-way tie for the lead by remaining unbeaten on Day 6 at Edion Arena Osaka.
In a battle of current and former ozeki, Takakeisho could not capitalize on the momentum from his strong opening hit and was eventually pushed out by third-ranked maegashira Mitakeumi (3-3).
The longtime rivals, each with three Emperor's Cups, had won 12 of their previous meetings apiece, and it was the lower-ranked Mitakeumi who showed greater endurance this time around, driving the flagging ozeki over the edge as the pair traded upper-body blows.
With lone yokozuna Terunofuji still sidelined following surgery, the 15-day tournament has so far been marked by underwhelming performances from wrestlers among the top ranks.
Struggling sekiwake Wakatakakage (1-5) finally chalked up his first win, staying low and using an outside belt grip to force out No. 2 Ryuden (1-5).
Making his worst start to a tournament as sekiwake, young Mongolian talent Hoshoryu clawed his way to 3-3 by slapping down No. 4 Onosho (4-2).
Sekiwake Kiribayama, touted for a potential ozeki promotion prior to the tournament, looked less than convincing as he improved to 4-2 against No. 3 Nishikigi (1-5).
Former sekiwake Daieisho, who claimed his only top-division title in January 2021, stayed inside the ring just long enough to thrust down fellow komusubi Kotonowaka (4-2), while Midorifuji and former ozeki Takayasu stayed perfect by beating fellow rank-and-file wrestlers.
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