Front runner Midorifuji suffered his first defeat of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament against komusubi Wakamotoharu on Wednesday, leaving him with a one-win buffer at the top of the leaderboard.
Chasing his maiden top-division title, the No. 5 maegashira from Shizuoka Prefecture dropped to 10-1 with the front push-down loss to the 8-3 Wakamotoharu on Day 11 at Edion Arena Osaka.
Forced onto the back foot, Midorifuji tried to counter with a swing-down maneuver but was sent tumbling by the komusubi, who racked up his all-important eighth win of the 15-day meet.
"I didn't really think about my opponent's record and just stayed focused on myself," said Wakamotoharu, who went 9-6 in his debut among the distinguished "sanyaku" ranks in January.
"My wrestling felt better at the January tournament, but I've been able to move forward doing my own sumo."
Komusubi Daieisho stayed one win off the pace at 9-2 after a tough battle with No. 7 Takayasu (7-4). The winner of a single Emperor's Cup fought his way back from the edge to push out former ozeki Takayasu.
The highest-ranked competitors in the absence of lone yokozuna Terunofuji and sole ozeki Takakeisho, sekiwake Hoshoryu, Kiribayama and Wakatakakage all notched wins on Day 11.
Rising star Hoshoryu clinched a winning record at 8-3 by flinging No. 6 Endo (8-3) to the clay, while new sekiwake Kiribayama also earned a crucial eighth victory by slapping down No. 4 Meisei (4-7).
Wakamotoharu's younger brother Wakatakakage (5-6) continued clawing his way back from a nightmare 0-5 start by pushing out komusubi Tobizaru (4-7).
Sumo: Midorifuji beats Tobizaru, keeps outright lead in Osaka
Sumo: Ozeki Takakeisho withdraws from Spring Tournament
Sumo: Sole yokozuna Terunofuji to skip Osaka tournament