Overnight leader Midorifuji took his second straight loss of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament on Thursday, dropping back into a two-way tie in the title race with komusubi Daieisho at 10-2.
Unbeaten through the first 10 days at Edion Arena Osaka, No. 5 maegashira Midorifuji suffered a consecutive defeat courtesy of sekiwake Wakatakakage (6-6) on Day 12.
The two fast-moving grapplers jostled around the ring in a frenetic battle that ended when Wakatakakage toppled the rank-and-filer with a pulling overarm throw.
Daieisho, who won his sole Emperor's Cup in January 2021, barely broke a sweat as he thrust out No. 7 Hokutofuji (7-5).
Sekiwake Kiribayama and a pair of komusubi, Wakamotoharu and Kotonowaka, share the second rung of the leaderboard after improving to 9-3.
In one of the day's highlight bouts, Kiribayama won a grueling contest against fellow Mongolian sekiwake Hoshoryu (8-4) with an overarm throw.
With yokozuna Terunofuji and ozeki Takakeisho both missing due to injury, the 15-day grand tournament is the first since the start of Japan's Showa era in 1926 to take place without wrestlers from sumo's top two ranks.
Sumo: Midorifuji sees lead shrink following 1st loss in Osaka
Sumo: Ozeki Takakeisho withdraws from Spring Tournament
Sumo: Sole yokozuna Terunofuji to skip Osaka tournament