No. 7 maegashira Takayasu and No. 15 Atamifuji won to secure a winning record after nine days of action at the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament on Monday, chased by No. 16 Tsurugisho with two defeats as they seek their maiden Emperor's Cup.
Takayasu (8-1) had little trouble in forcing out Kotoeko (2-7) after the former ozeki's opening two-handed push and ensuing shoves gave the No. 8 rank-and-filer little breathing space at Ryogoku Kokugikan.
"I'm trying not to rush things or back off, and wrestle in a positive way," Takayasu said of his performance at the 15-day tournament so far.
Atamifuji (8-1) immediately grabbed a shallow belt hold with his left hand and bulldozed No. 10 Kinbozan (5-4) from Kazakhstan in a flash to secure his first winning record in the elite makuuchi division.
"I think I'm charging forward well," said the 21-year-old, who was 4-11 when he made his makuuchi debut in November last year. "I still have six bouts left and will try to give my best each day."
Takayasu and Atamifuji will face each other on Tuesday.
Demotion-threatened "kadoban" ozeki Takakeisho (6-3) edged closer to the eight wins he needs this month to stay at the second-highest rank, overpowering similarly stocky No. 5 Gonoyama (6-3) as he thrust the rank-and-filer off the raised ring.
Another kadoban ozeki Kirishima (6-3) was far from convincing but got the win after chasing around nimble No. 4 Ura (5-4) before pushing him down.
New ozeki Hoshoryu (3-6) lost three in a row for the second time this month as sekiwake Kotonowaka (5-4) produced a late armlock throw while backpedaling at the edge. July's Nagoya meet champion Hoshoryu made a desperate crush-out attempt and was initially declared the winner, but ringside judges intervened and concluded his top of the foot had touched the ground in the process.
Wakamotoharu (6-3) suffered a damaging defeat at the hands of fellow sekiwake Daieisho (5-4), whose fierce opening shoves were followed by a brief spell of counter from Wakamotoharu. Daieisho steadied his position, however, and drove forward again en route to a push-out win.
No. 13 Myogiryu (6-3) was floored by an overarm throw from No. 14 Kotoshoho (3-6), leaving Tsurugisho (7-2) as the only wrestler with two defeats after he sidestepped No. 11 Mitakeumi (5-4) and grappled the former ozeki out from behind.