Unheralded Atamifuji took the outright lead at the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament on Tuesday after winning a head-to-head battle with joint overnight leader Takayasu.

With lone yokozuna Terunofuji out due to injury, and wrestlers from the three distinguished "sanyaku" ranks underperforming, No. 7 maegashira Takayasu and No. 15 Atamifuji faced off in the most anticipated bout of Day 10 at Ryogoku Kokugikan.

No. 15 maegashira Atamifuji (R) defeats No. 7 Takayasu on the 10th day of the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan on Sept. 19, 2023. (Kyodo).

Meeting for the first time, the two front-runners clashed heavily at the opening and traded blows before Atamifuji (9-1) knocked Takayasu (8-2) off balance and pushed him to the clay.

Former ozeki Takayasu, who is aiming for his first Emperor's Cup after several near misses, appeared to land awkwardly and limped off the dohyo.

The 21-year-old Atamifuji, back in the elite makuuchi division for the first time since going 4-11 in his November 2022 debut, is scheduled to face komusubi Tobizaru (5-5) next at the 15-day tournament.

No. 16 Tsurugisho, who started the day alone on the second rung, dropped one spot down the leaderboard at 7-3 with his loss to No. 10 Kinbozan (6-4). He is tied with three other maegashira and demotion-threatened "kadoban" ozeki Takakeisho, now one win away from the eight needed to keep his rank.

Takakeisho slapped No. 4 Ura (5-5) straight to the clay after the agile maegashira came charging in low from the jump. The pair were ordered to re-do their initial bout, which ended with the judges unable to determine a winner after both wrestlers went flying at the edge.

Fellow kadoban ozeki Kirishima was unable to keep pace, dropping to 6-4 after being forced out by new komusubi Nishikigi (5-5).

New ozeki Hoshoryu (4-6) earned a much-needed victory by crushing out sekiwake Wakamotoharu (6-4). The July tournament winner exploded off the mark and tackled his opponent over the straw before he could react.

Sekiwake Kotonowaka and Daieisho both improved to 6-4 with wins against No. 1 Meisei (4-6) and No. 2 Asanoyama (5-5), respectively.

Related coverage:

Sumo: Leaders Takayasu, Atamifuji secure winning record after 9 days

Sumo: Takayasu, Atamifuji retain lead as all three ozeki fall

Sumo: Takakeisho gives up share of lead with loss to Shodai on Day 7