OSAKA, Japan - Mongolian grand champion Hakuho posted a hard-fought win over Estonian Baruto on Sunday to share the lead with compatriot Asashoryu at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament.
In the day's final bout at Osaka Municipal Gymnasium, Hakuho had his hands full with sekiwake Baruto, who locked arms with the grand champion before eventually being shoved out over the edge.
Hakuho, who is bidding for his 10th Emperor's Cup, improved to 8-0 while Baruto fell to 3-5.
In the previous bout, Asashoryu swatted down No. 3 maegashira Miyabiyama with ease to improve to a perfect 8-0.
Asashoryu and Hakuho met in the final of the New Year tournament, which Asashoryu won, and look destined to do so again in the Spring meet.
Asashoryu is seeking his 24th title.
Ozeki wrestlers Kaio and Kotomitsuki are two wins off the pace.
Kotomitsuki shoved out fellow ozeki Kaio to give both wrestlers a record of 6-2.
Ozeki Chiyotaikai put a halt to a three-match losing streak when he used his trademark arm thrusts to send sekiwake Kisenosato over the edge.
Chiyotaikai improved to 2-6 while Kisenosato fell to 3-5.
No. 3 maegashira Tokitenku dealt a serious blow to Kotooshu's title hopes when he handed the Bulgarian ozeki his third loss of the tournament.
Tokitenku picked up his third win against five losses while Kotooshu, who was coming off three straight wins, dropped to 5-3.
Ozeki Harumafuji was also handed a third loss when he was forced out by top maegashira Kakuryu, who improved to 3-5.