With two grand champions -- Kisenosato and Kakuryu -- having already pulled out, Hakuho remained sturdy as an oak, improving to 7-0 as he batted down Ikioi (1-6) for his 1,043rd career victory. Hakuho is now four shy of former ozeki Kaio's all-time record for matches won.

Hakuho is also two wins away from catching the late Chiyonofuji, who is second on the list. On Sunday, Hakuho will fight No. 4 maegashira Ura (5-2) in their first career matchup.

Hakuho shares the penthouse view with eighth-ranked Aoiyama (7-0), who shoved out sixth-ranked Ichinojo and will face No. 4 maegashira Onosho (5-2) on Sunday.

The other yokozuna remaining at the meet, Harumafuji (5-2), was made to work for his win against komusubi Kotoshogiku (2-5), who owns a 32-29 career record against the Mongolian.

Kotoshogiku looked like he was bound for another victory over Harumafuji, forcing him to the edge of the ring. But Haruamfuji hung on, and turned on Kotoshogiku to send his the former ozeki toppling off the mound.

Ozeki Takayasu rolled to his sixth straight win after losing on opening day, slamming down top-ranked Shodai (2-5) to stay within touching distance of the leaders.

The other ozeki left in the field, Goeido (4-3), defeated No. 1 Takakeisho, who has won just once at the meet.