Hakuho (12-1), the lone yokozuna competing at the 15-day meet, twice came close to tasting defeat. After the initial charge, Hakuho tried to shove his opponent out of the ring, but Takarafuji dodged and the yokozuna was barely able to put on the brakes before stepping out at Fukuoka Kokusai Center.

The yokozuna spun around in the nick of time to face his opponent, but the No. 5 maegashira was able to get a hand on the back of Hakuho's belt and thrust him across the ring. But the Mongolian somehow kept his feet and Takarafuji failed to pursue quickly enough to shove him out. Sensing the urgency, Takarafuji sacrificed balance for speed, but as he rushed forward Hakuho easily slapped him down to his sixth loss.

The yokozuna walked away with a wry smile, acknowledging his close shave. Hakuho is gunning for his record-extending 40th championship, and his first since the July tourney in Nagoya. He missed the entire Autumn meet due to pain in his ankle.

No. 12 maegashira Okinoumi and his Hakkaku stablemate Hokutofuji maintained their winning ways to stay one win back of the yokozuna with 11-2 records.

Okinoumi drew a huge cheer from the crowd with his win over No. 6 Tochinoshin (7-6). Tochinoshin was in command, with both hands on his opponent's belt and steering him toward the edge. But the Georgian failed to finish as well as he started, and Okinoumi calmly staved off defeat with a slick underarm throw at ring's edge.

Meanwhile, No. 3 Hokutofuji charged Yoshikaze (6-7) out of the ring in their sixth career encounter, earning his fifth straight win and improving his career record against the sekiwake to 4-2.

Goeido (8-5) secured a winning record by default after fellow ozeki Takayasu (8-5) pulled out of the tournament due to thigh injury. The gift win saw the ozeki snap a three-match losing streak.

Takayasu, who was fighting as a demotion-threatened "kadoban" ozeki, picked up his eighth win on Wednesday to ensure his place in sumo's second-highest rank.

Kyushu Basho: Day 13 Makuuchi Results