In the day's finale, Hakuho wasted no time with Aminishiki (1-2), whose throat grab back fired completely before the yokozuna sent the top-ranked maegashira packing with pulling overarm technique at Ryogoku Kokugikan.
The lone grand champion is trying to become the third man in history to win six consecutive titles. Taiho achieved the feat twice while Asashoryu owns the record with seven straight.
Hakuho saw his winning streak snapped at 63 bouts by Kisenosato at the Kyushu meet in November, leaving him just six shy of Futabayama's all-time record, but the 25-year-old is the odds-on favorite to cart home his 18th career title at the 15-day Tokyo meet.
Estonian man-mountain Baruto (2-1) had no problems with lightweight Yoshikaze, getting his right hand on the back of his winless opponent's mawashi before ushering him out in a matter of seconds.
But it was veteran Kaio (2-1) that once again put on a vintage performance for an enthusiastic crowd, getting a right hand on the mawashi of Georgian Tochinoshin (0-3) before dumping his opponent with an overarm throw.
Harumafuji, who is suffering from a right ankle injury, got his right hand wrapped around Mongolian countryman Kakuryu (0-3) before chasing the Komusubi from the ring in a textbook frontal force out.
Harumafuji, who is the only undefeated ozeki, is facing relegation for the first time after pulling out of the Kyushu meet.
Bulgarian Kotooshu (2-1) toppled Toyonoshima (1-2) over the edge and won a close decision after ringside judges determined that his opponent's heel broke the barrier before the ozeki stepped out himself.
Yokozuna-killer Kisenosato got a left hand inside on Tochiozan (1-2) before breaking out to send the Komusubi fleeing over the ridge with a storm of slaps, pushing his mark to 2-1.
Sumo's ''RoboCop'' Takamisakari was slammed to the dirt on the ring's edge at the hands of Mongolian Hakuba, who deployed a headlock throw to secure his second win. Takamisakari has the same 2-1 mark.
Georgian Kokkai picked up his first win of the meet with a last gasp smack down of Wakakoyu (2-1) while Chinese-born Sokokurai was sent to his first loss against Tochinonada, who improved to 3-0.