Sekiwake Hoshoryu came bursting out of the face-off and got a double inside grip before using a frontal force-out to dispatch 38-year-old veteran Tamawashi, a No. 2 maegashira who dropped to 1-3.
Hoshoryu, the nephew of former grand champion Asashoryu, has looked very confident in his first four bouts as he bids for his first Emperor's Cup.
There is a long way to go but Hoshoryu, who has bulked up for the 15-day meet at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan, looks like a man on a mission. He will face top maegashira Daieisho on Day 5.
Hoshoryu won the Technique Prize in the November tournament with an 11-4 record. The Tatsunami stable wrestler now shares the New Year Basho lead at 4-0 with No. 3 maegashira Abi and three rank-and-filers.
Sekiwake Shodai, who needs 10 wins to regain ozeki status, dropped to 1-3.
Takakeisho Raises Record to 3-1
In the day's final bout, ozeki Takakeisho, the highest-ranked wrestler in the tournament, used his powerful arm thrusts to attack Mitakeumi and improve to 3-1. No. 2 maegashira Mitakeumi, a former ozeki, dropped to 2-2.
Three lower-ranked wrestlers also posted wins on Day 4 to stay atop the leaderboard.
Onosho (left) clashes with Endo on Day 4. (ⒸSANKEI)
Daieisho Outmuscles Wakatakakage
In other major bouts, Daieisho used a powerful shove to the neck at the face-off to force Wakatakakage out with a frontal charge to stay one win off the pace at 3-1. Sekiwake Wakatakakage, who put up little resistance, fell to 2-2.
In a showdown of winless komusubi wrestlers, Wakamotoharu used a backward pivot throw at the edge to dispatch Meisei. But the ringside judges determined the match was a draw and called for a do-over.
In the rematch, Wakamotoharu wasted little time, using several powerful arm thrusts to the upper body to shove out Meisei (0-4) and improve to 1-3.
Author: Jim Armstrong
The author is a longtime journalist who has covered sports in Japan for over 25 years. You can find his articles here.
New Year Basho Tournament Records