Ippo Makunouchi Wiki, Height, Age, Girlfriend, Family, Biography & More

Makunouchi Ippo

Ippo Makunouchi (幕之内一歩, Makunouchi Ippo) is a Japanese fictional character, a retired pro boxer who fought in the Featherweight category, and the owner of the Makunouchi Fishing Boat rentals, from the famous anime and manga series, Hajime no Ippo (Fighting Spirit), written and illustrated by Japanese Manga author, George Morikawa and published by Kodansha. He was the former featherweight Champion, the “unofficial champion” of the OPBF, and the reigning champion in the JBC Featherweight Championship.

Wiki/Biography

Ippo Makunouchi was born on Friday, 23 November 1973 (age 26 years old; as of 2023 in Manga edition) in Tokyo, Japan. His zodiac sign is Sagittarius and his blood type is O.

Ippo during his childhood

Ippo during his childhood

Ippo’s dad died when Ippo was very young because of a boat accident during a storm. Ippo used to wait by the sea every day, hoping his dad would come back. His dad had promised to always be with Ippo and his mother. Ippo found his dad’s cap and felt his dad kept his promise. After his dad’s death, Ippo helped his mother with their fishing business. In school, if something bad happened, he’d tell his mother he was okay, even if he wasn’t.  He was a student at Shiritsu Zōshirushi High School. One day he was bullied by Masahiko Umezawa, one of his classmates, along with his friends. Mamoru Takamura, a boxer, saved Ippo and scared the bullies away. Takamura then took Ippo to the Kamogawa gym to help him recover. There, Takamura asked Ippo to hit a bag with Umezawa’s face drawn on it. Ippo hit it so hard that his hand skin peeled. Takamura saw Ippo’s strong body and told him to stand up to the bullies. When Ippo was leaving, Takamura gave him a video of Mike Tyson’s best fights.

Ippo got bullied by other students

Ippo got bullied by other students

After watching the videos, Ippo wanted to be a boxer and asked Takamura to train him. Takamura didn’t believe Ippo could do it. He gave Ippo a challenge to catch ten falling leaves with his boxing jabs in one week. It was hard, but Ippo did it on the last day using one hand. This impressed Takamura, who then agreed to train him.

Ippo practicing leaf catches

Ippo practising leaf catches

Physical Appearance

Height (approx.): 5′ 5″

Weight (approx.): 57 kg

Hairstyle: Spiky

Hair Colour: Black

Eye Colour: Brown

Gender: Male

Ippo's appearance

Family

Parents & Sibling

Ippo’s father was Kazuo Makunouchi, who founded the Makunouchi Fishing Boat. On a fishing trip, a storm hit and the ship started to sink. Sakuma, a crew member, got trapped under something heavy. Sakuma told Kazuo to go and save himself, but Kazuo helped him. He lifted the heavy thing and got Sakuma to a safe boat. But this meant Kazuo was left on the sinking ship. People looked for Kazuo for weeks but couldn’t find him. They said he was dead. Later, Ippo found Kazuo’s hat near the water. Ippo thought this meant Kazuo kept his promise to come back.

Ippo and his father

Ippo and his father

Ippo’s mother is Hiroko Makunouchi, Makunouchi Fishing Boat is owned and operated by Makunouchi. She is a kind and hardworking woman. After the tragic death of her husband at sea, she single-handedly raised Ippo and managed the family fishing boat business. She’s always been supportive and caring towards Ippo, even when he decided to pursue a career in boxing. Her strength and dedication greatly influence Ippo’s determination and values in his boxing journey. Her resilience and unconditional love make her a pillar of strength in Ippo’s life.

Ippo looking at his mother

Ippo looking at his mother

Ippo has no siblings and is the only child of the family.

Love Interest- Girlfriend

Ippo has liked Kumi since the Rookie Kings. He first saw her at her shop. After Ippo fought her brother, Mashiba, they didn’t meet for a year. They met again when Ippo was in the hospital after another fight. After that, they spent time together and went on some dates. But Ippo is shy, and Mashiba sometimes gets in the way. Kumi hasn’t said she likes Ippo, but it seems like she does.

Ippo and Kumi

Ippo and Kumi

Background

Inspired by/Based on

Makunouchi Ippo, a character in the series, takes inspiration from real-life boxers like Mike Tyson, Floyd Patterson, Ray Mancini, and Jack Dempsey. Ippo’s fighting style is very similar to Mike Tyson’s, especially the way he stands in the Peek-a-Boo position, dodges punches, and uses strong close-range punches. His powerful punch, called the Megaton Punch, also reminds us of Tyson. Ippo uses a move called the Dempsey Roll, which is like the signature move of a famous boxer from the past, Jack Dempsey. Tyson admired Dempsey and also used his fighting style. Ippo’s “Gazelle Punch” move is the same as Floyd Patterson’s. Patterson, a heavyweight champion, was trained by Cus D’Amato, who was also Tyson’s mentor. Mike Tyson often used a punch called the “Liver Blow” because he was shorter than other heavyweights. This technique helped him against taller fighters. It’s said that Ippo’s character is a mix of Ray Mancini, a world champion, and Mike Tyson, a well-known heavyweight champion.

Mike Tyson's Peek-a-Boo stance

Mike Tyson’s Peek-a-Boo stance

Creator

George Morikawa is a famous manga writer from Japan, best known for his series “Hajime no Ippo”. He was born on January 17, 1966, in Tokyo. When he was in primary school, he read “Harris no Kaze” by Tetsuya Chiba, and this made him want to be a manga artist. Before he became famous, he worked with Shuichi Shigeno. Later, when he became more successful, other manga artists like Kentaro Miura and Kaori Saki worked for him. By March 2022, “Hajime no Ippo” had 134 books. It also became an anime TV show. The first show started in 2000 with 76 episodes. A second show started in 2009 with 26 episodes. In 2013, a third show called “Hajime no Ippo: Rising” came out with 25 episodes. In 1991, Morikawa got a prize called the Kodansha Manga Award for “Hajime no Ippo”. Apart from writing manga, Morikawa also owns a sports gym in Tokyo called JB Sports Gym.

George Morikawa

George Morikawa

Development

Scared young boy to a passionate boxer

Ippo Makunouchi’s journey from a scared young boy to a passionate boxer is a central theme in “Hajime no Ippo.” Initially timid and lacking self-confidence, his encounter with boxing ignites a transformation. Through rigorous training, he not only becomes physically strong but also gains mental toughness and self-assuredness. His quest to understand true strength leads to valuable life lessons. Relationships with his coach, gym mates, and opponents shape his character. Ippo’s evolution is marked by a desire for self-identity and unwavering determination in the face of challenges, making him a compelling and relatable protagonist in the series.

Rookie boxer to a Champion

Ippo Makunouchi’s remarkable journey in “Hajime no Ippo” takes him from being a rookie boxer to achieving the status of a champion. Starting with no prior boxing experience, he enters the ring with determination and learns the ropes of the sport under the guidance of Coach Kamogawa and his fellow gym mates. Through relentless training, countless matches, and unwavering perseverance, Ippo steadily climbs the ranks. His evolution is characterized by honing his skills, conquering formidable opponents, and achieving various titles. Ippo’s transition from a novice to a champion showcases his growth as a boxer and the compelling narrative of his rise in the world of professional boxing.

Story/Mission

Beginning of a journey to Boxing

Ippo was introduced to the boxing coach, Genji Kamogawa, who didn’t think Ippo could box. So, he had Ippo fight a skilled boxer, Ichirō Miyata, to test him. Ippo was scared but used tips from Takamura during the match. He did well until the third round when Miyata knocked him out. Still, Ippo’s effort made Kamogawa respect him and accept him. Kamogawa saw Ippo’s talent and set up another match with Miyata in three months. To prepare, Ippo learned a new move and planned a strategy against Miyata’s strong move, the counter. But after talking with Miyata, Ippo changed his mind. He didn’t want to avoid the counter but face it. With Kamogawa’s approval, Ippo trained hard for the match.

Ippo asked Takamura for training

Ippo asked Takamura for training

Ippo and Miyata had a rematch. Miyata was shocked to see how much better Ippo had become in just three months. Both of them had moments when they fell during the fight. In the last round, Ippo used his new move, the uppercut, and it looked like he missed. But he actually hit Miyata just a little, causing him to fall and not get up. Ippo won because of this small hit. A man named Minoru Fujii explained that Ippo’s tiny hit made Miyata’s legs stop working, even though he was still awake. After this fight, Miyata left the gym. He wanted to train elsewhere so he could fight Ippo again later as a professional. They both promised to meet again in a big tournament called the East Japan Rookie King Tournament to decide who was better.

Ippo's sparring session with Miyata

Ippo’s sparring session with Miyata

Debut as a Boxer

After Miyata left, Ippo felt lost and wasn’t as excited about boxing. To help him, Coach Kamogawa made him follow the tough training routine of Takamura. By watching Takamura train hard, even when he was tired from keeping his weight down, Ippo realised how hard a boxer’s life is. Feeling inspired again, Ippo decided to become a professional boxer. He passed the written test easily but was very nervous about the test fight. The boxer he fought wasn’t as good as Miyata, so Ippo won easily. Another new boxer, Ryō Mashiba, warned Ippo they might have to fight in a tournament. But Ippo was determined to stay in his weight class because of his promise to Miyata. Umezawa, one of the bullies, took Ippo’s boxing license. But Ippo quickly got it back, making the bully respect him.

Ippo's debut match

Ippo’s debut match

Once Ippo got his boxer’s license, Coach Kamogawa said he would fight Yūsuke Oda in his first professional match. In the beginning, Ippo was doing well. But in the second round, Oda hit Ippo near his eye and made a cut. The doctor almost stopped the fight because of the cut. In the third round, Oda tried to hit the cut again. But Ippo changed his boxing stance to southpaw and beat Oda with many jabs. Ippo won the fight. To celebrate, Coach Kamogawa gave them money. Ippo and his friends used the money to have a good time at a place called Sugar Ray.

Ippo's match at Sugar Ray

Ippo’s match at Sugar Ray

Rookie King Tournament

Ippo had a second fight, this time against Yoshio Fujiwara. In the first round, Fujiwara used his head to hit Ippo, which is not allowed. Ippo realised Fujiwara was doing it on purpose. When Fujiwara tried to headbutt again, Ippo was ready and used an uppercut to knock him out. So, Ippo won again. After school, Umezawa, who used to bully Ippo, introduced him to some tough boys. But now, Umezawa called Ippo his friend. Ippo celebrated one year at his boxing gym at a place called Chūka Soba. At his gym, the coaches, Yagi and Kamogawa, told everyone about a big tournament for new boxers. Ippo’s first opponent in this was Jason Ozuma. Ippo heard Ozuma had a strong right punch, so he practised dodging punches like that. Takamura helped him train. When Ippo and Ozuma met before the fight, Ippo discovered that Ozuma was a very nice person. Ippo’s fight with Ozuma started. In the first round, they both dodged each other’s punches. But then, Ozuma hit Ippo with his strong hook and Ippo fell down. In the second round, Ozuma’s hook made Ippo fall again. They both hit each other with many punches. Ozuma threw a big hook, but Ippo dodged it and hit Ozuma in the body, making him fall. After standing up, Ozuma hit Ippo with many punches and won. But when Ippo was trapped near the ropes, he saw a chance. He dodged Ozuma’s hook and used an uppercut and some other punches. This knocked out Ozuma and Ippo won the fight.

Ippo vs Ozuma

Ippo vs Ozuma

After school, Ippo went to see Miyata’s boxing match against Teruhiko Takada. At the match, a girl dropped her ticket near him while looking for a seat. Miyata won, and Ippo was amazed at how much better he had become since they last sparred. Later, Ippo visited a bakery and saw the same girl from the match working there. At his gym, Fujii brought a video of Ippo’s next opponent, Kenta Kobashi. While watching, Ippo saw that Kobashi often held his opponents and didn’t have strong jabs. Ippo also watched another boxer, Ryūichi Hayami, who had a powerful punching technique called “Shotgun”. Soon, Ippo got invited by Takamura to a training camp. At the camp, Ippo did many exercises like running on sand, practising punches, sparring, and dodging tennis balls. After the camp, back at the gym, they told Ippo he would fight Kobashi before Takamura’s own match. When Ippo was leaving the gym, he saw someone looking inside. That person ran away but dropped a journal. Ippo caught him and realised it was Kobashi, his next opponent. Ippo then started watching more videos of Kobashi’s fights to prepare.

Ippo vs Kobashi

Ippo vs Kobashi

Ippo’s fight with Kobashi was tough at first. For the first three rounds, Kobashi kept using his left arm in a way that Ippo couldn’t hit him. Kobashi also kept holding onto Ippo, which made Ippo tired. In the last round, Kobashi tried to hit Ippo more to knock him out. After Kobashi landed two punches, Ippo saw a chance and hit him hard in the face. This made Kobashi fall and he couldn’t get up. So, Ippo won. Afterwards, Ippo watched a match where Takamura was fighting Yoshiaki Yajima. At one point, Takamura was knocked down. Ippo and his friends cheered loudly, helping Takamura find the strength to get up. In the end, Takamura won the fight.

Rookie King Tournament: Finals Arc

In Ippo’s school, he had a meeting about his future, where his teacher wanted him to go to college, but Ippo chose boxing instead. Later, he met Kobashi, who said he didn’t know how to beat Hayami and his strong punch called Shotgun. At Ippo’s gym, the coach thought Hayami must get tired using Shotgun and that’s when Ippo should hit him. Ippo trained to avoid Hayami’s punches. Miyata came to the gym and told Ippo he’d see him in the finals. Ippo also learned that Hayami usually ends his Shotgun with an uppercut punch, so he trained with Aoki to defend against it. When Ippo fought Hayami, he began by dodging well. But Hayami surprised everyone by not doing his usual uppercut. Hayami hit Ippo with many punches and Ippo fell. When he stood up, he felt better and hit Hayami harder. They both tried to hit each other, and Hayami got hurt. Ippo then hit Hayami with many strong punches and Hayami couldn’t stand up, and Ippo won in the first round.

Ippo vs Hayami

Ippo vs Hayami

Ippo watched Miyata fight Mashiba. Miyata lost and sent a message to Ippo saying sorry. Upset, Ippo hit a bag at the gym so much that his fist bled. Takamura stopped him. Coach Kamogawa said Ippo shouldn’t use his hand for two weeks, and Ippo trained to get faster. Later, Ippo visited a bakery and saw a girl named Kumi. He learns that Mashiba, the boxer he just fought, is Kumi’s brother. Back at the gym, Fujii told Ippo and his friends about Mashiba’s family story. Coach Kamogawa found a weakness in Mashiba’s fighting style called the Hitman Style. But he wanted Ippo to face it directly. When the coach saw that Ippo’s hand was better, he let two boxers, Aoki and Kimura, practise fighting with Ippo.

Ippo met Kumi for the first time

Ippo met Kumi for the first time

Ippo fought Mashiba. At first, Ippo had difficulty with Mashiba’s long-range punches called Flicker Jabs. In the second round, Ippo attacked more, but he hit Mashiba’s elbow three times. This hurt Mashiba’s arm, and it dropped because of a bruise on his elbow. Before the third round, Coach Kamogawa saw Ippo’s right hand was bleeding. He told Ippo to only use that hand for a final hit. In round three, Mashiba hit Ippo many times, and Ippo fell down. But Ippo noticed Mashiba’s legs were shaky, so he stood up again. He threw many punches at Mashiba. Even when Mashiba held onto him, Ippo kept hitting. Finally, Ippo hit Mashiba so much that Mashiba couldn’t stand up. Ippo won the fight and later got an award for being a very good new boxer.

 

All Japan Rookie King Tournament

Two weeks after his last match, Umezawa told Ippo about the next boxing event, the All Japan Rookie King Tournament. But Ippo said he couldn’t join because he broke his right hand, and it would take two months to heal. That’s the same time the tournament starts. He didn’t want to risk hurting it again right after it got better. Ippo started to think about his future in boxing and what his next goal would be. When Ippo went to his gym, he met Takeshi Sendō, a top boxer from West Japan. Sendō told Ippo not to drop out of the tournament. But Ippo said no and started his running training. While running, Ippo learned why Sendō boxes: he likes to fight strong people and win to feel strong himself. Ippo watched Sendō practice fighting with Takamura and saw Sendō’s special move, the Smash. Later, Ippo and Sendō went to the airport because Sendō was going back to Osaka. Before getting on the plane, Sendō told Ippo he’d wait for him in Osaka. Sendō accidentally left his gifts at the airport.

Ippo and Sendo

Ippo and Sendo

After hearing what Sendō said, Ippo wanted to box against him. He visited a doctor, Tomoko Yamaguchi. She said Ippo could fight but needed to do special exercises for his shoulders and cool his hurt hand with ice. Later, Ippo returned Sendō’s gifts with a note saying he might be ready to fight. Two days before the fight, Ippo’s team went to the Ishino Boxing Gym in Osaka. Ippo had a practice fight with a boxer named Komori. But Ippo realised he was scared to use his right hand because he didn’t want to hurt it more. The next day, Ippo couldn’t hit his coach’s hand pad right. The coach thought about giving up and going back to Tokyo. But Takamura told Ippo a story about when he hurt his wrist before a match. It made Ippo think about what would happen if both he and Sendō used their best punches. The coach told Ippo to cool his hand so he could at least throw one good punch. On the day of the match, they were at the Osaka gym. In the waiting area, Ippo couldn’t make a tight fist. So, Dr. Yamaguchi, who came to Osaka, gave Ippo a shot to numb the pain. In the ring, the coach asked Ippo about the shot. Ippo said he couldn’t feel his hand.

Ippo got the shot to numb the pain

Ippo got the shot to numb the pain

The next day, Ippo was at the Osaka Gym for his fight. In the waiting room, because Ippo couldn’t make a tight fist, Dr. Yamaguchi gave him a shot to lessen the pain. When he was in the ring, his coach Kamogawa asked about the shot. Ippo said he couldn’t feel his hand. As the match started, Sendō quickly hit Ippo with strong punches. Ippo felt pressured and moved back. He knew he couldn’t just defend, so he tried to punch Sendō but got hit again. Ippo came close to Sendō, thinking he needed to use his right hand to win. He tried to set up a punch with a jab, but Sendō hit him first. After a few more hits, Ippo noticed a chance and landed a right punch on Sendō. He realised his right hand was okay. Now confident, Ippo began attacking, and Sendō defended. Ippo hit Sendō with an uppercut, and then the first round ended. Ippo was surprised by Sendō’s punches. His coach told him Sendō was probably surprised too, because Ippo’s right hand was fine. At the start of the second round, Sendō quickly hit Ippo with a powerful left Smash. Sendō then bent low and gave Ippo an uppercut from below. Ippo avoided another Smash and got close to Sendō. This stopped Sendō from using his Smash since it needed some distance to work. After a short break from close fighting, Sendō stepped back and prepared to use his Smash again. Ippo tried to hit Sendō as he thought Sendō was going to use his Smash, but it was just a trick. Ippo managed to block another of Sendō’s punches with his shoulder. But then Sendō used a low Smash that nearly took Ippo down. Just as Sendō was about to hit Ippo again, the round ended. Back in his corner, Ippo told his team that if he sat down, he wouldn’t be able to get up. He said he still had something to do, so he couldn’t sit.

Ippo vs Sendo first time

Ippo vs Sendo first time

As the third round started, Ippo changed his usual stance to match Sendō’s. This made Sendō angry. He didn’t like someone trying his special move, the Smash, without much experience. Sendō attacked, but Ippo dodged and judged the right distance. Ippo then gave Sendō a very short but powerful punch. It felt like Sendō’s Smash. Both fighters then threw punches at the same time, making each other lose balance. They punched again, but this time only Ippo’s strong short punch hit Sendō, knocking him down. Sendō got up but looked hurt. After a few more exchanges, Sendō landed a big body blow on Ippo. They kept trading punches until Ippo hit Sendō hard on the side of the head. Sendō looked unaffected and started hitting Ippo many times. The round should have ended, but the referee and Sendō couldn’t hear the bell because of the loud crowd. After an extra ten seconds, the referee realised and stopped the round. After the fight, Kamogawa made Ippo sit down. Ippo was confused. He couldn’t understand why Sendō was still standing after his strong punch. But Ippo still felt he hadn’t lost and wanted to keep fighting. He was surprised when the referee stopped the match. It turned out that Sendō couldn’t move because of Ippo’s powerful punch, so Ippo was declared the winner. He felt like it was a dream and imagined Sendō still ready to fight. But when Ippo heard Sendō admit his defeat, he started to believe he really won. The same night, they had a party to celebrate. But it ended quickly when a drunk Kamogawa and Takamura got into a fight. After that, the group decided to go out, but Ippo wasn’t happy about where they were going.

Ippo won against Sendo

Ippo won against Sendo

Two Rookie Kings Arc

After finishing school, Ippo met Umezawa who arranged for him to take photos with fans. After the photos, Ippo said goodbye to Takemura and Matsuda and walked with Umezawa. Umezawa tried to say sorry for past wrongs, but Ippo brushed it off, thinking he was just curious about his next match. On his way home, Ippo bumped into Miyata. Miyata said he was leaving Japan to fight strong boxers in South Korea and Thailand. He wouldn’t return until he felt he was on the same level as Ippo. When Ippo came back to his gym, there were many new people there because Takamura, Aoki, and Kimura all had a match on the same day. After training, only one new person, Naomichi Yamada, stayed. He was a big fan of Ippo. Ippo then helped teach him the basics. Later, at the Kōrakuen Hall, Ippo went to watch his friends’ matches. Before watching, he met the featherweight champion, Eiji Date. Date asked Ippo to visit his gym when his hand was better, so they could spar. After the matches, Ippo realised he had nine fights before a chance at the championship. Kamogawa told him to be eager because nine fights weren’t that many and he could face the champion that year.

Ippo met Eiji Date for the first time

Ippo met Eiji Date for the first time

A month later, Ippo visited Dr. Yamaguchi and found out his right hand was completely healed. He tested his fist on a sandbag and remembered Date’s invitation to spar. Date’s gym called Ippo for a sparring session. At the spar, Ippo was pushed back by Date’s strong presence. Ippo managed to land one good punch on Date, but the round ended before he could do more. Date then decided to use his “Magic Punch”. In the next round, Ippo tried to stop Date from using his special move, the “Corkscrew Blow”. But, he was cornered. Suddenly, Date hit Ippo directly in the heart with this move. Ippo felt like time stopped and he fell down. After getting up, Date used the move again and Ippo fell once more. Ippo realised Date’s target was the heart. Even after this, Ippo continued sparring till the end and thanked Date when they finished.

Ippo's sparring session with Eiji Date

Ippo’s sparring session with Eiji Date

On the same evening, Ippo and Yamada chatted about their sparring session. Ippo learnt that Yamada admired him and had faced bullying as Ippo did. Ippo shared his story of being bullied for 11 years and how boxing changed his life. This story inspired Yamada, who assumed Ippo was always strong. Ippo mentioned he was still searching for true strength and wondered if Date had found it. When Ippo got back to his gym, he found an article saying Date was aiming for world title fights soon. This upset Ippo because he wanted to challenge Date himself. But soon, there was good news. Ippo’s gym got a fight request from Nakadai gym for Ippo to face last year’s Rookie King, Keigo Okita, who was ranked fifth. If Ippo won, he’d be ranked fifth. Kamogawa agreed to the match, seeing it as a great chance for Ippo. When Ippo fought Okita, they began with an intense exchange. But Ippo forced Okita to step back with a strong hit. Okita then used a powerful move called the Corkscrew Blow, breaking Ippo’s guard. Okita tricked Ippo with fake moves and landed a solid body blow. But Ippo’s coach, Kamogawa, reminded him of his strengths.

Ippo got hit by Corckscrew Blow

Ippo got hit by Corkscrew Blow

Struggling with Okita’s tricks, Ippo got trapped in a corner. Just as Okita was about to use his Corkscrew Blow again, Ippo dodged and landed a powerful uppercut. This hurt Okita’s legs. Both fighters were showing signs of damage, but Ippo managed to knock Okita down. When Okita got up, both threw punches at the same time. Ippo’s landed first. Ippo then countered Okita’s Corkscrew Blow with his own strong punch, knocking Okita out. Ippo won the match, but Okita warned him that fighting Date wouldn’t be so simple. After seeing Date win against Suzuki, Ippo watched Date’s post-match talk. When asked if he’d give up the belt to fight globally, Date said no. He mentioned unfinished business in Japan, looking directly at Ippo. Ippo first felt nervous, but then stared back at Date. With his recent win, Ippo now had eight knockout victories and was ranked fifth.

Ippo knocked out Okita

Ippo knocked out Okita

Class A Tournament: Speed Star Arc

A TV station came to Kamogawa gym because boxing was becoming popular again. They brought an idol, Kumiko Morita, to interview the boxers. After the boxers showed their skills and talked about their dreams, the TV crew left. When this was shown on TV, everyone saw that Ippo challenged the champion, Date, on national TV. Later, the TV show featured Kumiko at the Otowa Boxing Gym. There, a top boxer from Russia, Alexander Volg Zangief, said he also wanted to fight Date for his belt. This surprised Ippo. After Ippo and Yamada sparred, they went for Yamada’s Pro Test. Yamada won and Ippo was very happy. Back at the gym, Kamogawa and Yagi showed a list of upcoming matches. Ippo would be fighting a top boxer, Takuma Saeki. Takamura then suggested a training camp to prepare. Ippo told his mother about everything and asked to go to the camp for a week. She agreed. Later, while Ippo was training, Yagi suddenly told him that his mother had fallen ill and was in the hospital. Ippo quickly went to the hospital after hearing his mother had collapsed. There, Miyazaki told him that she had fallen from the boat and had anaemia because she worked too much. She had to stay in the hospital for a month. Ippo felt bad because he hadn’t realised how hard she was working while he was boxing. He started working on the family’s fishing boat and saw how tough it was. In the hospital, Hiroko told Ippo they could close their fishing business for a month or sell their boat space so he could keep training. But Ippo didn’t want to because the boat was a memory of his dad. He decided he could still do some training while working on the boat.

Ippo left boxing for a while to work at Boat Rentals

Ippo left boxing for a while to work at Boat Rentals

Ippo decided to focus on the family fishing business to support his mother, Hiroko, who had collapsed. At the hospital, he saw she was trying to leave early. Worried she’d overwork again, Ippo said he’d treat boxing as a hobby and work on the boat full-time. Fujii, a friend, visited Ippo and gave him videos of Saeki, a boxer. He tried to persuade Ippo not to quit boxing but Ippo wanted him to understand. During a storm, Umezawa came to Ippo’s house. He wanted to help with the fishing business. He was planning to create a comic about a boxer inspired by Ippo. If Ippo quit boxing, Umezawa’s story wouldn’t work. After a few days, Umezawa promised to help with the business so Ippo could return to boxing. When Ippo’s boxing friends saw him at the gym, they were surprised. Takamura had a practice fight with Ippo. Ippo was so happy to be back, he cried.

Ippo gets a Manga about himself

Ippo gets a Manga about himself

Ippo trained with Kamogawa using a sandbag. Kamogawa felt pain from Ippo’s body blows even through the sandbag. Discussing strategies, Ippo mentioned he planned to use body blows against Saeki, his next opponent. Kamogawa was surprised but let Ippo join the Class A Tournament. Kimura advised Ippo that speed was key against out-boxers. So, Ippo practiced to be faster than Saeki. A week before the tournament, Ippo tried out-boxing in a practice match with Yamada but struggled. They later discussed a plan. When Ippo’s mother left the hospital, she gave him boxing trunks she made. Umezawa gave him new shoes. At home, Umezawa saw Ippo making holes in the shoes to reduce grip. Ippo said this would help him win. On the tournament day, Ippo met Saeki, who commented on his strong fists and told him to give his best. In the waiting room, Umezawa tried to take a photo of Ippo for his mother, but the camera broke. Soon after, Ippo was called for his match. Before the fight started, Ippo told Kamogawa his plan: to wait for Saeki to come to him and then attack. As the match began, Ippo used his Peek-a-Boo stance, while Saeki moved around him. Saeki then confidently opened his guard, inviting Ippo to take a shot. Ippo threw punches, but Saeki dodged them all. Ippo managed to push Saeki towards a corner but couldn’t land a hit. Saeki showed his speed by dodging Ippo and quickly moving behind him. The round ended shortly after. Back in his corner, Ippo felt stuck as his strategy to corner Saeki wasn’t working. Kamogawa told him to continue waiting and focus on the body blows when Saeki was trapped.

Ippo vs Saeki

Ippo vs Saeki

In the second round, Ippo tried to trap Saeki in a corner but Saeki cleverly used the ropes to dodge Ippo’s punches. Soon, Ippo found himself at the receiving end of Saeki’s quick Flicker Jabs which caused swelling in Ippo’s right eye, affecting his vision. Saeki used this to his advantage, delivering punches from Ippo’s blindside. At the break, Kamogawa realised the extent of the injury. He motivated Ippo by asking what he wanted to prove in this match. Ippo said he wanted to reassure everyone who was worried about him. In the third round, Ippo tried to minimize his blind spot by getting closer to Saeki, but Saeki maintained distance and landed more punches from Ippo’s blind side. After a series of hits, Ippo leaned on Saeki to prevent himself from falling, recalling Umezawa’s advice not to fall on the boat advertisement. At the end of the round, Ippo told Kamogawa he found a way to catch Saeki. In the fourth round, Saeki started strong, hitting Ippo with several punches. However, Ippo managed to figure out Saeki’s strategy and successfully landed a punch even with his limited vision. Saeki tried to take advantage of Ippo’s blind spot again but Ippo anticipated his move and landed another punch, knocking Saeki down. When Saeki managed to stand up, Ippo continued his assault, landing multiple powerful blows. Eventually, Ippo knocked Saeki down again with a strong uppercut. Although Saeki tried to get up, he couldn’t, leading the referee to end the match. Ippo was declared the winner and moved on to the Class A Tournament.

Ippo barely managed to win

Ippo barely managed to win

In the dressing room after his match, Ippo spoke with Umezawa. Saeki then visited and asked Ippo how he managed to hit him despite Saeki being in his blind spot. Ippo explained it was due to Saeki’s perfect rhythm. After Saeki left, Umezawa tried to take a photo of Ippo but the camera broke again. Later, Ippo watched Volg’s match. Volg, known as the “White Fang”, showed a powerful technique and won. Ippo noticed that Volg didn’t seem happy despite winning, making him wonder about Volg’s reasons for boxing. To celebrate the victories of the day, the boxers went to Gaiant Echo, a karaoke place. There, Takamura sang a song called “Champion”. To Ippo’s surprise, the video playing with the song featured Hayami, a boxer he knows. Joining in the fun, Ippo sang along with Takamura.

Ippo and his friends celebrating

Ippo and his friends celebrating

Class A Tournament: White Fang Arc

Ippo visited Takamura’s house and found out that Yamada was leaving Tokyo soon. Upset, Ippo wanted to throw him a goodbye party. At the party, Yamada sparred with Takamura, Aoki, and Kimura. After those fights, Ippo sparred with Yamada and used a liver blow, Yamada’s favourite move. After the party, Yamada left and Ippo said goodbye. Later, Ippo helped Aoki and Kimura prepare for their big fights by mimicking their opponents during sparring. However, both Aoki and Kimura lost their matches. Ippo was surprised and sad, but Takamura reminded him that in boxing, there can only be one winner. Ippo came back to the gym and talked with Coach Kamogawa about struggling to find a way to beat Volg. This upset Kamogawa because of what Volg’s coach said in an interview. Kamogawa then told Ippo to train hard by doing lots of squats to make his legs as strong as a gazelle. After training at a pool for a week, Kamogawa taught Ippo a new powerful move called the Gazelle Punch. Ippo was unsure about the move because it was a big movement. But Kamogawa explained that his fight with Volg would be about who could last the longest in close-range fighting. If Volg got tired first, Ippo could use the Gazelle Punch. So, Ippo had to train to have better endurance than Volg. Later, to help with the tough training, Ippo got a massage from Yamaguchi. He then continued his hard work the next day.

Ippo helped to Yamada in training

Ippo helped to Yamada in training

Ippo watched Date’s boxing match and then met him to say well done. He found out that Volg, another boxer, was also watching the match. Later, at the train station, Ippo heard people talking about a “strange foreigner”. It turned out that Volg was having trouble because he didn’t know how to use the train system. Before Ippo helped him get a train ticket, they had a chat. Ippo learnt that Volg boxes not because he likes it, but to help his sick mother in Russia. He felt a connection with Volg because they both box for their loved ones. At the final match of the Class A Tournament, Ippo felt trapped and overwhelmed by Volg’s intense presence in the ring. As the match started, both fighters exchanged fast punches, but Ippo struggled to land any. Soon, Ippo got hit by three powerful uppercuts from Volg, which made him lose consciousness for a brief moment. Even though he was unconscious, Ippo instinctively defended against Volg’s punch and then started attacking Volg. By the time he regained his senses, the round had ended.

Ippo learned a new move, Gazelle Punch

Ippo learned a new move, Gazelle Punch

In the second round, Ippo managed to knock Volg down using the Gazelle Punch. However, when Volg got up, Ippo faced challenges. He tried to land another Gazelle Punch but Volg defended well and countered. Volg then unleashed his signature move, the White Fang. Ippo was taken by surprise and was knocked down by the two-part attack. Despite the tough situation, Ippo managed to get up before the round ended. Back at his corner, rather than giving a detailed strategy, Kamogawa simply motivated Ippo to give it his all. In the third round, Ippo was determined and decided to face Volg head-on. Despite facing intense punches, Ippo was reminded of his training with Kamogawa, which boosted his morale. Even though Ippo was knocked down, he stood back up, and both boxers continued trading blows. In the fourth round, both fighters were exhausted. Ippo managed to exploit Volg’s reduced stamina and landed significant hits. Volg tried to trick Ippo with a feint, but Ippo saw through it and successfully countered with a powerful Low Gazelle Punch. Ippo continued to pressure Volg, but the resilient Volg held on, even clinching to buy time. The round ended with both fighters still standing, displaying their tenacity and spirit. In the fifth round, both Ippo and Volg were tired and started with a defensive stance. Ippo managed to avoid Volg’s powerful White Fang move. Spotting that Volg was struggling to breathe, Ippo seized the moment to hit him with a Gazelle Punch. This knocked Volg down, and he couldn’t get back up. So, Ippo won the Class A Tournament. But, due to his exhaustion, Ippo fainted and had to be taken to the hospital.

Ippo defeated Volg

Ippo defeated Volg

The challenge for the Throne Arc

Ippo woke up in a hospital and saw Kumi, a nurse there. He learned both he and Mashiba won the Class A tournament. Later, Ippo and his friends celebrated. They played bowling and the winner got to choose a girl to spend time with. Ippo chose Kumi. After taking her home, they talked briefly. But when Mashiba appeared, Ippo got scared and left. Back at the gym, Coach Kamogawa announced Ippo’s next fight – against the champion, Date Eiji. Ippo struggled to plan for the fight. He visited Takamura for advice but decided he’d just give his best as the challenger. Takamura then had a match against Tamaki. At the venue, Ippo met Date who said Ippo’s punches were weak. After the match, Takamura explained that Date’s punches were strong because of his strong feelings. Later, Ippo found out Mashiba was now a junior lightweight champion. Kumi invited Ippo to Mashiba’s celebration. After the party, Ippo sparred at his gym for reporters against a boxer from the Philippines. He won and then practised with Kimura to prepare for his match against Date.

Ippo went on a group date

Ippo went on a group date

In the second round, Ippo tried to dominate Date in close combat. Eiji Date had difficulty as Ippo’s punches kept coming. Ippo made Date think he was going for a liver blow, but it was a trick. Ippo then landed many punches on Date’s face. After the round, Ippo told Kamogawa that his strong punches didn’t seem to hurt Date. But Kamogawa told Ippo to stick to the plan. The third round saw Date rushing to Ippo again for close combat. Date managed some light hits, but Ippo was the one landing more punches. However, Date used a technique where he rotated his neck to lessen the impact of Ippo’s punches. Suddenly, Date’s left jab knocked Ippo down. Ippo stood up, still shocked that his powerful punches weren’t affecting Date. Ippo then tried body blows, but Date shifted his guard, making Ippo’s punches less effective. Ippo thought he was becoming too predictable. When he tried a big punch, Date countered it with a combination. The round ended, and Ippo was left wondering about Date’s years of experience and skills.

Ippo vs Eiji Date

Ippo vs Eiji Date

In round four, Ippo was hit many times. But after a special move by Date, Ippo managed to hit him twice. Even though Ippo used two of his best punches, Date didn’t fall. Date then hit Ippo hard, making Ippo feel the real power of a champion’s punch. Before the round ended, both fighters exchanged strong punches. In a break, Ippo, even though he was very tired, told his coach he would keep fighting with all he had because he wanted to challenge the champion. In the fifth round, Ippo managed to defend against Date’s strong punches because he trusted his coach, Kamogawa. The two boxers exchanged blows, but Ippo was very tired and leaned on Date. When they separated, Ippo fell due to exhaustion. After he stood up, Ippo tried to attack Date, but Date landed a powerful punch called the Heart Break Shot. Before Date could hit Ippo again, Kamogawa threw a towel into the ring, signalling that they had given up. This meant Ippo lost his first-ever match. After the fight, in the locker room, both Ippo and Kamogawa apologised to each other. Ippo thanked everyone for supporting him.

Ippo took his first loss against Eiji Date

Ippo took his first loss against Eiji Date

Road Back Arc

Ippo found out that Date gave up his boxing belt and Sendō and Volg would fight for it. He was told to take a break from boxing for three months. This made him sad, especially after he watched a replay of his lost match. He went to Osaka to watch Sendō and Volg’s fight and met Miyata there. Sendō won the match, but some people disagreed with the result. After the match, Ippo learned that Volg’s gym didn’t want him anymore and he was leaving Japan. Ippo rushed to the airport to say goodbye. Volg thanked Ippo for showing him the joy of boxing and gave him his old gloves. Volg then said “Sayonara”, a Japanese word for goodbye, and left. Ippo cried as he watched him go.

Ippo said farewell to Volg

Ippo said farewell to Volg

After seeing Miyata’s match against Li Chon Pir, Ippo talked to Date. Eiji Date said he was going to fight a top-ranked American boxer. If Date wins, he’ll go for the world title. Date warned Ippo not to waste time and keep boxing, or people would forget about him. When Ippo went to his gym, he found out that he and two of his friends had upcoming matches. Ippo only knew the name of his opponent, Ponchai Chuwatana, but nothing else. His coach, Kamogawa, focused on teaching Ippo about defence. However, during training, Kamogawa got sick and went to the hospital. There, he told Ippo the key for the next match was to attack without getting hit. Ippo studied videos of Mike Tyson to learn more about defence. When Kamogawa got better, Ippo went to check his weight before the fight and met his opponent, Ponchai, for the first time. After checking his weight, Ippo and Umezawa discussed his opponent, Ponchai, and Ippo felt nervous. Before the fight, Ippo trained one more time. Umezawa saw that Ippo was moving differently than before. On the day of the fight, after watching Aoki and Kimura win their matches, Ippo stepped into the ring. He thought about how things changed since his first defeat. In the ring, his coach told him to start with his left hand and watch Ponchai’s moves in the first round. The match then started.

Ippo vs Ponchai Chuwatana

Ippo vs Ponchai Chuwatana

Ippo started the match by holding his fists out, but Ponchai quickly hit one of his fists and landed a punch on Ippo’s guard. Ippo defended himself and managed to dodge two big punches. He then landed a strong one-two combo on Ponchai, pushing him back. But Ponchai, using a technique to spin his neck, reduced the impact of Ippo’s punches. Ippo remembered how he handled this move before by throwing smaller, precise punches. Soon, Ippo saw an opening and landed a powerful punch to Ponchai’s liver followed by an uppercut to his face. The round ended with Ippo in the lead. Back in his corner, Ippo told his coach he’d win in the next round. In the next round, Ippo dodged Ponchai’s attempt to counter him. Using a weaving motion, Ippo started moving side to side in a figure-eight pattern. He attacked Ponchai from different angles, landing several hits until Ponchai fell. Kamogawa recognized Ippo’s technique as the famous Dempsey Roll used by Jack Dempsey. The referee stopped the match seeing Ponchai couldn’t fight anymore, making Ippo the winner of his comeback match.

Ippo won his match after using Demsey Roll

Ippo won his match after using Demsey Roll

Ippo won his fight and Kamogawa told him he used the famous Dempsey Roll technique, but Ippo didn’t know what that was. During Ippo’s interview after the match, the champion Sendō was spotted in the audience. Sendō came to the ring and said he didn’t care about titles but wanted a rematch with Ippo because he felt he owed him. Ippo agreed to the challenge. After that, Ippo felt great walking out of the ring as a winner.

Aoki and Kimura’s Delinquent Youth Days Arc

Ippo saw magazines about his comeback match at his fishing boat, but they talked more about Sendō wanting a rematch than the actual fight. Takamura visited and found Ippo’s old-school album. They saw a girl Ippo remembered as the first one who talked to him in school. They also found leaves Ippo caught as his boxing test, which then fell apart. Next, they visited Aoki’s house and found a photo of young Aoki and Kimura as delinquents. At Kimura’s house, Ippo accidentally fed a fish with medicine, making it faint. Kimura told the story of his and Aoki’s past as troublemakers until their first boxing wins. Takamura teased them, causing a funny fight between the friends. In the end, they noticed the fish was okay.

Ippo learned about Aoki and Kimura's past

Ippo learned about Aoki and Kimura’s past

Mountain Training Arc

Ippo saw Sendō’s match on TV and was amazed at how he seemed to predict Saeki’s moves. Kamogawa visited Ippo and told him he would be fighting Sendō next for the championship. Ippo felt he just wanted to finish their last fight, not caring about the title. He also thought that his special move, the Dempsey Roll, might not work on Sendō. Kamogawa told him to just rest and not overthink. At the Kamogawa gym, Ippo got to know that he would be fighting Sendō after two months, after Sendō’s next title defence. The gym also planned a training camp. Later, Ippo and Takamura watched Date’s match, which Date won. Date hinted to Ippo that his Dempsey Roll might have a flaw, especially against Sendō’s forward-pressing style. The training camp location turned out to be in the mountains, not the beach as expected, which annoyed everyone except Ippo. They were staying at Pension Yoshio, owned by Kamogawa’s friend Nekota. Nekota knew Ippo from sports magazines. Before Ippo and the others went running, Nekota warned them about bears in the area.

Ippo began training at Mountains

Ippo began training at Mountains

While jogging in the forest, Ippo thought about improving his Dempsey Roll. Suddenly, he saw a bear and ran back to the house, warning the others. Later, Nekota gave them bells to scare off bears. Ippo had a chat with Kamogawa about perfecting the Dempsey Roll. The next day, while running with the bells, an animal jumped on Ippo. Aoki and Kimura panicked, thinking it was a bear, but it turned out to be Nekota’s white dog, Hachi. Kamogawa told everyone their tasks for the week. He asked Ippo to chop logs. While doing this, Nekota visited and showed Ippo how to do it correctly. Nekota warned Ippo about the dangers of relying too much on power in boxing, explaining how he retired due to brain damage. Despite the warning, Ippo still wanted to face Sendō. Nekota mentioned a technique called “Sakki”, which intrigued Ippo. Inside, Kamogawa explained more about “Sakki”. Not understanding the concept fully, Ippo sparred with Takamura to experience the difference between Sakki and a regular feint.

Ippo sparred with Takamura to learn about feint moves

Ippo sparred with Takamura to learn about feint moves

Ippo and Takamura started sparring outside. Ippo tried a regular feint on Takamura but ended up hitting him hard by mistake. During the spar, Takamura demonstrated the Sakki technique which confused Ippo, as he saw a punch coming but it never did. This showed Ippo what Sakki felt like. After understanding Sakki, they stopped sparring. That night, Ippo thought about his unfinished match with Sendō, comparing it to Kamogawa and Nekota’s past rivalry. On the last training day, Ippo trained hard with Kamogawa. Nekota visited Ippo and gave him advice about rematches. That evening, everyone was worried when Takamura didn’t return from his exercise. When he came back injured, he said he had fought a bear. Ippo helped treat Takamura’s injuries. Later, Nekota served bear stew. Takamura was upset after realising the bear he had encountered and left alive was the one in the stew. This confirmed to Ippo that Takamura’s bear story was true.

Ippo and his friends heard about Takamura's story

Ippo and his friends heard about Takamura’s story

In the morning, Ippo said goodbye to Nekota and went back to Tokyo. At the gym, Kamogawa agreed to let Ippo spar with a boxer named Shigeta, who is Sendō’s next opponent. Ippo struggled against Shigeta because he fights in a different style, called southpaw. After the spar, Kamogawa told Ippo that he might fight Shigeta for the title in the future. At home, Ippo gave his friend Umezawa a bear bell as a gift. Umezawa asked if the story about Takamura fighting a bear was true. Ippo said it was. Later, Sendō called Ippo to ask about the bear story. Ippo warned Sendō about Shigeta, but Sendō said he was only training for Ippo. Sendō offered Ippo tickets to his match but said he had to buy them. Ippo was at his home chopping wood when he later went to the gym. There, Takamura was telling reporters a story about fighting a bear. After the reporters left, Fujii revealed that Takamura might fight in a world-ranked match. Ippo got excited thinking the gym might have its first world champion. Later, Ippo went to watch Takamura, Aoki, and Kimura’s boxing matches. Outside the venue, he saw Nekota arguing about bringing his dog, Hachi, inside. Once inside, Ippo was curious about a big bag Nekota had. He watched Kimura and Aoki win their fights. Mari Īmura, a reporter, then approached Ippo and showed interest in him. When Takamura’s match started, Ippo was surprised because Takamura wore a bear’s skin and showed a scar from a bear on his chest. This bear skin came from Nekota’s bag. Takamura won his match using only his left hand. Nekota explained that it’s an old saying: “He who rules with his left, rules the world.” After, they all celebrated at the Sugar Ray bar.

Ippo faced Shigeta in a sparring match

Ippo faced Shigeta in a sparring match

After a night of heavy drinking, Kamogawa and Nekota were passed out. With the main guys gone, Ippo became the focus at the gym. When he left, he met Tomiko and Kumi. Tomiko was looking for Aoki, but he wasn’t there, so she left Kumi with Ippo. They spent time together and Ippo promised Kumi his first autograph. When they separated, Kumi went to buy paper for the autograph. Back at the gym, a reporter named Mari wanted to see Ippo spar, but he couldn’t. Instead, she interviewed him. He said the match that impacted him the most was against Date. She also got his autograph. Leaving the gym, Ippo found a sign saying “baka” (fool), not realising Kumi put it there because he broke his autograph promise. Later, the guys returned to the gym. Nekota was training students, impressing Ippo. Ippo and Takamura chatted about Takamura’s upcoming match. Nekota then left for his home, and Ippo said goodbye. Ippo got tickets to watch Sendō’s match against Shigeta.

Ippo went to watch Takamura's match

Ippo went to watch Takamura’s match

Lallapallooza Arc

On the way to Osaka by train, Ippo and Kamogawa talked about Sendō’s chances against Shigeta. At the Osaka Gymnasium, an old woman met them, who turned out to be Sendō’s grandma. When Sendō’s match started, Ippo had to help the grandma to the toilet. Coming back, he was shocked to see Sendō struggling in the match. Kamogawa discussed the fighting styles and why Sendō was having difficulty. But Sendō managed to win in the third round. After the match, in an interview, Sendō announced his rematch with Ippo. Ippo, despite pressure from Sendō’s fans, confidently talked about his upcoming birthday and his wish to win the title as a gift. Later, they visited Shigeta, who seemed okay. But Kamogawa noticed that Shigeta was scared of fast movements, a sign of boxing trauma. Kamogawa told Ippo about the danger of fighting someone like Sendō, who could put deep fear in his opponents.

Ippo challenged Sendo for the title match

Ippo challenged Sendo for the title match

Ippo was thinking about his fight with Sendō when Kumi called him. They decided to meet up, so Ippo checked a magazine for date ideas. They went to Shimono Zoo. At the zoo, they compared animals to people they knew. When they saw a tiger, Ippo thought of Sendō. But, the tiger sprayed on him! After changing, Ippo said sorry for thinking about boxing during their date. Kumi understood because he’s a boxer. To make it up to her, Ippo promised that his first autograph as a champion would be for Kumi.

Ippo made his promise to Kumi

Ippo made his promise to Kumi

Ippo visited Yamaguchi Chiropractic. Yamaguchi noticed Ippo’s back muscles grew but warned him about the risk of injuring his fist because strengthening bones is harder than muscles. She gave him a rubber pad for protection. Following Kamogawa’s orders, Ippo sparred with boxers from different weight classes for five days. He knocked out five opponents from different weight classes. Back at his gym, Aoki was the first not to get knocked out by Ippo. Later, Fujii came and told Ippo that Mari had gone to Osaka for work. Ippo talked with Mari about her magazine article on his upcoming fight with Sendō. After reading it, he felt that Sendō’s new stance would make it tough for him to use his signature move, the Dempsey Roll. Ippo believed that their upcoming fight was more personal than just about the title. Later at home, he gave a match ticket to Umezawa and set aside tickets for Kumi and Nekota. That night, Ippo was so excited about the match that he couldn’t sleep.

Ippo cleared the weigh-ins

Ippo cleared the weigh-ins

Before the fight, Ippo and Sendō met at the Kōrakuen Hall for the weigh-in. Both were impressed by the other’s physical condition. Sendō seemed relaxed but later admitted to Ippo that he wasn’t calm. They shook hands, each promising to win. The next day, before the fight, Kamogawa reminded Ippo that this wasn’t just a match between rookies anymore but a challenge for the championship. When both boxers got in the ring, they were both very tense. Then, the bell rang, starting the title match. As soon as the first round started, Ippo quickly used his Dempsey Roll move. Sendō tried to block it, but Ippo managed to break through and knocked Sendō down. Sendō got up and almost got knocked down again, but he held onto the ropes. Ippo then tried to block a punch from Sendō, but it still made his nose bleed. Ippo then tried his Dempsey Roll again, but Sendō stopped it with a punch. The two boxers then fought fiercely in the middle of the ring until the round ended. In his corner, Ippo thought that if he kept blocking and didn’t attack, he would lose.

Ippo knocked down Sendo in the first round

Ippo knocked down Sendo in the first round

At the start of round two, Ippo and Sendō kept fighting closely, with fans cheering so loud the building shook. Ippo began to be pushed back and felt Sendō looked bigger than before. Sendō’s powerful punches and presence put Ippo in a corner, making him scared. When the round ended, Ippo’s coach told him to be more aggressive and take control. In round three, Ippo tried to attack, but Sendō’s punches made him defend again. Ippo felt trapped when he saw Sendō use a special move called Sakki. He ended up in another corner and thought he was about to lose. But as he started to fall, Ippo remembered he hadn’t tried everything yet. When Sendō was about to hit him with a big punch, Ippo also used Sakki, which made Sendō pause. The round ended with Ippo feeling dazed and confused. But then he heard a dog bark from the audience. It reminded him of his training days. With new energy and confidence, Ippo prepared for the next round, ready to show what he had learned. In round four, Ippo moved forward, throwing punches at Sendō and blocking his powerful attack, the Smash. They continued to fight closely, dodging and exchanging punches. Sendō prepared a big left punch, but Ippo surprised him with a quick punch, knocking Sendō down. When Sendō stood up, Ippo tried to use a special move but was too tired. The round ended just in time for Ippo. In round five, the fight continued with both boxers pushing each other into corners. Ippo’s face was covered in blood, but he kept going. He was hit hard and fell to the floor. Dazed, Ippo felt like giving up but remembered his past loss and stood up. Back in the fight, Sendō attacked again, but Ippo hit him in the ribs multiple times, hurting Sendō. The round ended with both fighters exhausted. In the corner, Ippo asked his coach about the meaning of strength. His coach told him to beat Sendō to find out. In the sixth round, Ippo and Sendō had an intense close fight. As they exchanged punches, Ippo remembered his journey and desire to understand true strength. By the end of the round, both were tired, knowing the next round could be the last. In the seventh round, Sendō started with a defensive move, causing Ippo to retreat. Ippo tried to use a special move, but Sendō interrupted it. They both landed powerful punches, with Ippo targeting Sendō’s injured ribs. After dodging an attack, Ippo used a trick move and hit Sendō. He then used a powerful combination, knocking Sendō down. Sendō tried to stand up, but eventually fell, making Ippo the new featherweight champion.

Ippo became the new Featherweight Champion

Ippo became the new Featherweight Champion

Ippo won the match but was overwhelmed by everything happening. Kamogawa pointed to Sendō, and Ippo thanked him. Ippo was then given the champion belt, and a photo was taken of him and a dog. Back in his changing room, Kamogawa praised Ippo. When Ippo returned home, he slept with his new belt. After waking up days later, he was reminded of his win and found out about a celebration party for him. At the party, he was celebrated not only for his win but also for his 20th birthday. Nekota gifted Ippo a puppy. Ippo sang a song, but his choice made his friends jokingly tease him. After the party, Kamogawa talked with Ippo about the match and its effects on Sendō. He then asked if Ippo found the answer to what it means to be strong, but Ippo said he hadn’t found it yet.

Ippo got a puppy as gift

Ippo got a puppy as a gift

Execution Arc

After his morning run with his puppy, Ippo met Kumi, who gave him a jogging suit as a late birthday gift. Ippo gave her his champion signature as promised. But Kumi said she couldn’t see Ippo anymore and ran away without explaining, leaving Ippo sad and confused. At the gym, Kamogawa talked about the upcoming Champion Carnival. Ippo learned that Kimura would fight against Mashiba Ryō for a title. Ippo thought Kumi was avoiding him because of that match since Mashiba is her brother. Later, at Takamura’s house, they talked about the upcoming match. Takamura teased Ippo because of Kumi and made Ippo call the Mashiba’s house to talk to her. But Ryō answered and made a threatening comment towards the Kamogawa gym. The next day, after Aoki and Kimura found out about the call, Ippo was teased by Aoki and Takamura. Kimura was angry that Mashiba was underestimating him. Kimura then left to spar with Miyata to prepare for the match. Takamura mentioned that Aoki is worried about Kimura’s match and wants to help but feels helpless.

Ippo cheered Kimura for his match

Ippo cheered Kimura for his match

Ippo and Kumi met at a restaurant, where Kumi said sorry for her earlier words. She didn’t want to stop seeing Ippo because of boxing. But when Kimura and then Mashiba saw them together, they caused a scene. Kumi ran away and told Ippo it might be best to avoid each other for a bit. At the gym, Mari gave Ippo tapes of Mashiba’s training. Ippo then gave them to Aoki. After not seeing Kimura for over two weeks, Ippo, Aoki, and Takamura visited another gym to watch Kimura spar with Miyata. They saw Kimura using a different boxing style. They talked about how hard it is to learn a new style quickly. Takamura thought Kimura might face some big challenges with his new plan. Takamura told Ippo and Aoki that Kimura’s new in-fighter strategy won’t work against Mashiba. Wanting to share this with Kimura, Ippo and Aoki found him training in a park, punching a tire. They guessed he was preparing for a body blow. Later, some people began messing with the tire. Aoki stood up to them, and both he and Ippo got attacked. They didn’t fight back because they were professional boxers. Despite the fight, Ippo and Aoki talk about how much Kimura suffers during training and when he loses. They believed that winning, especially a title match, must feel incredible. When Kimura didn’t show up at either gym, Takamura thought he had run away. To check, Ippo and Aoki returned to the park and saw new marks on the tire. This meant Kimura had been training there. Kimura finally came back to the Kamogawa gym and showed a new technique, the “Dragonfish Blow”, during a spar with Aoki. Ippo thought this technique could even hit Mashiba’s jaw.

Ippo's reaction after talking to Kimura

Ippo’s reaction after talking to Kimura

First Step Arc

Ippo went to the Kōrakuen Hall to watch a boxing match between Hayami and Kobashi. After Kobashi won, Ippo left and found out Kumi had been sitting next to him. He wanted to ask her to dinner but had to help an old man who nearly fell. The old man knew Ippo and introduced him to a former boxing champion, Kazuki Sanada. As they were about to shake hands, the old man stopped them, saying enemies shouldn’t do that. Ippo found out at his gym that the old man he met was Dankichi Hama, a famous trainer. He learned that Dankichi’s boxer, Sanada, is now his main opponent in an upcoming match. Dankichi warned Ippo about two special moves: the “Hien” and the “Tsubame Gaeshi.” Ippo didn’t know what the Hien was, so his friends tried to explain it. He sparred with his mate Kimura and experienced the Hien move firsthand, finding it difficult to counter. Kamogawa, Ippo’s coach, explained more about the Hien and said it could stop Ippo’s special move, the Dempsey Roll. Ippo was also curious about the Tsubame Gaeshi, another of Sanada’s moves. Kamogawa said it’s a strong right-hand punch. A reporter, Fujii, asked Ippo if he felt pressured because other boxers were training to beat him. Ippo replied that he still sees himself as a challenger, not a champion.

Ippo learned about Hien

Ippo learned about Hien

Takamura, Aoki, and Kimura teased Ippo about Sanada, a boxer who is also a doctor, thinking Ippo might lose both his title and Kumi, his crush. Ippo said Kumi wasn’t his girlfriend, so the three urged Ippo to confess his feelings to her. Ippo said he would, but only if they beat him in an arm wrestling match. After a few funny matches, and with Takamura knocking someone out, Ippo lost to Takamura and had to make the call. Ippo invited Kumi out, and they went to the Kahuna Pasta House. Takamura, Aoki, and Kimura sneakily gave Ippo a tape recorder to capture the confession. After dinner, they went to a snowy park. Ippo tried to confess his feelings but chickened out. Instead, he talked about his upcoming match with Sanada. He upset Kumi when he said she doesn’t have to cheer for him and can cheer for whoever she likes. She ran off, hurt by his words. After returning to Takamura’s place, Ippo gave back the tape recorder and walked out as he was feeling bad about how the night went.

Ippo got his new set of boxing jersey

Ippo got his new set of boxing jersey

Ippo kept practising to counter the Hien by pushing it aside and moving closer. On the day of the official weigh-in, Ippo forgot he was the champion and spoke like he was still a challenger. Sanada reminded him of the past JBC featherweight champions and said Ippo should be proud of the title. After the weigh-in, noticing Sanada’s developed chest muscles, Ippo and his coach, Kamogawa, guessed that Sanada’s secret technique, Tsubame Gaeshi, might involve hooks or uppercuts. When Ippo went back to his family’s fishing business, Umezawa and Hiroko, his mother, gave him new red boxing shorts and shoes as gifts. The shorts had twelve stars for the twelve knockouts he achieved. That night, Ippo reflected on the importance of the championship belt and decided he wouldn’t easily give it up, especially since it’s linked to people he respects. On the day of the fight, Ippo felt very nervous as he entered the ring, just like his first-ever match. Once the match started, Ippo was quickly hit by a strong punch from Sanada which made him panic. Sanada saw Ippo’s nervousness and kept attacking, pushing Ippo to the ropes. When Ippo tried to fight back and get close to Sanada, he struggled because of Sanada’s special technique, the Hien, which changed his regular jab into a hook. Ippo kept getting hit by this move and had a hard time for the rest of the round. In the second round, Ippo tried to use his special move, the Dempsey Roll, right away. However, Sanada stopped it by pressing his body against Ippo. Throughout the round, Ippo struggled because Sanada kept using his Hien technique, making it hard for Ippo to get close. When Ippo was near the ropes, Sanada used a new technique called the Tsubame Gaeshi. It’s a powerful double uppercut and the second punch broke through Ippo’s defence, knocking him down. Ippo almost lost consciousness but he remembered his coach, Kamogawa’s voice. With that memory, he managed to stand up before the round ended. When he returned to his corner, Kamogawa advised him how to counter the Tsubame Gaeshi, reminding him of a past fight with another boxer, Kobashi Kenta.

Ippo's first title defence

Ippo’s first title defence

In the third round, Sanada immediately attacked Ippo with his Hien technique. However, Ippo remembered his previous fight with Kobashi and used the Cross-Arm Block to block Sanada’s Tsubame Gaeshi uppercut successfully. With this block, Ippo got close to Sanada, dodging some punches and managed to land a powerful blow to Sanada’s liver, that made him fall. When Sanada got up, he grabbed Ippo to stop his attacks. During this clinch, Sanada sneaked in a punch that affected Ippo’s balance by impacting his inner ear. As the round was about to end, Ippo regained his balance and was able to push forward, reaching close to Sanada. The bell rang just as Ippo was about to launch another attack. In the fourth round, Sanada decided to fight close to Ippo. He was able to dodge and block Ippo’s punches while landing strong hits to Ippo’s body. These hits were so powerful that Ippo’s face turned blue. Sanada then used his special move, the Tsubame Gaeshi, but Ippo blocked the second hit by placing his hand between the punch and his face. Still, Ippo felt the impact. Sanada, seeing Ippo almost defeated, threw another powerful punch. Ippo began to fall but managed to hold onto the ropes just in time. Just as the round was ending, Ippo threw a punch at Sanada but missed. As they prepared for the next round, Kamogawa gave Ippo a motivating slap on the back, sending him back into the fight.

Ippo got a slap on his back from Kamogawa

Ippo got a slap on his back from Kamogawa

As the fifth round started, Ippo quickly moved to attack Sanada. He tried to use his special move, the Dempsey Roll, but Sanada stopped him by getting too close. However, Ippo was ready for this and hit Sanada with a strong liver blow, followed by a Gazelle Punch. Ippo then started his Dempsey Roll again, but he got tired. As Ippo tried to hit Sanada one last time, his punch just grazed Sanada’s face. Sanada tried to counter with a powerful right punch, but he missed Ippo and fell to the ground due to his own force. The referee declared the match over, and Ippo was the winner of his first title defence. With his team’s help, Ippo left the ring and went to his room. He quickly fell asleep holding his belt tightly. Two days later, Ippo was fishing with Wanpo and felt bored. Then Kumi came to him. She said well done to Ippo for winning. She told him she watched his fight and cheered for him by herself in the crowd.

Ippo successfully made his first title defence

Ippo successfully made his first title defence

Bloody Cross Arc

Ippo went back to the gym and found out Takamura was getting ready for a big match, and Kimura was practising with Miyata for a title fight against Arnie Gregory. Fujii later shared about Gregory’s strong move called “Bloody Cross”. He heard it from his boss, Mr. Sakaguchi. He also said Gregory hits as hard as Ippo. This made some people at the gym think Miyata might lose. Ippo didn’t like this and told them not to say things that might bring bad luck. After this, Ippo watched Miyata fight Gregory at Kōrakuen Hall. Miyata won and became the champion. Ippo felt that Miyata had become much stronger.

Miyata won his fight against Gregory

Miyata won his fight against Gregory

Revenge Arc

When Date was going to fight the champion Ricardo Martínez, Ippo was shocked and worried for Eiji Date. This was because Ricardo had never lost a fight. But Takamura made Ippo feel better, saying Date must believe he can win if he’s challenging Ricardo again. Later, Ippo’s coach, Kamogawa, told him Ricardo wanted to practice fighting with him. Ippo said yes to this. He talked to Umezawa about it. Umezawa said that even though Ricardo had won more fights, Ippo could still hit him at least once every five tries. Feeling hopeful, Ippo aimed to land one good hit in their three-round practice fight. He went with Kamogawa to Otowa gym for this. When Ippo got there and saw Ricardo, he felt very nervous. He wore his match clothes because he wanted to take the practice fight seriously. When Ippo started the practice fight, he tried a trick and a body shot. But Ricardo quickly understood what he was doing and Ippo stopped. Ippo then used his Peek-a-Boo Style and tried to hit Ricardo with a quick one-two punch. But Ricardo easily missed the first punch and hit Ippo with a fast jab that Ippo didn’t expect. Ricardo kept hitting Ippo without moving his left hand, and Ippo struggled to defend. When Ippo finally got close, he started the motion for his special move, the Dempsey Roll. But before he could do anything, Ricardo hit him many times with his left hand. This stopped Ippo and he stood there, not moving, because he was in shock. Ricardo saw this and ended the practice fight. Kamogawa quickly took the shocked Ippo out of the ring. They left the gym and Ippo realised that he had a long way to go to reach the top. When Ippo got home, he looked at his face in the mirror and was surprised at how hurt he looked from just Ricardo’s left hand.

Ippo sparred with Ricardo Martínez

Ippo sparred with Ricardo Martínez

When Ippo got back to his gym, Takamura quickly told him to leave. He said Ippo should say sorry to Date for not doing well in the spar. Ippo went to Date’s gym and saw through a window that Date was practising with Miyata. He was surprised to see Miyata lose easily. Miyata came out and was so shy that Ippo saw the fight. Both of them understood that even if they were champions in Japan and the OPBF, there was a big world out there with stronger fighters. After a press event for Date’s fight with Ricardo, Takamura phoned Ippo to come running with him. They went to a park and found Date. They all ran together and talked about Date’s upcoming fight with Ricardo. Ippo thought Date was amazing and wanted him to win the world title. On the day of Date’s big fight, Ippo went to the Ryōgoku Kokugikan stadium. After watching a fight where Okita won, Fujii told Ippo that Date wanted to see him. Outside Date’s room, Ippo met Date’s family and told Date’s son that Date would win because he had once beaten Ippo. Inside, Date told Ippo to hurry up and join him at the world’s top level. Ippo hoped Date would win so they could be forever rivals. But when he watched the match, Date lost to Ricardo. It was Ricardo’s 18th time defending his title.

Ippo went on a roadwork with Eiji Date

Ippo went on a roadwork with Eiji Date

Ippo felt very sad when Date lost and had to go to the hospital. He told Takamura and the others at the gym not to talk about Date maybe quitting boxing. Later, Fujii came to the gym and said that Date was awake, not hurt in the head, and could speak a bit. Takamura said Ippo should visit him because it meant something. Afterwards, Ippo went to the hospital. He saw Date, who asked Ippo to take his hand. Date wanted to pass something on to Ippo. Before Ippo left, Date’s son, Yūji, asked if Ippo would fight Ricardo to get revenge for Date. Ippo said sorry but explained he couldn’t do it because Ricardo was too strong, and Ippo wasn’t ready for that kind of fight.

Eiji Date passed his baton to Ippo

Eiji Date passed his baton to Ippo

Proof of Power Arc

Ippo talked to Takamura, Aoki, and Kimura about what happened with Date in the hospital. He also had his second JBC featherweight title match coming up against Hammer Nao. A new guy, Manabu Itagaki, joined the gym because he admired Ippo as a senior. To make Itagaki understand the tough life of a pro boxer, Ippo and the others made him run with them. After their run, they watched videos of Hammer Nao, the guy Ippo was going to fight. Ippo found out that Hammer Nao used to be his junior, Naomichi Yamada, who had shaved his head and eyebrows. Ippo took the videos home and watched them. He was impressed by Yamada’s skills in his fights but wondered why he wanted to challenge him and if he could even hit Ippo. During training with Kamogawa, Ippo saw Yamada’s face on the training mitts and hesitated, which made Kamogawa very angry. When Mari came to the gym and told Ippo that Yamada had come to Tokyo, Ippo and Mari went outside to talk about it. Mari shared that Yamada had faced many challenges and took a direct route to achieve his dream of fighting Ippo, his senior. This made Ippo feel a bit down about fighting him. But then, Ippo realized that Yamada, like him, had set his goals high. Yamada had chosen Ippo as his target, and Ippo wanted to answer Yamada’s challenge with his fists. This newfound determination inspired Ippo to keep training hard for his second title defence. During training, Kamogawa told Ippo that the fight would be mostly close combat, and he couldn’t use his Dempsey Roll, a special move he usually relied on.

Ippo talked to Mari about Yamada

Ippo talked to Mari about Yamada

On the day of the weigh-in, Ippo saw Yamada for the first time in two years. After they checked their weight, Yamada refused to shake Ippo’s hand. He thanked Ippo for teaching him about boxing and said he was going to give Ippo the championship belt. Ippo replied by saying that while they practised together, he never taught Yamada how to take the belt. Their match was the next day at the Kōrakuen Hall. In the changing room, Ippo thought about how different Yamada looked now. Despite that, he still saw Yamada as his goal. Ippo was determined to go all out in the ring to answer Yamada’s challenge. At the start of the fight, Ippo wanted to end it quickly to spare Yamada. He used powerful combinations and knocked Yamada down within the first thirty seconds. When Yamada got back up, Ippo tried to knock him down again, but Yamada clinched to stop Ippo’s attack. Ippo managed to break free from the clinch. They exchanged punches, and Ippo dodged many of Yamada’s attacks. He knocked Yamada down a second time, but to Ippo’s surprise, Yamada got up again. Ippo had Yamada against the ropes and was hitting his guard. However, he got caught by a body blow that sent him off his feet. While Ippo was aiming punches at Yamada’s head, he took multiple body blows in return. The referee separated them as the round ended. Ippo saw Yamada hitting the ropes in frustration. In his corner, Kamogawa told Ippo about three important things to be a pro.

Ippo vs Yamada in round 1

Ippo vs Yamada in round 1

In the second round, Ippo was more focused on protecting his body to avoid the painful body blows from the first round. He was just about to counter a right hook that missed when Yamada broke his guard. Yamada did this by pushing Ippo’s left side with his hand, leaving Ippo’s body unguarded. Ippo was then hit by a powerful Solar Plexus Blow, which left him unable to breathe, and he started getting hit. After recovering, Ippo was quickly stopped again. This time, Yamada used his shoulder to push Ippo and landed close-range body blows. Ippo began to block the body blows, but his guard was broken again using the same tactic. This allowed Yamada to hit Ippo with another Solar Plexus Blow. Ippo ended up against the ropes, and he couldn’t defend against Yamada’s repeated use of this tactic. During the fight, as Ippo was taking a beating from Yamada’s powerful blows, he realized that Yamada had indeed become strong. However, Ippo wanted to teach him the feeling of his first defeat. So, he stopped Yamada’s attack and changed his stance, opening and lowering his guard into a Brawling Style, inviting Yamada to attack him.

Yamada dominated multiple rounds during the fight

Yamada dominated multiple rounds during the fight

Yamada accepted the invitation, and they exchanged many blows. After a series of exchanges, Ippo landed a liver blow on Yamada, sending him to the canvas. When Yamada got back up, Ippo blocked his punches, including a one-two and another liver blow. Then Ippo delivered his own one-two and liver blow, followed by a combination of attacks that knocked Yamada down. Ippo tried to catch Yamada as he fell, but the referee stepped in and ended the match. Ippo won his second JBC title defence. In an interview, Ippo explained that he didn’t want the fight to last long. He also mentioned that even though his first loss to Date had been painful, it taught him a lot about boxing. He believed that Yamada would come back stronger. However, in the changing room, Kamogawa advised Ippo not to see Yamada, as his comments might make Yamada hold a grudge. Kamogawa believed that the winner shouldn’t say anything to the loser. Despite this, Ippo’s words during the interview had a positive impact on Yamada, inspiring him to continue his boxing journey.

Ippo made his second title defence win

Ippo made his second title defence win

Battle of Hawk Arc

Ippo found out that Takamura, Kimura, and Itagaki were going to a beach training camp, but he couldn’t join because he needed to rest after his match. Aoki then invited Ippo to the beach with him, Tomiko, and Kumi, and Ippo agreed when he saw Kumi. At the beach, he met the others, including Nekota and Hachi, who were training. Aoki got a room for Ippo and Kumi at a hotel, hoping to bring them closer together. That evening, Ippo and Kumi went to the beach, and Ippo told her a scary story, which made them feel closer. They saw fireworks in the sky and were shocked to see Takamura behaving inappropriately with Tomiko. Back at the hotel, they had some drinks, and Kumi talked about her first meeting with Ippo. Ippo used this as a chance to confess his love to her, but she fell asleep during his long buildup. Nevertheless, Ippo felt happy that he had said it.

Ippo tried to confess his love to Kumi

Ippo tried to confess his love to Kumi

Later the next day Aoki misunderstood Ippo’s happiness and asked him to help get revenge on Takamura by putting a sea slater in an okonomiyaki. They went to the training camp building and saw Kimura and Itagaki sparring. Aoki’s revenge plan ended sadly when Takamura split the okonomiyaki in half and forced them to eat it. Itagaki then asked Ippo for a spar, and they went for it without holding back. Itagaki showed his speed and skills, but Ippo was too strong, knocking him down four times until he passed out. Later, Nekota brought fireworks to use at night, and Ippo went to the beach with everyone except Takamura, who chose not to go. On the beach, everyone was enjoying fireworks and sparklers. Takamura initially didn’t want to join the party, saying he’d be a bother. However, after some sweet talk from Ippo and Itagaki, plus cheers from the group, Takamura finally joined in. They watched fireworks and Ippo, inspired by the stars, set his goal to grasp Date’s baton. Takamura’s fireworks, set for revenge earlier, started heading towards them, and they all had to run away. At the Kamogawa gym, Kamogawa told Ippo about a sparring session against someone new. The sparring partner, Kyōsuke Imai, arrived and looked up to Ippo. They got in the ring, and the spar lasted three rounds. Imai didn’t go down and gave Ippo a tough time. Itagaki later explained that Imai was his high school rival. Takamura asked Ippo, who had fought both of them, who would win in a pro match, but Ippo wasn’t sure. That night, Takamura’s WBC junior middleweight title match was announced. Ippo went to a restaurant and was surprised to find everyone feeling down. They explained that the champion’s manager scheduled the match for December, knowing Takamura wouldn’t have time to recover from his October fight.

Ippo knocked out Itagaki during a spar

Ippo knocked out Itagaki during a spar

At the Kamogawa gym, Ippo learned that he would have a third JBC title defence match as a semifinal for Takamura’s match at the Ryōgoku Kokugikan if he won his next match. When Fujii entered the gym to give details about the champion Bryan Hawk, Ippo was shocked to find out that Hawk hated training. Ippo went to the Kōrakuen Hall to watch Itagaki, Kimura, and Takamura’s matches. Itagaki lost his debut match due to Fumito Makino’s fouls. Ippo went to Itagaki’s changing room and explained that they weren’t fouls because the referee didn’t stop the fight, and it was Itagaki’s fault. Back in the audience seats, Ippo watched Kimura’s final tenth round against Arman Alegria, where Kimura threw big swings. Kimura won in a decision, and Takamura won by ring out against Morris West. In Takamura’s changing room, Bryan Hawk arrived to meet Takamura. This visit made Takamura really angry, and despite Ippo, Aoki, and Kimura trying to hold him back, he overpowered them and threw a punch at Hawk’s hand. Hawk left, saying it was just a handshake. Later, they watched tapes of Hawk having two ring-out victories, which led to an argument between Aoki and Kimura about who would win between Takamura and Hawk. Ippo stepped in, telling them to believe in Takamura and reminding them that meeting Takamura was like meeting boxing itself. They decided to meet Takamura and ask him why he started boxing. When they got to Takamura’s house, they met his sister Kyōka and little brother Wataru. They learned about Takamura’s family situation and his past from them.

Ippo talked to Itagaki after his loss

Ippo talked to Itagaki after his loss

The next day, while doing roadwork, Ippo, Aoki, and Kimura asked Takamura why he started boxing. Takamura explained that he did it to prove that he was the best. Itagaki joined their training after being absent. In preparation for his third JBC title defence, Ippo sparred with Aoki and Itagaki. They were concerned about Takamura’s weight management and bought him dried shiitake mushrooms. At the press conference, Ippo, Aoki, Kimura, and Itagaki were on standby in case things went wrong. During a photo pose, someone hit Takamura in the jaw, and he tried to rush at Hawk. Ippo and the others held him back, but Kamogawa grabbed Hawk by the collar in anger. Hawk smacked Kamogawa in the face, which made Takamura furious, but fortunately, no one got hurt.

Ippo and other hold down Takamura

Ippo and others hold down Takamura

On the day of his match with Takamura, Ippo made a promise to him in the changing room. If Ippo could win by a first-round knockout, Takamura had to become a world champion. Ippo’s match against Yi Yon-su began, and he was taken by surprise when Yi charged at him. Yi attacked aggressively with left punches, but Ippo managed to dodge them. Ippo started the Dempsey Roll, and as he dodged Yi’s left punches, he landed a grazing left hook on Yi’s chin. Then, Ippo countered with a right punch, sending Yi flying backwards. Ippo continued to attack with the Dempsey Roll, and just as Yi tried to strike back, he fell to the ground. This fulfilled Ippo’s promise of a one-round knockout. Keeping his word to Takamura, Ippo visited him and found him surrounded by many Japanese champions, including Date, Sendō, Miyata, and Yoshiaki Yajima. Takamura mentioned the promise and assured Ippo he wouldn’t break it. Ippo watched as Takamura won and became the world champion. The following week, a big package arrived at the Kamogawa gym, containing a bronze bust statue of Takamura. Unfortunately, Aoki accidentally broke one of its arms. When Ippo learned that Aoki was selling smaller versions of the statue for a higher price around Japan, he and the others decided to check how many he had sold. They went to Aoki’s home, but Tomiko, Aoki’s wife, told them he had gone to Shinjuku. Ippo was then tasked with finding Aoki in Shinjuku the next day. He found Aoki selling the statues there. Aoki was mentally unstable due to the situation, but he became overjoyed when he saw Ippo. Ippo suggested that Takamura’s behaviour might be because Kamogawa wasn’t at the gym and recommended they go to Nekota’s place to find him. Ippo and Aoki braved a snowstorm to reach Pension Yoshio and convince Kamogawa to come back to the gym.

Ippo made his thrid title defence

Ippo made his third title defence

Post War Arc

Ippo and Aoki reach Pension Yoshio to ask Kamogawa to return to the gym because of Takamura’s actions, including hurting Aoki and using his fight money to buy statues of himself. However, Kamogawa chose to leave Takamura alone. Ippo and Aoki noticed a picture of a woman and inquired about it, which led to Kamogawa and Nekota sharing their past as prize fighters and their connection with the woman. Afterwards, Ippo, Aoki, and Kamogawa left and headed back to the gym.

Ippo and Aoki asked about Kamogawa's past

Ippo and Aoki asked about Kamogawa’s past

Submarine Wars Arc

Ippo attended Itagaki’s second match at the Kōrakuen Hall, where Itagaki won his first career victory against Haseo Baraki. Grateful for Ippo’s sparring, Itagaki invited him to his home for a celebration dinner. At Itagaki’s house, Ippo met Itagaki’s sister, Nanako, who was a big fan of him, and Itagaki’s mother. During dinner, Ippo was taken aback by the Itagaki family’s barrage of bad puns and didn’t get much chance to eat, so he had to eat at his own home. Later, reporters surrounded Ippo at the Kamogawa gym, asking about his future. Ippo said he’d take things one match at a time and focus on his next opponent when asked who he wanted to fight most. Kamogawa and Yagi announced everyone’s matches for early spring, with Ippo’s fourth JBC featherweight title defence coming first. That night, while walking home, Ippo wondered about his goal. He encountered Miyata, who grabbed him and demanded to know why Ippo had been ignoring his match requests to the Kamogawa gym since he became the OPBF champion. Ippo was confused, and Miyata walked away, feeling that it was a promise.

Ippo got interviewed

Ippo got interviewed

Ippo rushed back to the Kamogawa gym and asked Kamogawa why he had been rejecting Miyata’s requests and never told him. Kamogawa explained that the gap between him and Miyata had grown, and their abilities and skills were different. Ippo, however, wanted to fight Miyata at his best, even if he wasn’t sure he could win. Kamogawa smacked Ippo for thinking he was at his peak and said that a fight with Miyata was just a dream. Ippo left the gym, determined to get stronger so Kamogawa would let him fight Miyata.  Ippo began planning to improve his Dempsey Roll by making it faster. He found out his next opponent, Iwao Shimabukuro, claimed he could beat the Dempsey Roll. Ippo watched a recording of Shimabukuro’s fight and saw that he was an in-fighter like him but shorter. Ippo decided to improve his hand and step-in speed to catch Shimabukuro. He showed Kamogawa his new, faster Dempsey Roll, but Kamogawa wanted it to be both fast and powerful, so they began intense training. Ippo started intense training with Kamogawa. During sparring with Aoki, he struggled to keep up. Shimabukuro visited Ippo at his home and asked to see the ocean. Ippo showed him Tokyo Bay, but Shimabukuro wasn’t happy with the polluted water, initially taking away Ippo’s “man of the sea” title. However, when Hiroko arrived and Shimabukuro recognized her as a “woman of the sea,” he gave the title back to Ippo. After this encounter, Ippo was tired, and Kamogawa told him not to do anything or come to the gym for a week, suggesting he could soak in water if needed. Ippo followed his advice and went to the Swimming Club, where Kumi watched over him to ensure he didn’t strain himself. Itagaki and Nanako also visited, and Ippo expressed his trust in Kamogawa regarding the meaning of Shimabukuro’s “bottom of the sea” remark. He discovered he could stay underwater longer after this training.

Ippo working on improving his Dempsey Roll

Ippo working on improving his Dempsey Roll

Ippo adopted his Peek-a-Boo Style stance and quickly realized that his usual tactic of getting close to his opponent’s chest wouldn’t work because Shimabukuro was shorter and had a lower stance. So, Ippo used his reach advantage to hit Shimabukuro. They both tried to land punches, but their arms crossed, and Shimabukuro used his strength to lift Ippo off his feet. Shimabukuro pushed Ippo into a corner while dodging his jabs. They had an in-fight in the corner, and Ippo struggled because Shimabukuro was throwing punches from below. In the midst of this, Shimabukuro unleashed a powerful Gazelle Punch, breaking through Ippo’s Cross-Arm Block. Ippo then focused on blocking but soon felt his block weakening. He decided to push into Shimabukuro, lifting his head to create an opening for a punch. They engaged in a close-hitting match, throwing powerful punches until the first round ended.

Ippo vs Shimabukuro

Ippo vs Shimabukuro

In the sixth round, Ippo set himself up to the distance required to use the Dempsey Roll. Doing the Dempsey Roll’s motion, Ippo began to hit Shimabukuro, however, he was hit as well in exchange. Ippo and Shimabukuro continued exchanging punches, with Ippo using the Dempsey Roll, until the technique’s motion stopped and turned into a mere hook, resulting in Shimabukuro successfully defeating the Dempsey Roll. Ippo hung onto the ropes in despair of having the Dempsey Roll beaten. Despite Ippo being open for attacks, Shimabukuro could not move at all due to the amount of damage he took to defeat the Dempsey Roll and his face was purple with cyanosis, making both boxers at the bottom of the sea. When the sixth round ended, Kamogawa instructed Ippo to take deep breaths and gather oxygen from his cells to last another three minutes. When both boxers got out of their corners, Ippo became relaxed as he smiled at Shimabukuro. In the sixth round, Ippo positioned himself at the right distance to use the Dempsey Roll. He started the Dempsey Roll’s motion and began landing punches on Shimabukuro, but they exchanged blows, and Ippo got hit too. They continued trading punches with Ippo using the Dempsey Roll until it suddenly transformed into a simple hook, and Shimabukuro successfully countered the Dempsey Roll. Ippo felt disheartened as he clung to the ropes, knowing that his signature move had been defeated. Despite the opening, Shimabukuro couldn’t move due to the damage he had taken to stop the Dempsey Roll. His face turned purple from a lack of oxygen, and both fighters were in a tough situation, like being at the bottom of the sea. When the sixth round ended, Kamogawa advised Ippo to take deep breaths to replenish his oxygen and prepare for the next three minutes. As the two boxers left their corners for the next round, Ippo smiled at Shimabukuro.

While fighting Shimabukuro, Ippo felt like he was the bottom of sea

While fighting Shimabukuro, Ippo felt like he was the bottom of sea

In the seventh round, Ippo was pushed to the ropes and had to defend himself against a flurry of punches from Shimabukuro. Shimabukuro attempted a powerful Gazelle Punch to break Ippo’s guard, but Ippo protected his jaw with his right hand. Following Kamogawa’s advice, Ippo used lighter one-two punches. Shimabukuro tried another Gazelle Punch with more force, but Ippo blocked it using a Cross-Arm Block. Ippo imagined himself training with Kamogawa, which helped him in his attacks and defences. Ippo lost balance at one point but gathered enough strength to throw a punch. Shimabukuro decided to take it, thinking Ippo’s punches had weakened. However, when Ippo’s punch landed, he heard a familiar sound from his training with Kamogawa. Shimabukuro lost his balance, and although he tried to regain it, Ippo used his signature Dempsey Roll and exchanged blows with Shimabukuro. Ippo eventually knocked Shimabukuro down with a powerful Dempsey Roll blow. Shimabukuro couldn’t stand up before the referee’s count reached ten, giving Ippo the victory and allowing him to defend his JBC title for the fourth time. After celebrating with his belt and a victory pose, Ippo passed out and was carried to the changing room by Kamogawa.

Hajime no Ippo - RISING: Dempsey Roll ( Ippo vs Shimabukuro ) on Make a GIF

In the changing room, Ippo woke up and remembered something his mother told him long ago. She said his father used to imagine his opponent’s face as a fish, which is why he smiled in the seventh round. While heading to the shower room, Ippo met Shimabukuro, who said he was leaving for Okinawa the next day and retiring from boxing. He wanted to protect the reefs from the summer crowds. Shimabukuro left and suggested that Ippo should continue his boxing journey. Later, when Ippo was resting, Nanako, Kumi, and Mari came to visit him but started arguing. Hiroko stepped in to stop the argument. After waking up, Ippo learned from Umezawa that there had been a fight while he was asleep, and it ended in a draw.

Ippo got visited by Kumi and Mari while he was asleep

Ippo was visited by Kumi and Mari while he was asleep

Comic Show Arc

After recovering from his match with Shimabukuro, Ippo returned to the Kamogawa gym and was surprised to find Aoki had messed up his weight management and become a bantamweight. Ippo then had a discussion with Kamogawa and Yagi about the weaknesses of the Dempsey Roll and why they had turned down Miyata’s requests. He assured them that he understood their support. Once Aoki got back to his normal weight, he asked Ippo how it felt to hold the championship belt. Ippo described it as a sense of accomplishment, feeling that all his hard work had meaning. However, when Ippo saw a newspaper headline where the lightweight champion, Katsutaka Imae, claimed he would “crush the frog,” similar to how Shimabukuro wanted to destroy the Dempsey Roll, Ippo got concerned about Aoki’s Frog Punch. He and their gym mates tried to help Aoki develop a new technique to complement the Frog Punch, but Aoki felt they were making fun of him and ran away.

Ippo had a serious discussion with Kamogawa

Ippo had a serious discussion with Kamogawa

After the weigh-in for Itagaki and Aoki’s matches, Ippo went with Kimura and Itagaki outside the Kōrakuen Hall and witnessed a concerning incident involving Imae and his girlfriend. Imae’s rude behaviour made her cry and run away. The next day, Ippo watched Itagaki’s first match in the East Japan Rookie King Tournament, which ended in a victory for Itagaki. Then, Ippo watched Aoki’s title match against Imae. Aoki used his “Look Away” move to deceive Imae, but Ippo, sitting in a higher seating area, noticed that Aoki followed up with the Frog Punch. The match ended in a draw after ten rounds, allowing Imae to retain his belt and Aoki to miss out on winning it. Takamura made disrespectful comments about the match, which upset Ippo, Itagaki, and Kimura. They decided to visit Aoki’s house to apologize on Takamura’s behalf, fearing that it might lead to Aoki’s retirement. However, when they overheard Aoki and Tomiko discussing his determination to become a champion in the future, they left, realizing Aoki was not planning to retire.

Ippo and his friends went to visit Aoki

Ippo and his friends went to visit Aoki

Dragon Slayer Arc

Aoki was away from the gym for a week, and Ippo and the others worried he might retire. But then, Kobashi, a former champion, visited. He told Ippo that many boxers from their tournament had retired. Ippo explained he started boxing to find out what it means to be strong but still hasn’t figured it out. Kobashi left, saying he’d watch Ippo’s journey. When Ippo returned to the gym, Aoki introduced his new trainers, Isamu Akamatsu and Hiroshi Kizakura. They only listened to Aoki, not Takamura, which surprised Ippo. Ippo travelled to Osaka to watch Sendō’s comeback match, which he won with a one-round knockout. When Ippo entered Sendō’s changing room to congratulate him, he met Ryūhei Sawamura, the JBC third ranker in featherweights. Sawamura refused Ippo’s handshake and criticized the Dempsey Roll as clumsy. Sendō warned Ippo that Sawamura is a counterpuncher and the Dempsey Roll’s natural enemy. Outside, Sendō suggested Ippo train with someone who can counter the Dempsey Roll.

Ippo went to meet Sendo

Ippo went to meet Sendo

Ippo attended Takamura’s press conference for his first WBC junior middleweight title defence against Larry Bernard. Takamura surprised everyone by announcing that he would relinquish the junior middleweight belt to move up a weight class. He claimed he wouldn’t get hit in the match. The next day, Ippo watched the match and saw Takamura use Aoki’s Look Away technique but still got hit. Takamura won, but he broke his promise of not getting hit. In the changing room, Ippo told Itagaki that Takamura could have done it if he fought seriously, and he considered him superhuman for winning a world title fight so easily. Ippo visited Kamogawa’s office and was called a “cheese champion” because he had many challengers despite beating the first ranker. He chose Sawamura as his next opponent because Sawamura had called the Dempsey Roll “clumsy.” That night, Ippo watched a video of Sawamura’s fight and was shocked to see Sawamura win against a tired Shimabukuro. He showed the video to his gym mates, and Fujii revealed more details about Sawamura. Ippo was disgusted to learn that Sawamura beats people on the streets and doesn’t consider him a real boxer.

Ippo choose his next opponent, Sawamura

Ippo chose his next opponent, Sawamura

The next day, Kamogawa told Ippo he would accept the match against Sawamura. Takamura asked Ippo about countering the Dempsey Roll’s weakness. Ippo planned to use the technique on Sawamura and make it stronger. He asked Kimura and Itagaki for help in sparring, but they were afraid of the Dempsey Roll. Takamura advised Ippo to find someone as good as Miyata to practice with because Kimura and Itagaki might take too long to learn the counter. Kamogawa noticed that Ippo was worried about evolving the Dempsey Roll, so he had him think about it while doing exercises like running with a tire. He told Ippo that a stronger lower body would be needed to make the technique better. During a run, Ippo met Volg, a boxer from Russia, who was looking for him. Volg wanted his gloves back and mentioned he might counter the Dempsey Roll if he faced it. Ippo offered him a place to stay, and Volg watched Ippo’s match recordings. Ippo thought Volg might be able to help him against Sawamura. After dinner, Ippo asked Volg to spar, but Volg declined, feeling he wouldn’t be much help due to his time away from boxing.

Ippo trained his lower body for his next match

Ippo trained his lower body for his next match

While working on a fishing boat and training with Volg at the gym, Ippo found out that Volg had left after watching tapes of Sawamura’s matches. Kamogawa had arranged for Volg to meet Dankichi Hama in America. On the day before Volg was set to leave, he asked Ippo for a spar to show him the Dempsey Roll counter. They had a serious fight for two rounds, and in the final third round, Ippo tried to use the Dempsey Roll. But as he was preparing to attack, he was hit with a right counter from Volg, knocking him out. When Ippo woke up, Volg had already left for America.

Ippo had a training match with Volg to learn the weakness of Dempsey Roll

Ippo had a training match with Volg to learn the weakness of Dempsey Roll

The next day, Ippo was worried about facing Sawamura, especially after passing out to Volg’s punch during their spar, even though Volg had held back. Kamogawa expressed concern about Ippo’s ability to withstand Sawamura’s counter, fearing a worst-case scenario. However, Ippo remained confident and believed he could come up with a strategy. While running, Ippo had an idea to evolve the Dempsey Roll by changing its rhythm. He realized that counter users could predict the Dempsey Roll because of its predictable rhythm. When he tried the new Dempsey Roll, he struggled due to the strain it put on his legs and waist. Kamogawa had him undergo a medical checkup, which revealed that his knees and waist were under a lot of stress. Yamaguchi, the doctor, cautioned Ippo to use the new Dempsey Roll only twice in the match to avoid risking his boxing career. But Ippo was determined to use it more, as he didn’t want to lose the match.

Yamaguchi told Ippo about the risks of using his new move

Yamaguchi told Ippo about the risks of using his new move

The day before the weigh-in, Ippo and Umezawa discussed his upcoming match. Ippo expressed his dislike for Sawamura, who didn’t follow the rules of boxing despite being strong. Ippo planned to forget the limits Yamaguchi mentioned and use the new Dempsey Roll as many times as needed, even if it meant not reaching the promised match with Miyata. On the day of the weigh-in, Ippo went to Kōrakuen Hall. He was frustrated when Sawamura wanted to fight in the weigh-in room. Ippo reminded Sawamura that they would fight in the ring the next day and insisted on a fair and rule-abiding match. He then left to meet Kumi outside. On the way, he was approached by Sawamura’s teacher, who asked Ippo to defeat Sawamura, and Ippo agreed to do so. The next day, Ippo went to the Kōrakuen Hall for his title defence against Sawamura. Umezawa visited him in the waiting room and shared a Russian good luck charm he learned from Volg.

Sawamura attacked Kumi

Sawamura attacked Kumi

When their match began, Ippo and Sawamura entered the ring. Sawamura tried to attack Ippo before the gong rang, but Ippo fought back. He landed several punches on Sawamura, who mostly blocked them. Ippo even cornered Sawamura, but then Sawamura tripped Ippo, causing him to fall. While Ippo was down, Sawamura threw a punch that grazed his face. Ippo got up and continued to attack Sawamura’s guard. He dodged Sawamura’s counterattacks and landed a liver blow in the corner. Ippo prevented Sawamura from escaping and broke free from a clinch. He avoided Sawamura’s punches until the first round ended. In the second round, Sawamura initially offered a greeting with his hand, but when Ippo reciprocated, Sawamura knocked his hand away and threw a punch, which Ippo managed to dodge. As Sawamura started to figure out Ippo’s hand speed, Ippo increased his step-in speed and sent Sawamura down with a right to the face. Sawamura got back up, and Ippo continued to press him against the ropes with body shots and punches to his guard. Sawamura clinched with Ippo, causing them both to fall to the canvas. After they got up, the match briefly paused because Sawamura had deliberately loosened his glove tape, and his second had to fix it. When the match resumed, Ippo became cautious as Sawamura adopted an unconventional stance with his left hand extended. Ippo tried to get close to Sawamura, but the fast jabs known as the “Bullet” made it difficult as the second round ended.

Sawamura mocked Ippo before the start of match

Sawamura mocked Ippo before the start of the match

In the third round, Ippo employed a Cross-Arm Block to defend against Sawamura’s Bullet punches. When he managed to close the distance to attack, Sawamura used his Flash punch, which nearly knocked Ippo down. Despite taking several hits from the Bullet, Ippo stepped into Sawamura’s range and was hit by the Flash again. The third round concluded with Ippo leaning on Sawamura after that punch. In his corner, Ippo was informed about Sawamura’s strategy to frustrate him by breaking the rules, leading Ippo to throw bigger punches that Sawamura could easily counter. In the fourth round, Ippo decided to return to the basics and used weaving to avoid Sawamura’s Bullet punches. After dodging most of the Bullets, Ippo threw an uppercut that missed Sawamura, who also missed his Flash punch. However, Ippo managed to land a liver blow on Sawamura and tried to hit his face, but he got countered by the Flash. As Sawamura backed off, Ippo dodged the Bullets and closed the distance. He attempted to land body blows but was countered with the Flash. Ippo then feinted a high punch and landed a liver blow on Sawamura. The gap between them increased after Ippo was hit by the Flash. Ippo dodged the Bullets and attacked Sawamura’s guard with hooks when Sawamura was at the ropes. He broke Sawamura’s guard and dodged the Bullets using the Dempsey Roll’s motion. However, just as Ippo was about to attack with the Dempsey Roll, Sawamura stepped back and countered with a left punch. Ippo held onto the ropes to prevent himself from falling, feeling devastated that his technique was defeated for a second time, and this time he was the only one who got hurt. As the fourth round ended, Ippo expressed his determination not to lose, as he didn’t want to make all Japanese boxers look foolish.

Sawamura intentionally unwrapped his gloves

Sawamura intentionally unwrapped his gloves

In the fifth round, Ippo struggled to land a hit while getting hit by Sawamura multiple times. This continued until the end of the round. In the sixth round, Ippo attempted a Dempsey Roll, but he was countered with a Flash punch by Sawamura. Thanks to Volg’s previous counter and the help he received from his team before the match, Ippo managed to remain standing. He then faced a barrage of punches from Sawamura, who even elbowed Ippo’s back. After Sawamura received a penalty for his actions, Ippo initiated another Dempsey Roll. As Sawamura prepared to counter with his right hand, Ippo halted the Dempsey Roll mid-motion. This caused Sawamura to throw a punch that missed, and Ippo resumed the motion to land a counterpunch, knocking Sawamura down. Sawamura got back up but was continuously attacked by Ippo until he sought refuge behind the referee as the sixth round came to a close. In the seventh round, Ippo launched a series of attacks against Sawamura, who tried to foul and trip Ippo, but Ippo managed to avoid his attempts. Ippo then initiated the Dempsey Roll’s motion and paused it when he sensed Sawamura preparing to counter. Sawamura also halted, but Ippo dodged his counter and interrupted another Dempsey Roll motion, leaving Sawamura confused. Ippo landed a solid hit on Sawamura and continued to use the Dempsey Roll until Sawamura fell. The referee decided to end the match without counting, and Ippo celebrated his victory, acknowledging Sawamura’s strength. This win marked his fifth successful defence of the JBC featherweight title.

Ippo faced Bullet punches

Ippo faced Bullet punches

After his match, as Ippo was leaving the ring, he fell. Takamura helped him to the changing room where Yamaguchi, the ringside doctor, was waiting for him. She examined Ippo and told him that while his muscle fibres had torn, blood vessels burst, and ligaments were somewhat hyper-extended, there were no injuries that would affect his boxing career, which greatly relieved Ippo. His gym mates then asked Kumi to accompany him home. On the way, Kumi asked Ippo why he started boxing. He replied that he wanted to become strong, but despite his physical strength, he still didn’t know what true strength meant. He felt he couldn’t catch up because the power he sought wasn’t just physical strength, but the strength to live. When Ippo arrived home, he immediately passed out and was taken to his bed.

Ippo vs Sawamura

Ippo vs Sawamura

A Passing Point Arc

Ippo had a brain check-up, that went well, and he got a crutch for his injured knee and was told not to use his Dempsey Roll because it was tough for his body to bear. On his way home, Umezawa picked him up. During the ride, Umezawa revealed he wanted to quit the fishing boat job and become a manga artist. Ippo encouraged him to chase his dream. Umezawa kept his promise and let Ippo read his fishing manga. Itagaki, Aoki, Kimura, and Takamura joined in, and a little fight broke out over the manga, which made Ippo mad. Umezawa was happy about it and decided to pursue his dream. Ippo helped fix the manga at Umezawa’s place as a way to thank him for his past help. Later, they had dinner at Ippo’s home, and when Umezawa tried to confess something from their high school days, Ippo reassured him and told him they were best friends. They said goodbye as friends on top of anything else.

Ippo saw the manga about himself

Ippo saw the manga about himself

When Ippo got back to the gym, Kamogawa discussed his next title defence plans. He found out that previous challengers withdrew their challenges after he beat Sawamura. Kamogawa advised him to focus on recovery. At home, he learned that Itagaki and Nanako replaced Umezawa at the fishing boat company. Ippo watched Itagaki win his tournament match. Later, Itagaki reminded Ippo to watch the WBA featherweight Ricardo Martínez’s 21st title defence match on TV. Ippo rushed home to see it, and Martínez won quickly. Ippo realized the huge gap between him and Martínez, and even with the new Dempsey Roll, he felt the world championship was still far away, especially in his rivalry with Miyata. The Kamogawa gym had a fishing competition on the Makunouchi Fishing Boat, with Ippo and Itagaki as the boat’s crew. Everyone tried to catch fish for dinner. After the competition, they all enjoyed dinner cooked by Hiroko. During the gathering, Kamogawa shared news about upcoming matches for the gym’s boxers, Takamura’s WBC title challenge matches for Aoki and Kimura, Miyata’s OPBF title defence, Itagaki’s ongoing tournament, and Ippo’s continued recovery. Back at the gym, Ippo was asked to spar with Imai. During the spar, Ippo realized Imai had grown much stronger since their last encounter. He struggled to keep up and couldn’t help Itagaki as he had hoped, which made Ippo feel down.

Ippo's sparring session with Itagaki before his upcoming match

Ippo’s sparring session with Itagaki before his upcoming match

After watching a video of WBC middleweight champion David Eagle’s match, Ippo received a call from Miyata, who was at a training camp with Takamura. Miyata mentioned some odd behaviour from Takamura and asked Ippo if he had noticed anything strange. Ippo initially hadn’t, but later remembered a conversation about a “mosquito bite” and realized Takamura might have an eye problem. To confirm this, Ippo met with Kumi, who lent him a book on eye issues. He found information about myodesopsia, a condition linked to retinal detachment, which could lead to blindness if untreated. Ippo connected this with Takamura’s previous comments about his eye hurting after a match with Hawk. He consulted with Sanada for advice on eye problems without revealing it was for Takamura. Sanada explained the risks of retinal detachment, and Ippo felt responsible for ensuring Takamura’s safety. He went to Takamura’s house and questioned him about his right eye’s condition. After some tests, Ippo was relieved to find out that Takamura’s eye was still well. Ippo and his friends went to support Takamura in a fishing match against Yagi, but they arrived to find the fishermen had left, and the two competitors were not allowed to fish. They were shocked to hear the match ended in a draw. Ippo also watched Itagaki win in the Rookie King Tournament and encouraged him to aim for the title. Champion David Eagle came to Japan and had a public sparring session at the Kawahara gym. Ippo attended to gather information for Takamura, but Kamogawa thought he went to see Miyata. Ippo got an autograph from Eagle and saw Miyata, who explained Eagle’s autograph session. He watched Eagle’s impressive sparring and learned from Miyata about something new he planned to showcase in his upcoming match. Ippo admired Eagle’s boxing and mentioned to Kamogawa that Eagle seemed like a hero. They also saw Takamura being a bit rough with fans outside the gym.

Ippo and Miyata went to watch David Eagle's sparring

Ippo and Miyata went to watch David Eagle’s sparring

The day before the big event, Ippo attended the weigh-ins for the fights, including Takamura and Eagle’s, and Aoki and Kimura’s, as they were facing Papaya Dachiu and Eleki Battery. The next day, he went to the Yokohama Arena and met Coach Date and Coach Okita, whose boxer had lost. Ippo encouraged Aoki and Kimura before their matches, sharing his own nervous experience when he fought in Takamura’s semi-final match against Hawk. Ippo watched Aoki and Kimura’s matches, both of which ended in draws, and then Miyata’s successful OPBF title defence against Medgoen Dachboy. After Miyata’s victory, Ippo stirred up the crowd by mentioning a potential fight between him and Miyata for the title, leading to an enthusiastic response from the audience. This made Ippo feel the pressure, so he escaped to Takamura’s waiting room. As Takamura prepared for his title match, Ippo went to the stands and had a conversation with Miyata, who was concerned about Takamura’s eye condition. Ippo assured Miyata that Takamura claimed to have good vision and even read small print in a magazine. However, Miyata was sceptical, thinking Takamura might have memorized the magazine. Ippo then watched Takamura’s WBC middleweight title match and Takamura won despite getting a cut near his right eye. After the fight, Ippo and his friends waited for Takamura outside the arena when they were tasked by Kamogawa to ensure Takamura rested. They were eventually kicked out by Takamura, who needed some privacy.

Ippo challenged Miyata for his title after his match

Ippo challenged Miyata for his title after his match

Battles

Popular Fights

  • Ippo Makunouchi Vs. Jason Ozuma

    Ippo vs Jason Ozuma

    Ippo vs Jason Ozuma

  • Ippo Makunouchi Vs. Eiji Date

    Ippo vs Eiji Date at Championship match

    Ippo vs Eiji Date at Championship match

  • Ippo Makunouchi Vs. Alfredo Gonzales
  • Ippo Makunouchi Vs. Sawamura Ryuuhei

    Ippo Vs. Sawamura Ryuuhei

    Ippo Vs. Sawamura Ryuuhei

  • Ippo Makunouchi Vs. Yoshiaki Mashiba

    Ippo Makunouchi Vs. Yoshiaki Mashiba

    Ippo Makunouchi Vs. Yoshiaki Mashiba

  • Ippo Makunouchi Vs. Volg Zangief

    Ippo Vs. Volg Zangief

    Ippo Vs. Volg Zangief

  • Ippo Makunouchi Vs. Takeshi Sendo

    Ippo Vs. Takeshi Sendo

    Ippo Vs. Takeshi Sendo

  • Ippo Makunouchi Vs. Ichiro Miyata

    Ippo Vs. Ichiro Miyata 

    Ippo Vs. Ichiro Miyata

  • Ippo Makunouchi Vs. Takeshi Sendo II

 

Victories

  • Ippo’s Fight Against Fear: During the start of the series, he was a scared boy. Overcoming his fear was a huge personal achievement. He learned to face his fears not just in boxing but in life, which made him grow as a person.
  • Growing Confidence: Ippo’s journey turned him from a self-doubting kid into a confident and determined individual. His confidence grew with every boxing win and personal challenge he tackled.
  • Strong Friendships: Ippo built deep friendships with characters like Takamura, Aoki, Kimura, and Itagaki. These relationships were personal victories, giving him a support system beyond the boxing ring.
  • Earning Respect: Ippo’s victories in the boxing world won him respect from fellow boxers, trainers, and fans. This respect also boosted his self-esteem and made others admire him.
  • Learning Patience: Ippo’s determination and ability to persevere through tough times were personal victories. He understood the value of hard work and commitment, qualities that extended beyond boxing.
  • Staying Humble: Even after his successes and first loss, Ippo remained humble and grounded. It was a personal victory as he never forgot his roots or disrespected his opponents.
  • Becoming a Mentor: As Ippo grew, he became a mentor for younger boxers like Itagaki and Imai. His capacity to guide and inspire the next generation was a personal victory.
  • Champion Title and Multiple Defenses: Ippo’s most significant achievement was winning a championship match and defending it several times. This highlighted his growth as a champion and his dedication to boxing. It showed he could not only win the title but also maintain his status as a top fighter by beating challengers and preserving the title’s prestige. Ippo’s successful title defences reflected his continuous improvement as a boxer and his commitment to the sport.

Failures

  • Outmatched by various opponents during sparring: Ippo faced numerous failures when outmatched by various opponents during sparring. These experiences were essential for his growth as a boxer. Sparring partners like Date Eiji, Miyata Ichirou, and Itagaki Manabu exposed his weaknesses and pushed him to improve.
  • His First Loss: Ippo’s first major failure came when he lost his first professional boxing match against Date Eiji. It was a tough defeat for him, but it served as a valuable learning experience.
  • Inability to Conquer the World Stage: While he achieved success within the Japanese boxing scene, Ippo faced the challenge of not being able to compete at the international level. His dream of challenging world champions like Ricardo Martinez remained unfulfilled.

Enemies/Rivals/Foes

Ichiro Miyata is like a lifelong friend and role model for Ippo. They first met at the Kamogawa gym, where Ippo’s first boxing spar was against Miyata, who was already a skilled boxer. Ippo was amazed by Miyata’s talent. Ippo thinks Miyata is cool and good-looking, and his gymmates sometimes tease him about it. When Ippo beat Miyata in their second spar, Miyata saw Ippo as a friendly rival. They promised to meet in the professional boxing ring at the East Japan Rookie King Tournament finals. Although Miyata lost to another boxer, and their promised fight didn’t happen, they still aim to meet in the ring someday. Their goal to fight each other has motivated them to become better boxers. Ippo has always wanted to fight Miyata. Many believed Ippo would retire after their match. When someone insulted Miyata, Ippo got angry and declared that if Miyata lost, he would fight the insulter for him. Even though many see Miyata as Ippo’s rival, he is Ippo’s hero. Ippo has looked up to Miyata since their first spar. Ippo keeps track of all of Miyata’s fights and studies his boxing. After retiring from boxing, when he watches Miyata fight, he feels like a regular fan and still considers him a goal. Ippo felt guilty about making Miyata stay in a weight class that wasn’t his best. Even after retiring, Ippo tried to convince Miyata to move on, but Miyata didn’t give a clear answer. When Ippo showed his understanding of an opponent’s fighting style while playing mahjong, Miyata was surprised and thought Ippo shouldn’t have retired from boxing.

Ippo and Miyata

Ippo and Miyata

Takeshi Sendō is like Ippo’s main rival because they’ve fought twice already. They have a lot in common, like their fighting styles, family situations, and the goal of understanding their fathers’ ideas of strength. But their personalities are quite different. Ippo is quiet and not very aggressive, while Sendō is bold and very confident. Even though they’ve had two intense fights, Ippo and Sendō are friends. They can hang out, have meals together, and even watch matches. The people at the Kamogawa gym call Sendō Ippo’s best friend, but Sendō doesn’t like to admit it. They still plan to fight each other again in the future.

Ippo and Sendo

Ippo and Sendo

Ryō Mashiba was Ippo’s tough opponent in the boxing tournament. They didn’t start on good terms when they first met, as Mashiba knocked out another boxer during a friendly event. In the tournament, Mashiba cheated to hurt Ippo’s friend, Miyata. When Ippo and Mashiba faced each other in the finals, Mashiba gave Ippo a hard time, but Ippo’s determination scared him, and Ippo won. However, Ippo felt sorry for Mashiba when he learned about his and Kumi’s tragic past, losing their parents in a car accident. Mashiba moved up to the Jr. Lightweight division and now sees Ippo as his rival. He’s very protective of his sister Kumi and sometimes follows Ippo and Kumi on their dates. Mashiba is not very friendly towards Ippo, but Kumi thinks he secretly likes having Ippo around. Mashiba gets annoyed by Ippo’s courage, especially when he cheers during his match against Sendō. However, he later respected Ippo and felt bad for not listening to his advice during a fight.

Yoshiaki Mashiba

Yoshiaki Mashiba

Alexander Volg Zangief and Ippo first met as friends when Volg asked for help with a vending machine. Later, they discovered they were going to fight each other in the ring. Ippo won the match, but he got badly hurt and had to go to the hospital. Ippo attended the Japan Featherweight Championship, which became vacant when Eiji stepped down to support both Volg and Takeshi. Takeshi won the fight, but he was in worse condition and only won due to a referee’s mistake. He learned the harsh truth about Volg’s dismissal and rushed to the airport to say goodbye to his friend. Volg gave Ippo his boxing gloves as a memento. Three years later, Volg returned to Japan to get his gloves back from Ippo. He also helped Ippo in his matches against Ryūhei Sawamura and warned him about Wally. When they sparred after Ippo’s retirement, Volg noticed that Ippo had improved, and he asked Takeshi Sendō about his growth outside the ring.

Ippo and Volg

Ippo and Volg

Ippo was surprised when he was chosen to spar with Ricardo Martínez, who had defeated Date, a role model boxer of Ippo. He respected Ricardo but also felt shy around him. He realized that Ricardo, despite his greatness, Ricardo might be lonely because he never faced challenging opponents. He understood this after Ricardo’s match with Billy McCallum. Initially, Ricardo wasn’t very interested in Ippo after their spar. But later, he became curious about Ippo’s determination and willpower. Bill Stewart, his trainer, noticed this change. When Alfredo González’s match was confirmed, Ricardo remembered Ippo as “The Boy with the Dempsey Roll.” He even considered warning Alfredo about Ippo’s skills, discussing it with Lisa. As Ippo retired, Ricardo’s interest in him grew. Ippo’s name kept coming up in conversations about his fights with Wally, Takeshi Sendō, Eiji Date, and Alfredo. Ricardo felt that the world still revolved around Ippo, even when he was no longer in the boxing ring.

Ricardo Martinez

Ricardo Martinez

Friends/Allies/Comrades

Mamoru Takamura is like a big brother to Ippo. He was the first boxer Ippo met and introduced him to boxing. Ippo trusts Takamura and takes his advice to heart. Takamura has given Ippo advice to improve his boxing, like creating the Dempsey Roll. He also supports Ippo when he’s feeling down. Ippo’s confidence depends on Takamura. When Takamura wasn’t there before Ippo’s match with Karasawa, Ippo felt incomplete. Takamura sees Ippo as a little brother and looks out for him. However, they tease each other about various things, like women, personal stuff, Ippo’s relationship with Kumi, his interest in Miyata, and even joking around. Takamura is jealous of Ippo’s relationship with Yamaguchi and worries about being influenced in the wrong way by Takamura.

Ippo and Takamura having a fun time

Ippo and Takamura having a fun time

Tatsuya Kimura is one of Ippo’s first boxer friends and a close one. He gives Ippo boxing advice, like how to shift his weight to keep up with fast opponents. Kimura is like an older friend to Ippo, and he’s usually a good senpai. But sometimes, he can get jealous since Ippo surpassed him, and he jokes around with Ippo, especially about his womanizing habits, though not as much as Takamura.

Ippo and Kimura training together

Ippo and Kimura training together

Masaru Aoki is one of Ippo’s early boxing friends and a close buddy. He gives Ippo advice and often spars with him during training. Aoki also tries to help Ippo with his relationship with Kumi, reassuring him that she likes him and even arranging situations for them to be together. However, he shares everyone else’s disgust upon discovering Aoki’s weird taste in women, and he is swayed by Aoki’s perversion. Aoki’s little brother, Taihei, surprises Ippo when he learns that he’s Aoki’s sibling and that they’re on a TV show together. Ippo praises Taihei as a true professional when others make fun of him.

Masaru Aoki

Masaru Aoki

Genji Kamogawa didn’t initially think Ippo was cut out to be a boxer, but that changed when he saw Ippo’s determination during his first spar with Miyata. They developed a strong teacher-student bond based on trust. Ippo follows Kamogawa’s guidance like a religion, and others believe Ippo will inherit Kamogawa’s will. Takamura even thinks Kamogawa seems more like a father to Ippo than just a coach, especially because Ippo’s real father passed away when he was young. When someone insulted Kamogawa’s teaching, Ippo got angry, and Kamogawa showed rare joy. When Ippo decided to become a second, he wanted to work alongside Kamogawa to train new boxers.

Ippo and Genji Kamogawa

Ippo and Genji Kamogawa

Ippo used to be scared of Masahiko Umezawa, who, along with his delinquent friends, used to beat him up in high school. But after watching one of Ippo’s matches, Umezawa became a fan and their best friend. When Ippo thought about quitting boxing to help with his family’s fishing business, Umezawa offered to work for them so Ippo could keep boxing. He also became Ippo’s top supporter. When Umezawa decided to leave for his manga career, Ippo told him they were best friends.

Ippo and Masahiko Umezawa

Ippo and Masahiko Umezawa

Kumi Mashiba is Ippo’s love interest, and they first met at her store. They didn’t see each other for a while until Ippo’s hospitalization after a match, which revealed her feelings for him. They started hanging out and going on dates, but Ippo’s shyness and Mashiba’s interference kept their romantic relationship from growing. Kumi hasn’t explicitly said she likes Ippo, but she hints at it.

Mari Īmura is a sports writer who works for the same magazine as Fujii. She wasn’t interested in Japanese boxers initially but became interested in Ippo right away. She frequently covers Ippo’s matches and the opponents he’s going to face. As time passes, she develops romantic feelings for Ippo and provides him with moral support. This support was especially important when Ippo considered retiring after the match with Miyata fell through.

Minoru Fujii is like Ippo’s first fan. When they first met, Fujii didn’t have high expectations for Ippo. But after watching Ippo’s spar with Miyata, he became a dedicated follower. He often provided Ippo with information about his opponents to help him in his boxing career.

Personality

When he was a kid, Ippo was shy, kind, and stubborn. He was strong, too. These traits stuck with him as he grew up. He’s a gentle person who doesn’t like fighting, and he was bullied since he was little. He’d come home after school, trying not to cry, and tell his mum everything was okay, even when it wasn’t. Even though he’s tough and brave in the boxing ring, outside, he’s quite timid. He’s humble, especially around his boxing rivals. For instance, even though he beat Mashiba and Sendō, he’s still scared of Mashiba and avoids talking about a rematch with Sendō. He even used to feel scared of Umezawa, who used to bully him, long after he started boxing. He looks up to gym mates like Takamura and Date, and he is shocked when Ricardo asks to spar with him. Ippo is friendly and has made friends with many of his rivals, like Miyata, Sendō, Date, Sanada, Volg, and Kobashi. He’s well-liked by his gym mates, especially Takamura, Aoki, and Kimura. Even though he still has a kid’s personality, he’s a good senpai for his kōhai Itagaki. Ippo is a bit slow when it comes to love. He’s innocent and shy, and he’s dating Kumi, who likes him too. But their relationship isn’t moving forward much, partly because of Kumi’s protective brother Mashiba, a nosy reporter named Mari, and Ippo’s friends’ interference. Normally, Ippo doesn’t get angry before a fight, even if his opponent insults him or boxing. But there are times when he does get mad. Like when he saw an opponent, Sawamura, play dirty, or when that same guy hurt Kumi. Another time, an opponent, Kojima, insulted Ippo’s past opponents and his coach Kamogawa. That ticked Ippo off, and he got a new attitude about the match. He also stands up against bullies and isn’t afraid to help those in need. Sometimes, because of his gym mates’ influence, he can be a bit of a pervert, but it’s not on purpose. Takamura says Ippo’s thoughts turn to women when his nose swells up. His MBTI personality is of an ISJF nature.

Eyes of courage shown by Ippo

Eyes of courage shown by Ippo

Outfit

Ippo’s clothing style is simple and comfortable. He often wears plain t-shirts, shirts, and buttoned-up shirts in various colours, including checkered shirts. For his lower body, he opts for blue jeans or black pants, and in the summer, he may go for shorts to beat the heat. During his high school days, Ippo sported a black gakuran with yellow buttons over a white buttoned-up shirt, paired with white shoes. When he’s at the Kamogawa gym or training his students, Ippo can be seen wearing shirts that proudly display the gym’s name. For his roadwork, which is an essential part of his training, he dons a blue and white jogging suit, a thoughtful gift from Kumi to keep him comfortable during his runs.

Ippo in his usual clothes at home

Ippo in his usual clothes at home

Ippo wearing the tracksuit given to him by Kumi

Ippo wearing the tracksuit given to him by Kumi

During his matches, he wears a pair of boxing shorts which are blue and white coloured, and have stars on them, that show his wins in his boxing matches along with a blue pair of boxing shoes. On the other side, he has the shape of a paw and on the back side the promotional name of “Makunouchi Boat Rentals” is written in Japanese. At the beginning of his career, he used to wear red and white boxers.

Ippo's boxing shorts

Ippo’s boxing shorts

Abilities

Skills

Physical Ability

Ippo’s boxing style is all about powerful punches. He’s known for his incredibly strong punches, and he has a 100% knockout rate, meaning he often ends fights with a TKO. His punches are so powerful that they can break bones, make opponents bleed, and even send them flying across the ring. Before he even started boxing at the Kamogawa gym, Ippo had impressive strength. He trained hard to make his punches even stronger. He used weight training, hit logs and wooden blocks, and even wore heavy weights to get stronger. Ippo’s punches are so strong that he can knock out opponents who are much heavier than him. In sparring matches, he’s taken down boxers from much higher-weight classes. His punches are like bricks or hollow blocks, and he’s known for his strong lower body, which helps him deliver fast and powerful punches.

Ippo's physcial strength

Ippo’s physical strength

Speed

Ippo might not have fancy footwork, but he’s incredibly fast when he dashes towards his opponents. This speed is one of his best weapons and helps him close the gap between him and taller or bigger fighters. He’s worked hard to make his dash even faster, using ankle weights to improve it. Miyata even described his dash speed as world-class. Ippo’s hand speed is also impressive, and he throws quick combinations of punches one after the other. Even before he became a boxer, people noticed how fast his jabs were during his first spar with Miyata. During his retirement, his punches were so fast that he could compete at the world level, and he could match the hand speed of a top-ranked world boxer once he removed his wrist weights.

Ippo and Takamura competing in roadwork

Ippo and Takamura competing in roadwork

Stamina

Ippo’s stamina is one of his biggest strengths as a boxer. He worked hard every day to build it up, and it’s better than almost anyone else in his division. Among his gym mates, his stamina was second only to Takamura for a while. But even after he retired from boxing, his stamina is still on par with Takamura’s. They ran together for a long distance at their highest speed, and Ippo had his weight straps on. His stamina has left a strong impression on his opponents in many of his matches. When he fought Kazuki Sanada, the former champion was surprised by how quickly Ippo recovered. And when he fought Alfredo, a veteran world ranker, he couldn’t believe how Ippo kept throwing lots of powerful punches in the last round of the match. Also, his stamina has also helped him win fights. It was a key factor in his victory over the amateur world champion Volg in the Class A Tournament finals. And it allowed him to compete in a long punching match with Iwao Shimabukuro, who’s known for his incredible endurance.

Technique

Ippo might not be the best at fancy boxing moves, but he’s good at the basics. Even before he started boxing at Kamogawa Gym, he was impressing his coach with his uppercuts. When he fights less experienced boxers, he shows his smart boxing skills. He can figure out their moves and use clever tricks to win. But he also could come up with his self-made special moves. One of them is the Dempsey Roll, which was used by him out of pure instinct and he later on made it even better with the New Dempsey Roll. Even after he stopped boxing, he kept learning and got even better at boxing techniques. He learned a move called the Parry Counter and even impressed a champion boxer with it.

Ippo using Peek-a-boo technique

Ippo using the Peek-a-boo technique

Willpower and Intelligence

Ippo uses his willpower and intelligence in every fight to make use of his abilities to the best. He used to get really good grades in school, and his teacher said he could go to any college he wanted. In boxing, he’s like a detective. He studies his opponents and figures out their strengths and weaknesses. He comes up with plans to beat them and he is also able to adapt in the ring. For example, when he fought Mashiba, he quickly learned how to deal with Mashiba’s tricky punches. And when he fought Sawamura, who played dirty, Ippo didn’t let it bother him. Even when he’s not boxing, he’s learning about the sport. He trained another boxer, Kimura, and learned about weight management and power. He even thought about how to beat the world champion, Ricardo, a hundred times in his head to come up with a plan.

Strength

Ippo has several strengths that make him a formidable boxer:

  • Incredible Punching Power: Ippo’s most outstanding strength is his punching power. He has a natural gift for delivering devastating blows. His fists are like bricks, and his punches can break bones, leave marks, and even knock out opponents from higher-weight classes.
  • Blazing Speed: Ippo is incredibly fast, both with his hands and his feet. His dash speed, the ability to close the distance between him and his opponent, is world-class. He can throw quick combinations of punches in succession, making him a formidable opponent.
  • Exceptional Stamina: Ippo’s stamina is second to none in his division. He can maintain a high work rate throughout a fight, recovering quickly and keeping the pressure on his opponents.
  • Adaptability: Ippo is an excellent strategist. He can quickly analyze his opponent’s strengths and weaknesses and adjust his tactics accordingly. He’s known for adapting to adverse situations and finding ways to overcome challenges in the ring.
  • Strong Will and Determination: Ippo’s determination is a significant strength. He never gives up, no matter how tough the fight gets. His will to win and keep moving forward is a key asset.
  • Constant Improvement: Ippo is always looking to improve. Even in his retirement, he continued to refine his skills and learn new techniques, making him a better trainer and a more well-rounded boxer.
  • Mental Toughness: Ippo can stay calm and focused under pressure. He doesn’t let emotions get the best of him during a fight, which is a crucial strength in the boxing world.

Weakness

Ippo has some weaknesses that he has had to work on during his boxing career:

  • Struggles with the Dempsey Roll: Ippo’s signature move, the Dempsey Roll, often left him vulnerable to counterattacks. This vulnerability led to defeats and injuries, showing that his technique had its limitations.
  • Overreliance on Power: Ippo tends to rely heavily on his incredible punching power, sometimes neglecting other aspects of his boxing. This overreliance on power can be a vulnerability against opponents with more technical skills.
  • Lack of Experience: In the early stages of his career, Ippo had limited experience in the world of professional boxing. This lack of experience made him susceptible to various tactics and strategies used by more seasoned opponents.
  • Close-range fighter: One of his weaknesses is that he needs to get close to his opponents to fight them. When he gets in close, he can hit them with his strong punches. But, this also puts him at a risk of getting hit a lot because he’s so close. He usually takes a lot of damage during every fight which also causes him to take longer time to recover after every fight.

Equipment

He wears red 12-ounce gloves along with a blue pair of boxing shorts and boxing shoes or a red pair of the same.

Ippo wearing his boxing gloves

Ippo wearing his boxing gloves

Signature Moves

Ippo’s signature move is called the Dempsey Roll. It is a super-fast punch combo that he uses in the ring while taking a mid-range distance and lower stance. He twists his body side to side and throws a barrage of punches in a pendulum motion. The Dempsey Roll is a powerful and tricky move that helps Ippo win his fights.

Ippo using his signature move, The Dempsey Roll

Ippo using his signature move, The Dempsey Roll

Appearances in Popular Media

Ippo made his debut in the manga in Chapter One, “Round 1” on 11 October 1989.

Ippo's first appearance in Anime

Ippo’s first appearance in Anime

He made his debut in the anime in episode One, “Round 1” on 4 October 2000.

Ippo in the manga cover of chapter 1

Ippo in the manga cover of chapter 1

Films

  • Fighting Spirit: Champion Road 2003

    Ippo in the movie, Fighting Spirit Champion Road 2003

    Ippo in the movie, Fighting Spirit Champion Road 2003

Other Media

Video Games

  • Hajime no Ippo Nintendo 2002

    Hajime no Ippo Nintendo

    Hajime no Ippo Nintendo

  • Hajime no Ippo Nintendo DS 2008
  • Sunday x Magazine Hot Fight! Dream Nine Nintendo DS 2009
  • Sunday & Magazine WHITE COMIC Nintendo DS 2009
  • Hajime no Ippo: Revolution Nintendo Wii 2007
  • Hajime no Ippo PlayStation 1997

    Hajime no Ippo PlayStation 1997

    Hajime no Ippo PlayStation 1997

  • Hajime no Ippo: Victorious Boxers PlayStation 2 2001

    Hajime no Ippo Victorious Boxers

    Hajime no Ippo Victorious Boxers

  • Hajime no Ippo 2: Victorious Road PlayStation 2 2004

    Hajime no Ippo 2 Victorious Road

    Hajime no Ippo 2 Victorious Road

  • Hajime no Ippo: ALL☆STARS PlayStation 2 2006
  • Hajime no Ippo Portable: Victorious Spirits PSP 2007

    Hajime no Ippo Portable Victorious Spirits

    Hajime no Ippo Portable Victorious Spirits

  • Sunday vs Magazine: Shūketsu! Chōjō Daikessen PSP 2009
  • Hajime no Ippo: THE TYPING! Computer 2001

    Hajime no Ippo THE TYPING

    Hajime no Ippo THE TYPING

  • Hajime no Ippo: THE TYPING! 2nd Step Computer 2002
  • Hajime no Ippo Computer 2011
  • Hajime no Ippo PlayStation 3 2014

    Hajime no Ippo PlayStation 3

    Hajime no Ippo PlayStation 3

  • Hajime no Ippo: The Champions! Mobile 2012
  • Hajime no Ippo: Fighting Souls Mobile 2020
  • Koshien Pocket 2016
  • Puzzles & Dragons app game (collaboration) 2018
  • Tansha no Tora (collaboration event) 2019
  • Hard Puncher Hajime no Ippo Arcade 2001
  • Hard Puncher Hajime no Ippo 2: The Challenge to Champion Arcade 2002

Voice Actors

The English voice actor of Ippo is Steve Staley. The Japanese voice actors are Kiyasu Kohei and Kokuryu Sachi.

Ippo's Japanese voice actor

Ippo’s Japanese voice actor

Ippo's english voice actor

Ippo’s English voice actor

  • French: Susan Sindberg and Alexandre Nguyen
  • Korean: Jang Kim
  • Spanish: Gabriel Ramon
  • Filipino: Fourth Brillante Lee

Reviews/Reception

“Hajime no Ippo” won an award for being a great manga in 1991. It also got a special award in 2019 for Kodansha’s long history. In a poll in 2021, it ranked 47th among the top 100 manga series as voted by fans. The manga had over 100 million copies in circulation by July 2023. People really like it! The anime series also did very well. Reviewers loved it, saying it’s one of the best sports anime. Some even called it underrated. IGN, a big entertainment site, listed “Hajime no Ippo: Rising” as one of the best anime series in the 2010s.

Favourites

  • Food: Freshly baked buns
  • Boxers: Mamoru Takamura and Mike Tyson
  • Punch: Right straight
  • The place to fight: Kōrakuen Hall

Facts/Trivia

  • Ippo’s birthday falls on 23 November every year which is also Japan’s Labour Thanksgiving Day.
  • Ippo is not good at driving cars, but he’s good at steering boats. He’s not great at playing baseball or editing manga. He’s not seen catching fish, but he goes fishing a lot. Surprisingly, in Chapter 1158, it’s shown that Ippo is good at bowling. His friends think it’s because the words “bowling” and “boxing” are similar.

    Ippo enjoys bowling

    Ippo enjoys bowling

  • In a simulated fight between Ippo and the main character from Ashita no Joe, Ippo won in the fifth round by knockout with a Liver Blow. This was a virtual fight and not a real one.
  • Despite being a featherweight boxer at 126 pounds, Ippo achieved a remarkable feat by knocking out an opponent who was two weight classes heavier than him with a single punch, sending them flipping through the air. He also proved his strength by giving Takamura, a middleweight, a tough challenge in an arm wrestling match.

    Ippo and Takamura's arm wresting match

    Ippo and Takamura’s arm wrestling match

  • In volume 99, it’s shown that Ippo has impressive hand-eye coordination. He can catch about 23 leaves with both of his hands and around 11 of them are caught with his left hand. Additionally, he’s strong enough to carry 8 boxes filled with fish.

    Ippo carrying heavy boxes

    Ippo carrying heavy boxes

  • Ippo had quite a record of not getting knocked down in a fight since his match with Sanada, a total of 10 matches in a row. Interestingly, the first two opponents who defeated Ippo, Date and Alfredo, both experienced defeats at the hands of Ricardo Martínez, who beat them twice. Also, both Date and Alfredo had previously fought Ricardo before. This has been considered a fascinating chain of events in the boxing world.

Add Comment