Alexander Volg Zangief (アレクサンドル・ヴォルグ・ザンギエフ, lit. arekusandoru vuorugu zangiefu) is a recurring character in Hajime no Ippo.
He hails from an unspecified location at the edge of Russia and leaves behind a very sick mother when traveling to Japan in hopes of earning enough money to pay for her medical care. He is currently the IBF Junior Lightweight champion.
As a child, Volg lived at an unspecified location mentioned only to be on the very edge of Russia. There, he lived with his very sick mother whom he adored and cared for very much. Unfortunately, his mother's sickly condition and Russia's cold climate keeps her bedridden and extremely ill. Determined, Volg constantly finds himself trekking to the nearest hospital. On one such occasion he finds a wolf and laments on his own weakness, expressing his want to become as strong as a wolf to protect his mother.
Some time later he is found by his coach, who discovered the hidden boxing talent in Volg and strived to bring it out to its full potential. Eventually, grooming Volg into one of the finest and strongest fighters in boxing history, gaining many victories and no losses whatsoever, making Volg an esteemed amateur champion.
Volg is then seen in Japan, signing up for the Class-A Tournaments along with Makunouchi Ippo and Saeki Takuma. It is made known at this point that only four participants were to fight in the tournament this year, with the remaining three boxers backing out due to the fact that Volg was participating. A televised interview with Volg then revealed that he wanted to claim Date Eiji's belt.
A short while before the match Volg meets Ippo in the metro station, completely lost and unable to find his way home due to inability to understand Japanese. Ippo realizes who Volg is rather quickly, and the two engage in conversation about why either started boxing. After exchanging confident remarks on the outcome of their upcoming battle, Ippo and Volg part ways. (Ippo nearly forgot Volg needed help at this point, and hastily rushed back to give Volg directions)
Volg is then seen in his match against Ippo. A match he dominated with superior skill and raw talent. However, Ippo's guts and knack for making spectacular comebacks in the worse situations catches Volg off-guard. Volg pushes Ippo to the limit and nearly knocks Ippo out, but Ippo manages to dodge Volg's finishing blow and knocks Volg out with a perfectly timed Gazelle Punch. He later visits Ippo in the hospital, only to bump into the latter's mother. Apologizing profusely, Volg is given encouragement and a new goal from Ippo's mother, who reminds him of his own mother in Russia. He then leaves the hospital with a new goal.
Shortly after his match against Ippo, Volg fights Sendō Takeshi for the vacant Japanese Featherweight title, a match he loses by decision due to Sendō fighting in his hometown Osaka. After losing to Sendō, Volg's popularity plummets and his manager becomes unable to find him any matches. He returns to Russia to spend time with his mother. At this point it is implied that he did not make enough money to pay for her healthcare.
Sometime later Volg's mother finally succumbed to her illness and passed away. Volg decided to travel to America and continue his boxing career. On his way to America, he makes a brief return to Japan, where he ends up staying in Ippo's residence and working for Makunouchi Fishing Boat to pay for expenses. He is again reminded of his own late mother.
During his stay, he trains at the Kamogawa Boxing Gym to polish his long unused boxing skills. Concerned with his upcoming match against Sawamura, Ippo wishes to spar against Volg, but Volg declines, stating that he has long lost his conditioning from lack of training. Kimura, Aoki and Itagaki, realising that Volg is the only one who has the skill and courage to face Ippo in the ring, begs him to prepare Ippo by using the countermeasure developed by Itagaki. He trains for the spar as if it were a real rematch. The spar is a short and intense one. Knowing that he doesn't have the stamina, Volg and Ippo unleash their signature punches and go all-out. Volg then faces Ippo's Dempsey Roll for the first time and realises its power. However, he follows Itagaki's instructions, stepping back to expose the technique's weakness: increasing the field of vision to remove blind spots and see Ippo's hooks. He then accomplishes what Kimura and Itagaki could not: facing the attack head-on, he lands a counter-punch and instantly knocks Ippo out.
Volg immediately leaves for his flight after the spar, with Kamogawa arranging contact with his former rival, Hama Dankichi, to train Volg in America. With Ippo still recovering at the gym, Volg says goodbye to Ippo's mother and emotionally asks her wish him luck in Russian as her son, with his reply to her as his mother. Umezawa drives him to the airport, and would eventually pass on the same mother/son greeting to Ippo before his next match, thinking it was a good luck charm.
In America, he trained under Hama and learned Hama's signature moves, the Hien and Tsubame Gaeshi. He fought the fourth ranker Eric Thompson and claimed his rank. After that his next appearance was a sparring match against the Indonesian Champion Wally, before Wally's fight with Makunouchi Ippo. Volg dominated in the sparring match, trapping Wally in the corner, but then Wally used his reflexes and momentum on the ropes to escape from the corner and counter-punch. Volg ended the match prematurely to avoid serious injuries before a big match. He later warned Ippo of Wally's boxing talent.
Volg then rose to first seed in the WBA, WBC, and IBF Junior Lightweight divisions. He was given a chance to challenge the reigning IBF Champion, Mike Elliot, as a replacement for someone else. This turned out to be a scheme to get him off the champion's list of mandatory opponents. Volg accepted the invitation despite the fact that he didn't have proper time to build a fighting condition (only one week). One reason was because he considered this to be his only chance to ever reach the top of the world. It is later revealed, however, that Volg purposely wanted to fight under the harshest conditions so that he could "shed this human facade [and] move on pure instinct." This match marked the first time since Takamura Mamoru vs. David Eagle that any character in the Ippo canon fought for a world title. Just like that fight, it was an explosive, high-leveled confrontation. But unlike that fight, it was very difficult and emotional for Volg.
After a rough start, Volg scored his first knockdown at five rounds into the match. However, the referee purposely slowed the count to give Mike time to recover, and even helped Mike to his feet. Enraged, Volg began executing a non-stop string of White Fangs -- 7 in total. Mike, who had seen the punch before, countered each of them, but not without getting hit in the process. After the final exchange, both boxers collapsed, Volg into the ropes, Mike into the canvas. Mike's corner then surrendered the fight.
As of chapter 1007, Volg has become the reigning IBF champion following his knockout victory over Mike Elliot.
|?||WIN||?-2-0||1997-02||Mike Elliot||Las Vegas, United States||5(12), 1:33||TKO||Wins IBF Junior Lightweight Championship|
|?||WIN||?-2-0||1995-10||Eric Thompson||Las Vegas, United States||2(10)||KO||Get IBF ranking 4th|
|5||LOSS||3-2-0||1993-04||Sendo Takeshi||Osaka, Japan||10(10), 3:00||Decision||Japanese Featherweight Title Match, highly controversial decision|
|4||LOSS||3-1-0||1992-10||Makunouchi Ippo||Tokyo, Japan||5(8), 1:21||KO||Class-A Tournament (Finals)|
|3||WIN||3-0-0||1992-07||Suzuki Toshio||Tokyo, Japan||1(6), 2:32||TKO||Class-A Tournament (Semi Finals)|
223-223-0-0 (223 KO)
|Preceded by||Title||Succeeded by|
|Mike Elliot||IBF Junior Lightweight World Championship|
February, 1997 - Current
|Unknown||Amateur World Championship||Unknown|
Volg is of Russian descent and possesses a relatively pale skin tone.. He grows his messy burgundy red hair to a medium length, keeping it just long enough to touch the base of his neck with one or two thick tufts resting on his forehead. He has eyebrows of moderate thickness and his pupils are blue in color. As a boxer, Volg also possesses a very muscular (but not overly large) build.
Volg is first seen in the ring and in an interview, showcasing his confidence by directly challenging Date Eiji for his Japanese belt. However, outside of the media Volg is shown to be kind and caring, genuinely worrying about his cold and sick mother back home in Russia. His knowledge of the Japanese language is weak, and Volg is often comically shown to speak expressively with his hands to convey meaning. He is also unable to read kanji.
Despite his demeanor outside of the media, it is also mentioned that Volg turns into a completely different person in the ring. He becomes brutal, possessing strength comparable to a wolf's and is shown to never relent until the referee halts him. When he does register a match's end however, Ippo makes a note that Volg shows no signs of happiness or relief, but sadness, hinting that Volg regrets hurting people in the ring, and that his wolf-like hunger is only controllable to minimal extent.
It is later revealed in a conversation between Volg and Ippo that he (Volg) hates boxing because he hates hurting people to get what he wants. However, amidst his fight against Ippo, Volg finally realizes that he does love boxing, and wonders what his mother would think of him now that he has lost to Ippo. Upon receiving encouragement from Makunouchi Hiroko, Volg leaves Ippo's hospital bed with the new goal of "trying his best, at everything from now on".
Volg is an amazing technician with great talent. He has perfected most of the basic boxing punches and his trademark finishing move is the White Fang, a lightning fast combination of a quick, hard uppercut followed by a chopping right. Volg hesitates to use this punch because it attacks the brain from both above and below, and can easily end a boxer's career. Volg is currently the 1st seed for the WBA Junior Lightweight division and, as a former amatuer world champion, Volg had an amazing record of : 223 wins, 223 KO victories and 0 losses with all his KO victories achieved before round 3.
Fighting Style and Techniques
Volg is one of the most conditioned fighters seen in the series. His boxing talent, sense, strength, speed, and reflexes are all honed to a razor sharp point. Coach Kamogawa mentioned that his coaching rival Dankichi would get his most boring project as there was little needed to teach Volg.
His skill is high in out-boxing, but not as high with in-fighting. It is mentioned by Coach Kamogawa that, had he fought in his natural out-boxing stance, Volg would've easily defeated Makunouchi Ippo, Sendō Takeshi, and even Date Eiji. In fact, Volg knocked out Ippo (who was then the Japanese champion and a world ranker) in a sparring match during his hiatus from pro boxing. Fighting as a hybrid boxer, Volg's signature move is White Fang, a quick powerful uppercut followed by an overhand that causes enough brain damage to end a boxer's career.
Because of Volg's extreme talent, he had never gone more than two rounds before his match with Ippo, and as a result he became tired much faster than Ippo. He seems to have repaired this weakness, however, since he was able to take Sendō to decision. In his fight with Mike Elliot, Ippo commented that Volg is not particularly durable, but despite that, he was able to hang on after taking many blows.
- Volg is the subject of great controversy. It is said that Volg boxed as an in-fighter in Japan to gain a following and please the crowds. But according to Kamogawa Genji, Volg would've probably won against Ippo, Sendō, and even Date Eiji had he used Out-Boxing, which is supposedly his natural style.
- Volg can speak Japanese, Russian, and English, making him the second-most multilingual character in the series behind Iimura Mari, who can speak Japanese, English, Spanish, and Indonesian.
- A large number of frames were devoted to highlighting Volg's turbulent past during his match with Mike Elliot, right before he executed his litany of White Fangs. This exact thing happened during Takamura's bout with Bryan Hawk before he snapped.
- Volg (Волг in Russian) sounds a lot like (Волк), which means wolf.
- When crowned champion in chapter 1007, Volg is shown wearing the WBA belt, but in chapter 1008 this is corrected and he's shown wearing the IBF belt. (Note - This only happened in the weekly releases for Shonen Magazine Weekly, it was later fixed in the volume when published.)
- Volg is based off real life boxer Yuri Arbachakov.
- Volg is one of the only characters to have win all fights by KO with Ippo Makunouchi, Takamura Mamoru, Kamogawa Genji, Jason Ozuma, Iwao Shimabukuro and Jimmy Sisphar.