This article covers the Hajime No Ippo series' rendition of the Dempsey Roll. For more information on the original creator and user of the Dempsey Roll see Wikipedia:Jack Dempsey.
Dempsey Roll
User(s) Makunouchi Ippo
Real-Life User(s) Jack Dempsey
First Appearance
Manga Round 213
Anime Round 62 (The Fighting)
Similar Technique(s)
Similar technique(s) Hook
New Dempsey Roll
Free Form Dempsey Roll

The Dempsey Roll (ザ ·デンプシー ·ロール, lit. za denpushī rōru) was a technique developed and used by real-life boxer William Harrison "Jack" Dempsey. In Hajime no Ippo it was adapted by featherweight boxer Makunouchi Ippo and subsequently became the latter's ever-evolving signature move.


The user lowers their stance and central balance and begins to aggressively weave their body in a pattern similar to the shape of a figure eight, making it increasingly difficult for the opponent to trace their movements accurately. The user then fires (starting from either left or right) a series of rapidly executed punches whilst continuing their bobbing and weaving, catching the target in a high paced barrage of punches that few succeed on escaping from. As the Dempsey Roll is a flurry of hooks throw with the fighters full body weight behind them, few fighters can withstand it should it land successfully, particularly if it isn't guarded against.

Ippo's development in the series have allowed him to bring the Dempsey Roll to newer, stronger and less predictable levels of strength.

Strengths & WeaknessesEdit


The full movement of the original unevolved dempsey roll.

The major factor of the Dempsey Roll's strength comes from weight shifting and full rotation to the back and hips, allowing powerful hits to be landed on the target's blind spots. The bobbing aspect takes the boxer to the further parts of the other person's vision and thus it is possible for an experienced Dempsey Roll user to hit their opponents without being seen.

However, it is also mentioned in the series by experienced trainer Kamogawa Genji and genius counter puncher Miyata Ichirou that the Dempsey Roll is easy to counter and avoid due to its predictable and highly readable repetitive rhythm as well as pace.

The first character to counter it is world champion Ricardo Martinez, who simply jabbed at Ippo while he was weaving until he stopped.

Shimabukuro Iwao understood this, but being a fighter-type he did not possess the speed or skill to counter the Dempsey Roll. Instead, he stopped the Dempsey Roll by matching it blow-for-blow.

Itagaki Manabu identified the technique's weakness and, in order to help Makunouchi, developed the counter that was likely to be used against him. Kimura Tatsuya was able to get the timing right in a spar against Makunouchi, but he backed off, stating that it took an incredible amount of courage to face the Dempsey Roll. Itagaki's counter was later passed to Alexander Volg Zangief, who knocked out Makunouchi in a spar.

The technique was to lean away from the Dempsey Roll. As the attacks come from blind spots, leaning back would increase the field of view, making it simple to see and therefore treating it like a regular hook.

Sawamura Ryuuhei is the first person seen to be able to counter the technique effectively during a match. Following Sawamura's example, Karasawa Takuzou is also said to have developed a strategy to counter this technique, forcing Ippo to seal the Dempsey Roll temporarily to improve his basic techniques.

Ironically, the Dempsey Roll's biggest weakness is itself: the fact that it was so powerful meant that every boxer would develop and learn the counter. Unknowingly, Ippo's improving of his standard boxing techniques allows him to progress the Dempsey Roll's strength even further, which may one day overcome this weaknesses.



  • In the manga, Ippo began theorizing the Dempsey Roll while watching how Mike Tyson bobbed his head and used the momentum to punch.[1] This scene was omitted in the anime.

See AlsoEdit


  1. Chapter 209

Start a Discussion Discussions about Dempsey Roll

  • Live action Dempsey Roll by Daisuke Naito

    3 messages
    • Hehe, nice find. Though the comments on the video are kinda retarded, for example > "Dempsey roll my ass. Thats the gazelle punch. Demp...
    • Youtube commenters don't exist in my mind. Flies on the wall.

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