He is a featherweight professional boxer renowned for his speed and genius boxing talent. His trainer is Shinoda Tomoyuki. He, along with Makunouchi Ippo, Takamura Mamoru, Aoki Masaru, and Kimura Tatsuya, round out the core members of the Kamogawa Boxing Gym.
His surname is Itagaki. In Japan, surnames are listed before given names.
Itagaki originally tried out and prevailed at many sports, but when he tried boxing he came across Imai Kyōsuke and was defeated by him 3 times. In order to defeat him no matter what, he skipped college and instead joined the Kamogawa Boxing Gym, where his idol, Ippo, trained.
Itagaki arrives at the gym, noting the good sounds his senpai, Ippo is making while training. He is introduced to the gym by Yagi as the Inter-High National second. Itagaki then takes on the gym's customary new member roadwork, which he passed everyone but Ippo, who he kept up with. Everyone returns to the gym and watches Ippo's next opponent's match on tape. Itagaki believes Yamada Naomichi will be easy to defeat, not knowing about Yamada's bond with Ippo. Itagaki then watches the matches for Aoki and Ippo. After Ippo's match, Yamada tries to greet Ippo, however he sees his new senpai, Itagaki celebrating with him.
As Itagaki has his debut match scheduled to be the opener for Takamura Mamoru's main event, he, Kimura Tatsuya (who is in the semi-final in the same card), and Takamura goes to the training camp at the beach. At night at the training camp, Itagaki follows Takamura, who is spying on a couple at the beach. When Takamura fondles the female's breast, fireworks light up the beach and they realise that the couple are Aoki and Tomiko, Itagaki runs away with Kimura. The next day, after Itagaki spars with Kimura, he spars with Ippo, which resulted in him passing out after falling four times in three rounds. At the last night of training, everyone watches the fireworks.
After Umezawa Masahiko retired from the Makunouchi Fishing Boat in order to pursue his own dreams, Itagaki took over his job and started receiving the same kind of work training that Ippo goes through. He achieved revenge on Makino Fumito, who had defeated him in his debut match with a foul, in the opening round of the East Japan Rookie Kings. At the finals, after a tough fight with Imai, Itagaki captured the East Japan Rookie King title and seemingly tapped into his true fighting potential; his speed, reflexes and timing are now said to be at genius levels.
He knocked out the West Japan Rookie King, Hoshi Hiroyuki, with just a few blows, and recently defeated two of the fastest characters in the series in the Class A Tournament: Karasawa Takuzou and Saeki Takuma. Both had lost to Ippo in the past, so he made it his goal to KO both of them faster than Ippo (which he did). After winning that tournament he gained the attention of the OPBF Champion, Miyata Ichirō, as well as the number 1 ranking in Japan. At some point Eiji's baton was passed down to him by Ippo.
After his fight with Karasawa Takuzou, Itagaki seemed to undergo a bout of insanity to the point that, without realizing it, he reached out to Ippo with what seemed to be a murderous air about him. Luckily, his towel fell, and he caught himself. but for now he doesn't know what he was feeling then.
With Ippo relinquishing his title to take on the world, a rematch with number 2 ranking and long time rival Imai was scheduled to decide the new JBC featherweight champion. Although it was a title match, because Itagaki had conquered his goal in the Class A tournament to beat Ippo's KO times against Saeki and Karasawa, as well as because he had defeated Imai before, he went into the match extremely overconfident. With a dazzling strategy, Kyousuke trapped Itagaki in the corner and wore him out with various body blows, eventually KOing Itagaki in the first round. Afterward, Itagaki acted like a good sportsman, but in truth he was disappointed in himself for letting down Ippo and dropping Date's baton.
|16||WIN||14-2-0||Unknown||UD||8(8), 3:00||1999||Tokyo, Japan||N/A|
|15||WIN||13-2-0||Unknown||UD||10(10), 3:00||1998||Tokyo, Japan||Second Comeback Match|
|14||LOSS||12-2-0||Imai Kyōsuke||TKO||1(10), 1:00||1998-03-21||Tokyo, Japan|| "GO TO THE WORLD!"|
Undercard JBC Featherweight
|13||WIN||12-1-0||Saeki Takuma||KO||4(10), 1:28||1997-10||Tokyo, Japan||Class-A Tournament Finals|
|12||WIN||11-1-0||Karasawa Takuzou||KO||2(10), 2:13||1997-09||Tokyo, Japan|| Class-A Tournament First Round|
Rose to 6th rank
|11||WIN||10-1-0||Gaonā Pachiyoso||KO||2(10)||1997-02||Tokyo, Japan|| Tune-Up Match|
Enter Class A-Tournament
|10||WIN||9-1-0||Alex Harker||KO||1(10)||1996-09||Tokyo, Japan||N/A|
|9||WIN||8-1-0||Hoshi Hiroyuki||KO||1(10)||1996-06||Osaka, Japan||N/A|
|8||WIN||7-1-0||Unknown||UD||6(6), 3:00||1996||Tokyo, Japan||N/A|
|7||WIN||6-1-0||Imai Kyōsuke||UD||6(6), 3:00||1995-11||Tokyo, Japan||East Japan Rookie King Tournament Finals|
|6||WIN||5-1-0||Makino Fumito||TKO||2(4)||1995-09||Tokyo, Japan||East Japan Rookie King Tournament Semi-Finals|
|5||WIN||4-1-0||Unknown||KO||?(4)||1995-06||Tokyo, Japan||East Japan Rookie King Tournament Quarter-Finals|
|4||WIN||3-1-0||Unknown||KO||2(4)||1995||Tokyo, Japan||East Japan Rookie King Tournament Round 2|
|3||WIN||2-1-0||Unknown||KO||4(4), 2:35||1995||Tokyo, Japan||East Japan Rookie King Tournament Round 1|
|2||WIN||1-1-0||Unknown||KO||1(4)||1995||Tokyo, Japan||First Comeback Match|
|1||LOSS||0-1-0||Makino Fumito||TKO||1(4), 1:13||1994-10-14||Tokyo, Japan||Pro Debut|
This list does not include the numerous spars Itagaki has had with his fellow gymmates.
- Amateur Matchs: ?-?-3-? (? KO)
|Preceded by||Title||Succeeded by|
|Karasawa Takuzou||East Japan Featherweight Rookie King||Unknown|
Itagaki has a very toned and lean build suitable for both his weight class and fighting style. He has brown hair that stretches to the base of his neck, thin eyebrows and matching dark-colored eyes. He seems to favor wearing headbands to keep his oversized bangs from obscuring his vision.
The newest member of the Kamogawa troupe is a remarkably friendly and cheerful young man. Itagaki's open personality allows him to get along with just about anyone, including and especially the fearsome Mashiba Ryō. Beneath his disposition lies a bitterness toward rival Imai Kyōsuke (despite the latter viewing him as a friend) and the losses he experienced in the past. As opposed to Ippo, Itagaki has proven himself to be immature and overconfident of his speed and flexibility. He is rarely ever afraid of other characters.
Despite Ippo being his senpai, Itagaki often watches after him like an older brother, defending him during discussions about boxing and reassuring him when he loses confidence. He is attracted to Mashiba Kumi, though he tries to keep this a secret from Ippo and has never made a romantic advance on her out of respect for her and Ippo's relationship. He respects Ippo a great deal, but in truth, he is jealous of him and desires much of Ippo's fortune. Currently, Itagaki has made beating Ippo's KO times his primary goal. It is his unique way of challenging his idol.
Like the rest of his family, Itagaki possesses a terrible sense of humor and has the tendency to crack some lame puns. He states that this "Itagaki Family Way" is what keeps their family cheery from their poor financial situation.
He has an amazing boxing sense and is considered by many to be a genius of the sport. His depth perception, reflexes, and timing are all far above average. He has gone through several matches with his opponent completely unable to even touch him. He has been seen avoiding Mashiba Ryō's deadly Flicker Jabs in sparring sessions, and Mashiba claims that his speed even exceeds Miyata Ichirō's. His only weakness appears to be his small body's inability to withstand pain.
Like Miyata, Itagaki has weak punches, meaning that he doesn't have a punch that can severely injure an opponent. Although he has several KO victories in his record, he was never able to KO or even KD the fighter-type Imai Kyōsuke who was a hard-puncher. He also has a fragile body and is susceptible to body blows.
Like his genius boxer predecessor Hayami Ryūichi, he is notoriously cocky. Nearly all of his matches ended up troublesome when he decided to do something flashy or unnecessarily risky, such as experimenting with someone else's signature punch in the middle of a match. In the case of his title match with Imai, he lost because he didn't take Imai seriously, which resulted in him getting pinned down at the ring of the bell in his corner, where Imai had complete control. In the case of his Class A tournament matches, his eagerness to beat Ippo's KO times was the sole reason he had trouble at all.
It should also be noted that Itagaki sometimes has difficulties focusing during his matches, which in his case significantly decreases his performance. In the words of Shinoda: "His true strength only manifests when he's relaxed and focuses his concentration to its upper limits. That's what lets him use his true potential".
According to Mashiba, and as demonstrated during the Karasawa match, Itagaki adopts a repetitive pattern of moving forward and backward from his opponent when he becomes frustrated.
- Itagaki didn't win the title of All Japan Rookie King championship because his fight with Imai Kyōsuke had left him in a bad condition for a long time, and unable to meet the deadline of the final match. However, after defeating Hoshi Hiroyuki, the boxer he should have fought for the title, many characters now consider him the All Japan Rookie King.
- Itagaki falls into the Speed Triangle, which consists of fellow Japanese Boxers Saeki Takuma and Ichiro Miyata, who are all gifted with almost superhuman speed and footwork.
- When entering the ring, he always jumps onto the corner post and shouts "Ita--gakiiin!!!", simultaneously making the pose from the anime Magnerobo Ga-Kiin. "Gaakiiin" is short for gathering energy. After sweep wins he is known to perform a backflip in his corner.
- Although he and Imai Kyousuke purport to dislike each other, they still refer to each other by their first names, "Manabu" and "Kyousuke".
- Itagaki is based on "Sugar" Ray Leonard, one of the fastest boxers of all-time.
- His "Ali Shuffle" comes from the taunting tactic performed by former World Champion Muhammad Ali. Both Ali and Leonard were trained by the same person and were known for their speed and exceptional outboxing skills.
- The new nickname "Chronos" that the commentator gave him during one of his recent matches, was because of his incredible speed. ("Chronos" - "Χρόνος", which means "time" or "year" in Greek), comes from the Greek Mythology, Chronos, who was imagined as the god or entity of time. As the commentator said when Itagaki jumped in the ring, "They call him Chronos, the god who rules over time itself.
- Itagaki is probably modelled after pro boxer Manabu Fukushima from Morikawa's JB Sports Gym. They share a lot of similarities like height, birthday, same "Manabu" name, and even looks. Morikawa was a second for a few of Fukushima's matches like his world title match.
- ↑ Ch.715, p.14