He is a Featherweight out 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.
|Japanese Name||板垣 学|
|Birth date||August 14, 1975|
|Family|| Itagaki's Father|
Nanako (little sister)
|Occupation||Makunouchi Fishing Boat worker|
|Current Affiliation||Kamogawa Boxing Gym|
|Rank|| 1 (JBC)|
|Wins by KO||10|
|Championships||East Japan Rookie King|
|Anime||Round 9 (New Challenger)|
|Voice Actor||Namikawa Daisuke|
Itagaki originally tried out and prevailed at many sports, but when he tried boxing he came across Imai Kyousuke 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.
After Umezawa Masahiko retired from the Makunouchi Fishing Boat in order to pursue his own dreams, Itagaki took over his job and started receving 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 Ichirou, as well as the number 1 ranking in Japan. At some point Date'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.
|LOSS||Imai Kyousuke||TKO||1(10)||1998-03-21||Tokyo, Japan||"Go To The World!" Undercard Japanese Featherweight Title|
|WIN||Saeki Takuma||KO||4(6), 1:28||N/A||Tokyo, Japan||Class-A Tournament Finals|
Class-A Tournament Round 1 (became rank #6)
|WIN||KO||2(10)||1996-09||Tune-up fight before Class-A Tournament|
|WIN||Hoshi Hiroyuki||KO||1(10)||1996-06||Osaka, Japan|
|WIN||Imai Kyousuke||Decision||6(6), 3:00||1995-11||Tokyo, Japan||East Japan Rookie King Tournament Finals|
|WIN||Makino Fumito||KO||2(4)||1995-09||Tokyo, Japan||East Japan Rookie King Tournament Semi-Finals|
|WIN||Kiba Tetsuji||KO||?(4)||1995-06||Tokyo, Japan||East Japan Rookie King Tournament Quarter-Finals|
|WIN||Urayasu Yoshiharu||KO||2(4)||1995||Tokyo, Japan||East Japan Rookie King Tournament Round 2|
|WIN||Nakayama Tadashi||KO||4(4), 2:35||1995||Tokyo, Japan||East Japan Rookie King Tournament Round 1|
|WIN||Baraki Haseo||KO||1(4)||1995||Tokyo, Japan|
|LOSS||Makino Fumito||TKO||1(4)||1994-10-14||Tokyo, Japan||Pro Debut|
|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.
|(after Saeki match)||Speed King||N/A||The Speed King|
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 Ryou. Beneath his disposition lies a bitterness toward rival Imai Kyousuke (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.
Fighting StyleEditItagaki is based on "Sugar" Ray Leonard. 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 Ryou's deadly Flicker Jabs in sparring sessions, and Mashiba claims that his speed even exceeds Miyata Ichirou's. His only weakness appears to be his small body's inability to withstand pain.
- Jolt Counter
- Bullet Time
- Neck spin
- Dragon Fish Blow
- Ali Shuffle
- Itagaki Shuffle (Full Body Feint)
- Liver Blow
Like Miyata, Itagaki has weak punches; he doesn't have any one punch that can severely injure an opponent. Although he has several KO wins to his record, he was never able to KO or even KD the fighter-type Imai Kyousuke.
Itagaki also has a fragile body and is susceptible to body blows. Furthermore, like his genius boxer predecessor Hayami Ryuuichi, he is notoriously cocky. Nearly all of his matches ended up troublesome when he decided to do something flashy or unnecessarily risky. He doesn't hestitate to experiment and try someone else's signature punches 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.
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 Kyousuke 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".