Kobashi Kenta (小橋 健太, lit. kobashi kenta) is a character in Hajime no Ippo. He is a retired out boxer and former JBC Junior Featherweight Champion. His main fights in the series are against Makunouchi Ippo and Hayami Ryuuichi. He currently works as a boxing trainer affiliated with the Ohtaki Boxing Gym.
His surname is Kobashi. In Japan, surnames are listed before given names.
|Japanese Name||小橋 健太|
|Birth date||May 9, 1973|
|Occupation||Ohtaki Gym trainer|
|Weight Class||Junior Featherweight|
|Height||167.5 cm (5'5")|
|Reach||166.5 cm (65")|
|Current Affiliation||Ohtaki Boxing Gym|
|Date(s) Retired||ca. 1994|
|Wins by KO||1|
|Championships|| JBC Jr. Featherweight|
|Manga Debut||Round 38|
|Anime Debut||Round 16 (The Fighting)|
|Voice Actor||Matsuno Taiki|
First introduced when the members of the Kamogawa Boxing Gym watch boxing tapes of him in his matches, Aoki Masaru and Kimura Tatsuya both inform Ippo that Kobashi would be a "free pass" due to his dull tactics and lack of KO wins in the ring. Later, Ippo is seen returning a notebook that Kobashi dropped in front of the gym and, not knowing that the person who dropped the notebook was Kobashi, returned it in the friendliest of manners. He discovers moments later after Kobashi openly admits to spying on him and the two normally shy individuals become close acquaintances.
Kobashi is seen again in his match against Ippo. A match he decides to win through taking points once again before he, out of instinct, throws a powerful straight punch at Ippo, who in turn buckled from the unguarded attack. Kobashi, surprised at his own strength, then resolved to finish the match with his own two fists, wishing for a KO victory more than ever, he is knocked out by Ippo in the last seconds of the match. Kobashi is later seen in the resting room apologizing to his coach for losing. In turn, his coach informs him that the one straight he landed was a "great punch", and that Kobashi should start over again.
Some time later Kobashi defeats Hayami Ryuuichi and claims the JBC Junior Featherweight Title, only to end up relinquishing it without a single title defense. He subsequently becomes a trainer at the Ohtaki Boxing Gym.
|WIN||Hayami Ryuuichi||KO||8(10)||1994||Tokyo, Japan||Won Japanese Junior Featherweight title. Subsequently relinquished it and retired without a single title defense.|
|LOSS||Makunouchi Ippo||KO||4(4) 2:58||1991-08||Tokyo, Japan||East Japan Rookie King Tournament Quarter Finals|
|WIN||Yoshida Mitsuo||Decision||4(4)||1991-08||Tokyo, Japan||East Japan Rookie King Tournament Round 2|
|Preceded by||Title||Succeeded by|
|Sanada Kazuki||JBC Junior Featherweight Champion||
While muscular and average in height, Kobashi is known for his weak and fragile body despite being in the featherweight division. His appearance is largely without special quirks, with a pale skin tone and short black hair, he stands as one of the more plainly designed characters in the series. His eyebrows are of average thickness, matching the color of his dark eyes.
Kobashi, like Makunouchi Ippo, possesses an openly shy and mellow attitude. He is shown to be extremely uncomfortable around most people and displays a want to avoid any social interaction with others. However Kobashi has a (typically dormant) fighting spirit that occasionally emerges during matches, as seen in his match against Ippo where he, despite his fragile body, wanted to win against Ippo with a KO because he "felt it in his fist". After his loss Kobashi shows a very encouraging personality towards Ippo, whom he requests to win in the tournament for the sake of both he and Ippo's previous opponents.
Kobashi's boxing style is considered that of a lower key compared to other characters in the series. Not sharing the great skill of his fellow featherweight boxers, Kobashi usually relies on dull tactics such as simple jabs, footwork, clinches and a strong cross-arm block to achieve victory through points. While usually lacking hugely in power, Kobashi has shown some hidden potential for great strength in his match against Makunouchi Ippo, where he lands a surprisingly powerful straight on the latter.
- Cross-Arm Block
- Orthodox Boxing Techniques (most prominently the jab and on one occasion the straight)
Kobashi's physique is generally inferior. In particular, he lacks a strong punch -- a weakness brought up by his sparring partners and coach. Consequently, his fighting style focuses on winning by points.
Ironically, Kobashi's defeat against Makunouchi Ippo was the result of an innate desire to win by knockout. After a successful one-two, Kobashi abandoned his game plan of winning by points and attempts to fight toe-to-toe with Makunoichi, ultimately losing against the heavy hitter.
- His boxing style is similar to that of Maxie "Slapsie" Rosenbloom who achieved 222 victories, but only won 19 of these victories by KO.
- He shares the same name (as well as kanji) with real-life professional wrestler and promotional star Kobashi Kenta