Makunouchi Ippo (幕之内一歩, lit. makunouchi ippo) is the eponymous main protagonist of Hajime no Ippo.
His surname is Makunouchi. In Japan, surnames are listed before given names.
|Japanese Name||幕之内 一歩|
|Birth date||November 23, 1973|
|Family|| Hiroko (Mother)|
Kazuo (Father, Deceased)
|Occupation|| Professional boxer|
Makunouchi Fishing Boat worker
|Height||165 cm (5'5")|
|Stance|| Peek-a-Boo Style|
Brawling Style (once)
|Current Affiliation||Kamogawa Boxing Gym|
|Rank|| 7 (WBC)|
|Wins by KO||23|
|Championships|| Eastern Japan Rookie King|
All Japan Rookie King
JBC Featherweight Champion
|Anime||Round 1 (The Fighting)|
|Voice Actor||Kiyasu Kouhei|
Not much is known about Ippo's early life, except for his childhood when his father died in a boat accident. Like at the present Ippo was a very shy, kind and obedient kid. He was also very strong willed and stubborn. During the time when his father (Kazuo) was missing out in the sea, Ippo went everyday to the shore to wait for his return. He believed his father's words that upon his return he will never leave Ippo and Hiroko again. Although his father never returned, Ippo was somehow able to satisfy himself that his father fulfilled his promise by finding the cap he wears during his father's departure.
After his father died he was raised by his mother Hiroko and grew up assisting her with the family fishing boat business. He was originally supposed to take over the business from her, but she decided to postpone it until after his boxing career is over. When she was hospitalized after collapsing from overwork, Ippo considered retiring from boxing to run the business, but Umezawa asked Ippo to let him take over so Ippo could continue boxing.
High School and Pro Debut
When he was being tormented by Umezawa and his gang, Ippo was saved by Takamura (who was in the middle of his Road Work at the time). After that chance meeting he began to take up boxing in order to learn what it means to be strong.
After joining the Kamogawa Boxing Gym, he meets Miyata Ichirou and has 2 sparring matches against him. In the first match Ippo displays his impressive stamina but is defeated; in the second fight, however, Ippo manages to uppercut Miyata's jaw and gains a surprising KO victory. Because of this Miyata leaves the gym in order to face Ippo again in the Pro Ring, and thus ignites their rivalry.
Ippo eventually passes the pro-boxer license exam with ease. After the test, he meets Mashiba Ryou who is in the same weight class as him. Mashiba advises Ippo to move to another weight class, but Ippo refuses, seeking to fulfill his promise to Miyata to battle again in the rookie kings tournament.
Pro-Debut Match: Oda Yusuke
Oda Yusuke is Ippo's opponent for his pro debut. He was largely regarded as a lazy and unmotivated boxer, but when his girlfriend threatened to break up with him, he put his heart into the fight. Though he lost, he regained his passion for boxing and his girlfriend stayed with him.
Second Match: Fujiwara Yoshio
Fujiwara Yoshio is a boxer with no eyebrows. He went in intending to exploit Ippo's poor guard, only to discover Ippo had adopted the Peek-a-Boo Style. He resorts to headbutting. Ippo headbutts him back, then proceeds to knock him out.
Umezawa's gang attends this match to see if Ippo really had become a pro. They became subsequent fans of Ippo and would return for many more, including those on his journey through the Rookie Kings.
Rookie King Tournament
After winning two fights upon his debut as a pro-boxer, Coach Kamogawa enlisted Ippo in the East Japan Rookie King Tournament. Ippo also had his personal goal in the tournament to fight with Miyata in the Pro Ring for their tie-breaker match. With this promise in mind Ippo aims to reach the East Japan finals.
First Round: Jason Ozuma
Ozuma is a black officer from America who was stationed in Japan, and the only black boxer Ippo has faced so far. Jason is a very polite and kind man who cares greatly for his gym and friends. His most revered attacks, his devastating Hooks, are comparable to Takamura's in terms of speed. Ippo had to enter an in fight to win the first round. Ippo took major hits, but managed to turn the match around by pressuring Ozuma with his power. After an intense round, Ippo managed to take advantage of Ozuma's wide swing and his delayed punch, due to a broken rib, to deliver a second down and win the match.
Second Round: Kobashi Kenta
Kobashi Kenta is a boxer that depends on winning with points. Ippo is annoyed by Kobashi's technique, which is to clinch often; eventually Kobashi's strategy, to rob Ippo of his stamina, takes effect. However, in the final round (the 4th round), Kobashi punches Ippo with a counter and becomes excited at the prospect of landing a KO on Ippo. Even though his second disapproved, his desire to gain a KO victory lead him to fight head-on, but Ippo took his chance the instant Kobashi stepped outside the pure, no-risk outboxing and KO'ed him.
Semi-final Round: Hayami Ryuuichi
A pretty boy boxer who held the title of Inter High Champion with his fast barrage of punches called the Shotgun and Ippo's first opponent as an out boxer. Hayami looked down upon Ippo, and dismissed him since he felt Ippo was an unworthy opponent. Hayami's strategy uses a short uppercut against dashing infighters and finishes them with his Shotgun. Ippo, however, manages to counter him by using a cross hook counter against his short uppercut, and sees through the storm of punches. Having finally mastered bobbing and weaving at the training camp, he was able to avoid and get close to Hayami. Ippo finished the fight with a rush followed by an uppercut to win the fight in 1 round moving to the finals.
East Japan Final Round: Mashiba Ryou
Ippo's final opponent in the East Japan Rookie King tournament defeated Miyata with a controversial foul and seemed poised to take the Rookie King Title. Ippo met Mashiba at his pro license exam, and has since been afraid of his dark demeanor throughout most of the series (albeit comically), but after witnessing Mashiba's foul, Ippo goes into the match determined to win. Initially, Mashiba's flicker jabs exploited Ippo's short reach by keeping him at bay, but Ippo eventually slipped in, broke Mashiba's elbow (at the expense of his right hand), and slugged it out with him. Ippo gave Mashiba his first and only legitimate black star in the form of a heavy and painful K.O victory.
All Japan Final Round: Sendou Takeshi
Since Ippo had broken his fist, the All Japan Round didn't seem like a possibility, but when Ippo met Sendou, the West Japan Rookie King, in person, he decided to go ahead with the fight. He received therapy from Doctor Yamaguchi which allowed him to fight with a proper hand. The match was an intense slug-fight which ended abruptly before the fourth round when Sendou turned out to be unconscious in his corner, despite still sitting upright looking ready to continue.
After winning the All Japan Rookie Tournament, Ippo found that his rival Miyata was going overseas. Ippo was left with no current goal to motivate him. Rehabilitating his hand injured from his previous fight, Ippo breaks from training and starts supporting his fellow boxers at Kamogawa Gym in their fights. He then meets the current National Feather Weight Champion Date Eiji, who hints that in the future they may face each other since Ippo is already ranked number 10 upon winning the Rookie King Tournament. Ippo realizes that he wants to fight the Champion and trains for his new challenge.
Rookie King vs. Rookie King: Okita Keigo
Okita is a kouhai (younger disciple of the same gym) of Date Eiji. He challenges Ippo to a fight because he was envious of the way Date fought against Ippo in their spar. He ends up relying too much on his corkscrew blow and trying to replicate Date's style as his own. Ippo defeats him in the 1st round and sets up his entry into the Class A tournament.
Class A Tournament Semi-Finals (1st Round): Saeki Takuma
A boxer renowned for his exceptionally fast footwork earning the nickname of "Speed Star", Saeki Takuma was then considered to be the fastest man in the featherweight class. Saeki proved to be a difficult opponent at first since Ippo had difficulty catching him, even at close range. Saeki grew to be a major problem when he cornered Ippo and then used his flicker jabs to swell Ippo's right eye (intentionally). Saeki controlled most of the match by staying in Ippo's blind spot and staying out of his line of sight using his speed. After Ippo managed to lean against Saeki by coincidence, he started to get the timing and Saeki's rhythm down, allowing Ippo to punch accurately within his blind spot and knock Saeki out of it. In one final rush, taking advantage of his slowed reactions due to the fear of feeling Ippo's punch, Saeki is knocked out cold.
Class A Tournament Finals: Alexander Volg Zangief
A russian fighter who is gentle by nature but switches into a wild beast who finishes his opponents as quickly as possible. Before the match Coach Ramada and Kamagawa had an interview meeting, resulting in a battle between the coaches and their boxing philosophies. Ippo manages to fight Volg longer than any of his previous opponents, but starts to endure major punches since Volg had much more refined techniques. Before the final blow, Volg runs out of stamina allowing Ippo to deliver his punches with little resistance. In the final round, Ippo and Volg enter a close range high hitting infight where they are forced to battle nonstop without breathing. After Ippo manages to avoid Volg's trademark White Fang, Volg ran out of air giving Ippo the chance to Gazelle Punch Volg's face for the victory.
First Japanese Featherweight Title Match: Date Eiji
After earning his right to challenge Date Eiji, one of Japan's most revered boxers, Ippo went into the match bringing everything he had learned in his past 10 matches with him. For the first few rounds he succeeded in pushing the champion to his limits. However, when Eiji began using the high-level Neck Spin to negate most of the power behind Ippo's punches, Ippo becomes disoriented. Eiji gradually returns to his style of fighting from his younger days. He delivers a powerful Heart Break Shot that stuns Ippo, then prepares to deliver the finishing blow. But the referee stops the match because Kamogawa had already thrown in the towel. Victory goes to Date Eiji.
As of Volume 106, Date Eiji is the only boxer to have beaten--and furthermore, KO'd--Ippo.
Comeback Match: Ponchai Chuwatana
A Thai fighter ranked 3rd in Thailand who faces Ippo following his 5 month break against Date Eiji. Ponchai had a very well-built physique and a strong determination to win in his boxing matches. Ippo had no videos or info about his opponent so he didn't get to see who he was fighting until the day of the weigh in. Ippo's fight against Ponchai was even in the first round since Ponchai was able to use the Neck Twist to neutralize Ippo's power. However in the second round, Ippo starts to land small punches while swaying left and right, before speeding up and finishing Ponchai off with his new finishing move, the "Dempsey Roll."
After this match, Sendou, the new featherweight champion, challenged Ippo to a match personally.
Second Japanese Featherweight Title Match: Sendou Takeshi
The continuation of the unfinished match between the hard punchers of East and West. Ippo and Sendou had been looking forward to a match since the All Japan Rookie Championship was unfinished in their minds. To prepare for the match they both strengthened their weaknesses through new training methods, Sendou improving his lower body and Ippo his upper body.
This match is considered to be one of the most intense since both fighters had roughly the same amount of punching power resulting in numerous slug fests and a footstomp from the audience that shook the hall. Ippo originally had problems since he had a smaller body, meaning he had a little bit less muscle and was going to lose unless he started to connect more punches than Sendou did. But with encouragement from his friends and remembering his training he managed to continue his match against Sendou. The match turned into a mix up, where both fighters drew out the others' potential and helped each other grow stronger. With one final showdown between their signature finishers, Ippo managed to pull through and finish Sendou off by inventing a combo of his 3 strongest techniques to take the belt and title. Sendou then personally congratulated Ippo.
Title Defenses as JBC Champion
After obtaining the National Japanese Feather Weight Belt from Sendou, Ippo defended the title successfully for eight consecutive times.
First Title Defense: Sanada Kazuki
The former Japan junior featherweight champion moved up a weight class in order to challenge Ippo. With Hama Dankichi in his corner, he showcased a double uppercut nicknamed the "Hien" and the "Tsubame Gaeshi". He was able to remain standing for a moment after receiving the full Dempsey roll thanks to working the whole match on slowing Ippo down, but ultimately fell to the damage caused by it.
Second Title Defense: Hammer Nao
A former member of the Kamogawa Gym and former kouhai of Ippo, he dropped down from Junior Welterweight in order to get the chance to fight Ippo. Ippo tried to end the fight as quickly as possible so that Nao would not receive much damage, but Nao was able to last until the 2nd round through a series of subtly executed fouls and even landed his signature solar plexus shot. However, Ippo's strength and experience still proved too much to Nao, causing the latter to suffer a loss.
Third Title Defense: Yi Yonsu
Yonsu is the first opponent that Ippo has defeated in the first round as the Japanese Champion. Ippo promised to win this match in the first round so long as Takamura won the junior middleweight title match against Bryan Hawk later that night. He knocks Yonsu out with the Dempsey roll and afterwards gets scolded by the Coach for taking such a big risk so early in the fight.
Fourth Title Defense: Shimabukuro Iwao
Iwao is the only fighter Ippo has ever fought that was shorter (and arguably more powerful) than him. This was fight was also for the right to be called Japan's greatest infighter. In this fight Ippo uses a alot more boxing skill than usual, starting off the fight with heavy jabs and using light punches in the end to set up his strong punch which was then followed by the Dempsey roll. Iwao is the first fighter to break the dempsey roll with punches choosing to slug it out, it is successful the first time, but the Second one finishes the fight.
Fifth Title Defense: Sawamura Ryuuhei
Sawamura presented Ippo with his greatest challenge up to this point because he possessed an almost genius like sense for counterpunching. Combine that with a rugged toughness as well as a heavy jab and powerful straight right, Ippo is pushed very hard in this fight and reveals an evolved form of the Dempsey Roll, one with a sudden stop, to make the attack less predictable and more effective. It became an excellent way to fake out the counter-boxer, even though it took a large toll on Ippo's body. It should be noted that Sawamura had Ippo in serious trouble in the 4th round but instead of finishing it then he chose to do more damage to Ippo and that in turn back fired.
Sixth Title Defense: Karasawa Takuzou
Karasawa is a former Kouhai of Sanada, this fight showcases Ippo's growth against out boxers, he does not need to use the Dempsey roll, choosing instead to seal the technique so that he can use other methods to win matches and prolong his career. Karasawa has speed similar to Saeki and utilizes it early, but Ippo uses his experience to trap him in the corner and land punishing body blows which became even stronger due to his training of hammering logs into a hill. This is one of Ippo's cleanest fights, having not taken a single clean hit and winning the fight using mainly lefts.
Seventh Title Defense: Take Keiichi
Take is the most experienced boxer that Ippo had fought up to this point, as well as the first southpaw he ever fought in the pro ring and was someone that Date Eiji held in high regard. He uses Ippo's inexperience against southpaws to his advantage through out the fight, and fights in close so as to take away the power of Ippo's immense lower-body strength and rotations on his punches. Ippo turns the fight around by taking an even lower stance and using Take's game plan against him. The match ends in Take losing a slugfest after Take chooses not to open up a cut on Ippo's eye and choosing to go out as a proud boxer.
Eighth Title Defense: Kojima HisatoKojima Hisato is a boxer that is two weight classes above Ippo. He has insulted Ippo's opponents and even his coach, but later it is found out that he is a huge Ippo fan. His right arm is currently useless so he uses his left arm to gain a Japanese rank. He also claims to know Ippo's weakness. This was also a short match as Ippo knocks him out after recovering from Kojima's counter in the first round.
Survival Match of Asian Champions
After yet another canceled fight with Ichiro Miyata, Ippo lost his drive and thought of retiring from boxing. However with the help of Iimura Mari and the words of his friends and previous opponent, he was able to find his true goal which is to become strong and went back to Kamogawa Gym to continue Boxing. Kamogawa then tells Ippo to aim for the World, but having them cut off the shortest route of getting to the top rankings by beating the OPBF Champ Miyata, Kamogawa tells Ippo that he will take a different path, which is to defeat all of the OPBF National Champions, obtaining their WBC rankings and becoming an unofficial OPBF Champion.
Against Thailand National Champion: Jimmy Sisphar
His first fight in this quest is against Sisphar, who earlier in the series was the first fighter to fall to Miyata's jolt counter. Ever since then, Sisphar had become a reckless pure offense infighter with many scars from head butts and infights, because of his many scars he earned the nickname Scratch J. He also developed a full body hook which he called his version of the jolt.
In this fight Ippo is forced to add a new element to the Dempsey roll, an uppercut, that Sisphar could not counter because his full body Jolts went from a side to side motion and it left Sisphar open to uppercuts.
Against Philippine National Champion: Malcolm Gedo
This fight is his second in the challenging the OPBF championship series. This fight is set up when the 7th ranked japanese ranker, Fukui, defeated Malcolm Gedo in his hometown, but it was revealed that Gedo had thrown the fight in order to receive money, he did so without receiving any damage. This outraged coach Kamogawa and Ippo and in turn caused them to put 2 million yen (4 million yen total from each fighter) on the line so that Gedo would fight seriously, Gedo was adept at avoiding any significant damage from Ippo early on in the fight, and because he wore his left glove loose he was able to trick Ippo's depth perception by changing hand positions to create the illusion of an extending arm. Ippo overcame Gedo because of the results of his sparring with Mashiba Ryou. He is able to avoid a very critical uppercut thrown by Gedo and also overcame the Gedo's illusion when Gedo decided to switch to heavy punches, making his reach more easily read to Ippo.
Against Indonesian National Champion: Wally
This is the third fight in Ippo's challenge of the OBPF championship. It is set up by Miguel Zail, the former trainer of Bryan Hawk and an acquantance from Genji Kamogawa's past. Wally has only 3 fights in his resume before this bout, was a very difficult opponent for Ippo, because of his great talent for boxing which was beyond genius level. Despite getting knocked down early, Wally controls most of the match with his speed and instincts and because he was most effective in the corner Ippo had little choice but to aim for very weak, fast body shots to at least be able to touch him. However, the body shots have an unforeseen cumulative effect because they had all been aimed at the exactly same spot, which not even Ippo was aware of. They took away Wally's mobility which finally led to Ippo landing cleaner shots and finally a showdown in the corner in which Ippo traps Wally in the corner with the Dempsey Roll and eventually knocks him out.
The match is considered to be one of the most intense fights for the two Oriental Pacific National boxing champions. It also showed that with enough hard work and dedication, even genius ability can be overcome. After the fight, Genji Kamogawa and Miguel Zale have a talk, and they understand that a rematch between their 2 fighters won't happen shortly, since the only reason Ippo won was because of his experience, but now there is no factor that can give him a chance for victory.
Ippo's world ranking is 13 and his OPBF ranking is 1 before he begins the OPBF conquest. After defeating the three Asian champions, his world ranking has risen to 7.
|25||Alfredo Gonzales||1998-03-21||Tokyo, Japan||
"Go To The World!" Challenging the second ranker WBA, and third at WBC
|Kojima Hisato||TKO||1(10), 2:07||1997-10||Tokyo, Japan||
"Operation World Domination II" Semi-Final Japanese Featherweight Title Defense #8, Retained Japanese Featherweight Title, Relinquishes Title
|23||WIN||Wally||TKO||8(10), 1:35||1997-07||Tokyo, Japan||"In The Jungle", "Survival Match of Asian Champions"|
|22||WIN||Malcolm Gedo||TKO||8(10), 2:37||1997-02-15||Tokyo, Japan||"Winner Takes All", "Survival Match of Asian Champions"|
|21||WIN||Jimmy Sisphar||KO||4(10), 2:30||1996-08-01||Tokyo, Japan||"The Scratch", "Survival Match of Asian Champions"|
|20||WIN||Take Keiichi||KO||6(10), 1:00||1996-01-25||Tokyo, Japan||"The Challenge for the 7th Defense", Retained Japanese Featherweight Title|
|19||WIN||Karasawa Takuzou||TKO||2(10), 2:15||1995-10-03||Tokyo, Japan||"The Challenge for the 6th Defense", Retained Japanese Featherweight Title|
|18||WIN||Sawamura Ryuuhei||TKO||7(10), 1:15||1995-06-15||Tokyo, Japan||"Dragon Slayer" 5th Title Defense, Retained Japanese Featherweight Title|
|17||WIN||Shimabukuro Iwao||KO||7(10), 2:15||1995-03-21||Tokyo, Japan||"Submarine Wars" 4th Title Defense, Retained Japanese Featherweight Title|
|16||WIN||Yi Yonsu||KO||1(10), 0:32||1994-12-20||Tokyo, Japan||"Battle of Hawk" Semi-Final Match, 3rd Title Defense, Retained Japanese Featherweight Title|
|15||WIN||Hammer Nao||KO||2(10), 2:42||1994-08-20||Tokyo, Japan||"Proof of Power" 2nd Title Defense, Retained Japanese Featherweight Title|
|14||WIN||Sanada Kazuki||TKO||5(10), 2:33||1994-04||Tokyo, Japan||"First Step" 1st Title Defense, Retained Japanese Featherweight Title|
|13||WIN||Sendou Takeshi||KO||7(10), 1:34||1993-11-20||Tokyo, Japan||"Lollapallooza" Japanese Featherweight Title Match, Attained Japanese Featherweight Title|
|12||WIN||Ponchai Chuwatana||KO||2(10), 2:00||1993-07-11||Tokyo, Japan||"The Road Back", Comeback Match|
|11||LOSS||Date Eiji||TKO||5(10), 2:32||1993-02||Tokyo, Japan||Japanese Featherweight Title Match|
|10||WIN||Alexander Volg Zangief||KO||5(8), 1:21||1992-10||Tokyo, Japan||"The Lone Wolf" Class-A Tournament Finals, Rose to Rank #1 Contender|
|9||WIN||Saeki Takuma||KO||4(6), 2:12||1992-07||Tokyo, Japan||"Speed Star" Class-A Tournament Round 1|
|8||WIN||Okita Keigo||KO||1(10), 2:58||1992-06||Tokyo, Japan||Rose to Japanese Featherweight Contender Rank #5|
|7||WIN||Sendou Takeshi||TKO||3(6), 3:00||1992-02||Osaka, Japan||All-Japan Rookie King Tournament, Became Japanese Featherweight Contender Rank #10|
|6||WIN||Mashiba Ryou||KO||3(6), 2:13||1991-12-24||Tokyo, Japan||East Japan Rookie King Tournament, Became Rookie King Champion of the East|
|5||WIN||Hayami Ryuuichi||TKO||1(4), 2:59||1991-11||Tokyo, Japan||East Japan Rookie King Tournament Semi-Finals|
|4||WIN||Kobashi Kenta||KO||4(4), 2:58||1991-08||Tokyo, Japan||East Japan Rookie King Tournament Quarter-Finals|
|3||WIN||Jason Ozuma||TKO||2(4), 2:52||1991-06||Tokyo, Japan||
East Japan Rookie King Tournament Semi-Quarter-Finals
|2||WIN||Fujiwara Yoshio||KO||1(4), 2:50||1991-02||Tokyo, Japan||Tournament After Pro Debut|
|1||WIN||Oda Yusuke||TKO||3(4), 2:35||1991-01-03||Tokyo, Japan||Pro Debut|
This list does not include the numerous spars Ippo has had with his fellow gymmates.
- VS Miyata Ichirou 3R KO Loss (Match Simulation)
- VS Miyata Ichirou 4R KO Win (Match Simulation)
- VS Ogawa Naoya 1R KO Win (Pro Test)
- VS Omori 1R (Sparring)
- VS Date Eiji 3R (Sparring)
- VS Shigeta Akira 3R (Sparring)
- VS Ricardo Martinez 1R (Sparring)
- VS Itagaki Manabu 3R KO Win (Sparring)
- VS Imai Kyousuke 3R (Sparring)
- VS Volg Zangief 3R KO Loss (Sparring)
- VS Imai Kyousuke 2R (Sparring)
- VS Fukui 3R KO Win (Match Simulation)
- VS Mashiba Ryou 3R KO Loss (Sparring)
- VS Sendou Takeshi ?R KO Loss (Sparring)
- vs Fujiwara Yoshio: First 1 round KO
- vs Mashiba Ryou: East Japan Rookie King Finals
- vs Takeshi Sendou: All Japan Rookie King
- vs Okita Keigo: Fight against former East Japan Rookie King
- vs Alexander Volg Zangief: Fight against former Amatuer World Champion and Class A Championship
- vs Date Eiji: First Title Match and First loss
- vs Takeshi Sendou: Fight for Japanese Title
- vs Sanada Kazuki: Fight against former Jr Featherwieght Champion and First fight as Champion
- vs Yi Yonsu: Featherweight Title record KO time
- vs Shimabukuro Iwao: Fight for title of Japan's Strongest Infighter
- vs Sawamura Ryuuhei: First fight with a counter specialist
- vs Karasawa Takuzou: First fight with no injuries
- vs Wally: First victory with the second throwing in the towel
- vs Kojima Hisato: First KO victory won by a single blow
|Preceded by||Title||Succeeded by|
|Sendou Takeshi||JBC Featherweight Champion|
November 20, 1993-1997
|Okita Keigo||All Japan Featherweight Rookie King||Shigeta Akira|
|Okita Keigo||East Japan Featherweight Rookie King||Shigeta Akira|
Ippo is relatively short, even by Japanese standards. He has black, shaggy hair, and his body, while being in the featherweight division, is stressed in the series as extremely muscular. In terms of skin tone Ippo is tanned, most likely from his work at the fishing boat store his family owns as well as his boxing roadwork. His eyes are dark colored in the manga, further colorized as gray in The Fighting and then a mix of green and yellow in New Challenger.
At the start of the series Ippo is a 16-year-old high school student. He is usually a kind and reserved person who dislikes fighting, and because of that he had been bullied since grade school. He has a sturdy body and steady legs thanks to years of working for his family's fishing boat rental, and he possesses great courage against all enemies.
Despite his strength and courage, Ippo still behaves rather meek out of the ring and often humbles himself around his rivals. For example, even though he has defeated both Mashiba Ryou and Sendou Takeshi, he fears Mashiba and tries to avoid discussing a second rematch with Sendou whenever he is around. He also continued to be intimidated by Umezawa Masahiko, his former bully, long after he began boxing. He has a great deal of respect for his gymmate Takamura Mamoru and former Japanese Featherweight Champion Date Eiji and he was completely shocked when World Featherweight Champion Ricardo Martinez requested a spar with him.
His dream is to one day face Miyata Ichirou in the pro ring, and the two of them view each other as eternal rivals. Despite these feelings towards each other, they appear to also view each other as friends and Ippo even refers to Miyata as "Miyata-kun". Because Ippo tends to know a lot about Miyata, people tend to call him a Miyata Otaku, while his gym mates jokingly imply that he must be "gay for Miyata". At the same time, Ippo aims to become equal to Takamura in terms of strength.
Coach Kamogawa puts him through strict training and the two of them have a strong teacher-student bond. Ippo trusts the coach and has faith in his teachings, while Kamogawa believes that Ippo may be the one who will eventually realize his World Championship dream. Takamura has said that Kamogawa seem more like Ippo's father than his coach, and because Ippo's father died when he was young he begins to view Kamogawa in that way.
Ippo is quite friendly, and many of his rivals have become friends of his, most notably are Miyata, Sendou, Date, Sanada Kazuki, Volg, and Kobashi Kenta, whom all still keep in touch with him from time to time. He is well liked by his gymmates, especially Takamura, Aoki Masaru, and Kimura Tatsuya. Even though he still has the personality of a young boy, he still manages to serve as a good senpai for his kouhai Itagaki Manabu.
When it comes to love, Ippo is definitely a late bloomer, he is naive, pure-hearted, and awkward. He is in love with Mashiba Kumi whom he dates frequently, and she feels the same for him, but because of the silent pressure of Kumi's older brother Ryou, the "attacks" of reporter Iimura Mari and Itagaki Nanako, and the meddling of Takamura and the others, their relationship has yet to progress much. The one time Ippo confessed to her, Kumi had fallen asleep after drinking too much alcohol, and unfortunately she didn't hear it.
Because of his personality, Ippo is seldom seen as being angry before a fight, even if his opponent insults him or his boxing skills. However, it has been shown on rare occasions that he is capable of displaying anger whenever an opponent says or does something to look down on the sport of boxing, which he loves. Such occasions have been when he saw Sawamura Ryuuhei intentionally commit fouls in his previous matches, despite having the upperhand, and then later on when he struck Kumi with a sharp jab, cutting her face. Another occasion has been most recently, when his opponent, Kojima, insulted his previous opponents, both in person and publicly in a magazine, and also insulting Coach Kamogawa teaching methods as they were fault. This resulted in Ippo displaying a new attitude, even going so far as to calmly state to Takamura, when asked if he would have any problems, that "this won't take long", referring to the match.
|Most Friendly Rivals|
|Takamura, etc.||Miyata Otaku||宮田オタク||Miyata Fanboy|
|Takamura(once)||Big Mara Ippo||ビッグまら一歩||Big Penis Ippo|
|Tama Aru Ippo||玉ある一歩||With Balls Ippo|
Mother (Makunouchi Hiroko)
Ever since the death of Ippo's father Hiroko has been the only parental figure in his life. Ippo deeply loves her. He is willing to do anything from quitting school to quitting boxing to help Hiroko when she becomes too overworked. Hiroko greatly supports her son in anything that makes him happy, especially his boxing career (even though she doesn't watch any of his matches because she doesn't want to watch her son get beaten).
Father (Makunouchi Kazuo)
Ippo as a boy had looked up to his dad. Ippo saw his father as a truly strong man and also as the reason why searches for the answer to know what it means to be strong? For finding the answer will help to understand his father.
Takamura Mamoru was the very first boxer Ippo had ever met and also the person that had introduced him to the world of boxing. The relationship between the two can be described as a brotherly relationship. Takamura at time gives Ippo some advise to improve his boxing, for example it was thanks to Takamura's advice that Ippo developed the Dempsey Roll. He also often acts as the one that gives Ippo moral support when Ippo questions himself. It is shown before his match with Karasawa that Ippo's confidence depends on Takamura as well (At the weigh-ins when Takamura wasn't there Sanada described Ippo as "incomplete"). Takamura tells Itagaki that he sees Ippo as a little brother who he looks out for.
Kimura Tatsuya also one of the first boxers that Ippo meets and also one of his closest friends. Kimura in the beginning of the series gives Ippo advice on his boxing such as teaching him how to do weight shifting so to keep up with out-boxers with good foot work. Kimura often times could be considered the more ideal sempai out of the group to Ippo. But he still acts jealous to his kouhai since he surpassed him.
Aoki Masaru is also one of the first boxers Ippo meets at the Kamogawa gym and also one of his closes friends. Aoki in the beginning of the series gives advice to Ippo and also often time is the one that spars him during his training. Aoki is often the one that tries to help out the most in Ippo's relationship with Kumi. For example reassuring Ippo that Kumi likes him, and also getting the two in the same room while they stay at the beach.
When Coach Kamogawa first met Ippo he didn't think he was cut out to be a boxer, but that all changed after witnessing Ippo's will to be a boxer in his first spar against Miyata. Kamogawa only once calls Ippo by his name but most times refers to him as "kid" or "brat". Kamogawa has since tought, and trained Ippo through out the whole series. Coach is shown to be very extremly tough on Ippo very rarely giving him praise even after he wins. The bond between the two is described to be incredibly strong trust, with Ippo trusting the coach's guidelines, while the coach trusts that Ippo will follow them through. Miyata states that Ippo follows his coach's guidelines like a religion. Nekota states that Ippo is the one that will inherit Kamogawa's will, Miguel also describes Ippo to be Kamogawa's "last son".
Umezawa was the leader of the gang that bullied Ippo. After watching one of Ippo's matches he becomes a fan of Ippo (who holds no grudge against him) and, over time, a friend. When Ippo considers quitting boxing to help his mother with their fishing business Umezawa goes to work for them so Ippo and keep on boxing, and he also becomes the head cheerleader for Ippo. When he decides to leave to pursue his manga career, Ippo assures him that they are best friends.
Mashiba Kumi has been Ippo's love interest ever since the Rookie Kings.Ippo first met Kumi when he accidentallly wound up at her store. After Ippo's match with Kumi's brother Ryo, the two did not see each other for over a year till Ippo was hospitalized after the match with Volg Zangief, where it is shown that she had the same feelings for him. It was from then that the two would hang out and go on occasional dates. But Ippo's shyness and interference from Mashiba Ryo prevent their romantic relationship from growing. Kumi also has not said whether she likes Ippo, though she implies it.
A sports writer for the same magazine as Fujii. She shows no interest in Japanese boxers, but was interested in Ippo immediately. She often covers Ippo's matches and the boxers he is going to fight against. Over time she grows romantic feelings for Ippo. Iimura also give moral support to Ippo especially when he was considering to retire after he considers quiting boxing when the match with Miyata doesn't come through.
Fuji Minoru can be considered to be the first fan of Ippo. When he first met Ippo Fuji did not think much of him. After he witnessed Ippo's spar with Miyata, however, he has kept a close eye on him. He has helped give Ippo info on several of his opponents.
Ippo's first boxing spar was against Miyata, who was already well known as a promising rookie. Miyata was surprised by Ippo's strong will and states after the fight that "boxing has become more interesting". In their second spar, Miyata lost to Ippo and began to regard him more seriously as a rival. They planned to settle the score in the rookie kings final, but Miyata lost to Mashiba and their promised fight went unfulfilled. After the rookie king tournament, Miyata and Ippo promised again to meet in the ring, but many say the match is not meant to happen. However, with this goal in mind, both of them have been using each other as motivation to become stronger over the course of their boxing careers.
Although many consider Miyata to be Ippo's rival, including Miyata himself, he is actually Ippo's idol. Ever since their first spar, Ippo has always idolized Miyata to the point the Kamogawa gang calls him Miyata's biggest fan. Ippo has kept track of all Miyata's fights and has always studied him (and Miyata in turn keeps track of Ippo's fights and growth). A fight with Miyata has been Ippo's goal since he started boxing. Many speculated and it was later confirmed that Ippo would retire after his promised fight with Miyata (Coach Kamogawa considers it a blessing that the fight didn't happen).
Sendou Takeshi is considered to be Ippo's chief rival seeing as they fought twice already. Even though their fighting styles, family life (both of their parental figures are women, and lost their fathers at a young age), and their goals in boxing (both seek the answer to what does it mean to be strong to understand each others fathers) are very similar their personalities couldn't be more opposite. While Ippo is timid, and passive. Sendou is aggressive. While Ippo is humble, Sendou is found to be over confident.
Even though they have fought twice against each other, and consider each other to be rivals, the two are actually friends. They two can talk with each other, go out to eat, and watch Volg's match (though this doesn't stop Sendou from stating they will fight each other). The Kamogawa gang call Sendou Ippo's best friend, which Sendou attempts to deny with fail.
Mashiba Ryou was the main antagonist during the Rookie King tournament . He and Ippo initially got off to a bad start when they met at the license gathering, where he brutally knocked out a friendly boxer. During the Rookie King tournament, he ruined Ippo's chance of meeting Miyata like they had agreed when he cheated during the match, breaking Miyata's foot. Upon Ippo and Mashiba meeting in the East Rookie King finals Mashiba landed pretty decent blows and had Ippo on the ropes, but Ippo showed a determination that Mashiba felt fear from and Ippo ultimately won.
After moving up to Jr. Lightweight, he now views Ippo as his rival. Mashiba is overprotective of his little sister Kumi, and has been seen stalking Ippo and Kumi when they go out on dates. Despite Ippo's efforts, Mashiba is very unsociable towards him. However, Kumi has claimed on certain occasions that Mashiba was happy with Ippo around.
Boxing styleIppo's boxing style is said to be modeled after Mike Tyson and Hamada Tsuyoshi. He is a natural In Fighter, a great Hard Puncher with an impressive KO rate of 100%. His punching power, durability, and fighting spirit are considered to be his greatest attributes; each is unparalleled in Japan. His style has had vast improvements throughout the series, and now consist of sways, liver blows, and a Sunday Punch: the Dempsey Roll. His strong flurry of blows have earned him the title Wind God (while Ichirou Miyata has the title Lightning God due to his fast blows and incredible reflexes and movement speeds). He is the number one In Fighter in Japan.
One of the main reasons for Ippo's success as a boxer is his willingness to train. To his surprise Ippo had already developed a physical base that would help him in boxing--and particularly in his own fighting style. Years of helping his mother carrying the fishing coolers to and from the boat helped develop his muscles and also constantly moving around on the fishing boat helped him develop a good lower body as well as good balance. To train for his fight with Jason Ozuma, he ran full speed at bars at the park in order to speed up his ducking so as to avoid Ozuma's powerful hooks. Before the rest of the Rookie King Tournament, he embarks on his first training camp with the Kamogawa gym, the camp was held at the beach and it improved Ippo's lower body strength and endurance due to all the running on the sand. To prepare for the Volg Zangief fight, Coach Kamogawa had Ippo build up his lower body with many hill runs and squats in order to build the strength needed to throw the Gazelle Punch. In Ippo's return fight after the loss to Date, he trained his lower body even more with harsh sprints, he also decided to improve his bobbing and weaving and unknowingly used a not so polished version of the Dempsey roll. To prepare for his second fight with Sendou, he had a training camp in the mountains. There, Nekota introduced Ippo to the method of chopping wood to help back strength, and further utilized running in the mountains to add more leg strength.
Ultimately, even though Ippo doesn't have the natural instincts of boxers like Sendou and Takamura, he has, as Coach Kamogawa puts it, "developed something just as good: experience".
- Peek-a-Boo Style - Ippo's most commonly used boxing stance. After the match with Oda, Kamogawa noticed Ippo's weak defense and taught him the Peek-A-Boo. Ippo continues to use this style as it allows for a strong defense while allowing him to attack without giving up any power.
- One-step Straight Punch - Ippo's First Punching technique taught by Takamura.
- Weaving - In order to prepare to avoid Mashiba's flicker jabs, Ippo worked on his lower body by running and sprinting. This allowed Ippo to bob and weave his head around, making it difficult for the opponent to make a clean hit.
- Turtle Strategy - In Ippo's first spar (against Miyata) while he didn't know any techniques, Takamura taught him the Turtle strategy (or "Operation Turtle"). After the spar against him, Ippo used it just once more during his sixth title defense.
- Counter - Even though Ippo is not a counter-user he has trained to use ones such as using a uppercut counter against Jason Ozuma's hook and using a cross hook to counter Hayami Ryuuichi's uppercut.
- Liver Blow - A body blow aimed directly under the right side of the ribs. Ippo uses it constantly since it is very effective against Out-boxers. It was first used against Mashiba Ryou.
- One Centimeter Punch- "Motionless Short Uppercut" Ippo, during his second spar with Miyata threw an uppercut directly upward instead of with a curve, due to Miyata's reflexes, the punch only hit the tip of his chin and ended up doing more damage than if the blow wasn't dodged. This "Uppercut" was revived by Ippo against Sendou in the All-Japan Rookie Finals as a different type of Smash (which it was originally). Ippo used it to counter Sendou's own smash successfully. It is noted that despite the technique being faster, it sacrificed some power to attain that speed.
- Gazelle Punch - A punch where Ippo springs downwards and then launches himself forward using the momentum of that motion into an uppercut. It was first used on Volg Zangief.
- Dempsey Roll - Ippo's Sunday Punch. After Ippo recovered from his match against Date, he had a comeback match with the 3rd ranked seed in Thailand. The nervous Ippo trained on dodging and punching, and while doing so thought up a way to punch and dodge in the same time. When the opponent was trapped by the ropes, Ippo started a combination of dodging and punching in a form of the figure eight, a combination that was completely identical to the Dempsey roll, a technique that the world heavyweight champion of 1920, Jack Dempsey had used. Ippo relies on this technique quite a bit, although it has many weaknesses. The Dempsey Roll itself is a technique that relies on moving in the shape of a figure eight while attacking the opponent with hooks (later Ippo discovers a way to use uppercuts as well), thus allowing the user to attack from a blind side, and then switch to the other using the centrifugal force built up. As the speed increases with the number of rotations the user's power increases along with it.
- Sakki - Before the match against Sendou (the second), Ippo learned about the sakki feint. He managed to use this to his advantage when using the Ultimate Dempsey Roll Combo. It's important to note however as stated by both Coach Kamogawa and Takamura, Ippo doesn't specifically use Sakki but instead uses his own version of it; Courage.
- New Dempsey Roll - Before his fight with Sawamura Ryuuhei Ippo realizes the flaws of the Dempsey roll and comes up with this solution: to include a series of start/stop motions which make the pattern of the technique unpredictable to counter punchers. Ippo seals the move after the match since it cuts short his boxing career.
- Shoulder Block - Its not something that you need to learn, since this technique is very simple. Since Ippo's a pure in-fighter he had to face Jimmy Sisphar jolt blow without retreating, to lessen the damage, Ippo blocked the blow with his shoulder.
- Cross Arm Block- In the match against Sanada, Ippo used this to protect himself from the Tsubame Gaeshi. He had also used it against other opponents such as Shimabukuro, Sawamura and Wally and many others. He used this technique after remembering his fight with Kobashi Kenta.
- Heart Break Shot (first used in fight with Gedo) - A technique learned from Date, Ippo does not have much control over it. Against Gedo, Ippo had a problem of getting close to him. When he got close he didn't know where to punch, so in spontaneous way he just decided to punch the heart. He evolved it into his own by using it as a kind of feint and using raw power to achieve the blow instead of a corkscrew blow.
- Tornado Jolt - Ippo learned the Tornado Jolt in the match against Jimmy. When Ippo faced Jimmy's jolt blows he understood that he will lose if he faced those punches with regular blows. So in order to create punches with the same effect, Ippo himself used the blow. It was after this match that Ippo's nickname, "Wind God", first arose.
- Southpaw Stance - During his debut match against Oda Yuusuke, Ippo sustains a cut over his left eye that threatens to end the bout. Though unfamiliar to him, he instinctively adopts this style in order to protect the cut, resulting in a KO win by way of overwhelming right jabs which had the power of straights. Ippo also appears to switch from a Brawling Stance to a southpaw stance before delivering the finishing blow to Kojima Hisato.
- Tekken - Miguel Zale stated that Ippo took after Kamogawa with the "Iron Fist" aka Tekken right before his boxer Woli was defeated. Although Ippo achieved this in an albeit safer way than Kamogawa, by using a hammer to knock the logs into the hill instead of his fists. Ippo managed to use this without breaking his fists or ending his career.
- Brawling Stance - For the first time in the series, Ippo becomes genuinely angry enough to want to brawl in the ring when his opponent, Kojima Hisato, insults all of Ippo's previous opponents. He adopts a stance very similar to Takamura's during the Bryan Hawk match; his guard is down, his stance is low and he gathers power in his fist to unleash a full-force punch. The result of this stance is that Ippo completely ignores defense--he is easily hit with a counter from Kojima--but becomes so offense-oriented that he not only resists a down, he retaliates with a punch that sends a man from two weight classes higher than him literally flying backward. Ippo's potential with this stance is yet unknown, but there is evidence that his notorious "fighting spirit" is fully activated in this stance. There is little evidence that he will be using it again any time soon.
- Free Form Dempsey Roll - This is considered (by Takamura Mamoru) to be the ultimate progression of the Dempsey Roll. The only variation to it from the New/Dempsey Roll is the addition of an extremely low sway which allows Ippo to throw uppercuts. In this "free form" Dempsey Roll, Ippo can perform hooks, uppercuts, and potentially overhands (if he reverses the motion of the sway) while weaving his head at full speed in unpredictable directions. In the words of Takamura: "It would become an unlimited, free form, high-speed combination... You wouldn't be able to aim a counter against it." Numerous characters, including Coach Kamogawa and Takamura, have stated that this move pushes the limits of the lower human body and would quickly shorten Ippo's boxing career if he performed it repeatedly. He has only used it during the Jimmy Sisphar match. However, following Ippo's eighth title defense, Kamogawa hinted at Yagi that he was preparing Ippo's lower body to handle repeated uses of the move.
Ippo is notoriously simple-minded. In nearly all of his matches, difficulties arose when his opponent did something he had not prepared for, such as Malcolm Gedo's Magic Punch and Woli's Corner Work. In fact, he lost the championship match with Date Eiji entirely because he failed to grasp how the champ was negating the power behind his punches. Interestingly, the few times Ippo did something his opponents didn't expect, he won the match (such as his southpaw stance in his first fight, or his brawling stance in his match with Kojima).
Because of his height, Ippo is at a perpetual disadvantage outside of close-range. He has no options but to move forward in every one of his fights. He once stated to Itagaki that he envied out-boxers and their ability to out-box and in-fight at will.
- "What does it mean to be strong?" - Signature quote
- "How can he still retaliate? ...Is he invulnerable?" - Jason Ozuma, while fighting Ippo in Episode 15
- "M-my legs are completely swollen. But I'll press on. I'm going to overcome my weakness!" - Episode 17, while training at the Training Camp
- "The reason we train so hard in the first place is so we can make it home in one piece." - Round 1011, to Kumi while over at her and Mashiba Ryou's place
- Ippo's boxing trunks were handmade by his mother.
- He apparently has a very large penis, which Takamura has teased him about in front of waitresses, during his debut match, and even in front of Kumi.
- His given name Ippo means "one step", creating a pun in the series' title (as Hajime means "beginning" or "first", therefore "The First Step").
- He once practiced outboxing with his kouhai Naomichi. Though he was good at dodging and had rhythm, he found it difficult to throw punches and keep his concentration. The coach told him never to do it again and he has yet to.
- Ippo is a terrible driver, though he can steer a boat just fine. He's also awful at baseball and editing manga, and has never been shown catching a fish, though he has been shown fishing numerous times.
- In a real-life simulated fight between Ippo and Joe from Ashita no Joe, Ippo won in the fifth round by knockout. He was knocked down several times during the fight and had trouble keeping up with Joe's speed, but, in true Ippo fashion, he got back up each time and kept trying, until he finally scored his signature liver blow.
- Although numerous characters displayed the show's trademark "fighting spirit" (characterized by a glowing light in their eyes), Ippo didn't "activate" his spirit until his title match with Sendou Takeshi in the season finale of the anime. That he proceeded to win the fight is evidence that he has the strongest fighting spirit in the series.
- Ippo's boxing style is said to be modeled after Mike Tyson and Hamada Tsuyoshi. His Dempsey Roll is named after the technique used by World Champion Jack Dempsey (ca. 1920s).
- Though he is a 126 lb. featherweight, Ippo once knocked out someone from two weight classes higher than him with a single punch (making him flip backward through the air, no less), and can give Takamura, then a middleweight, trouble in an arm wrestling match.
- As of volume 99, Ippo can catch an estimated 23 leaves with both hands, with at least 11 being caught with his left. He can also carry 8 boxes full of fish.
- He hadn't received a single down since his fight with Sanada Kazuki, until his fight against Alfredo Gonzales. (A total of 10 matches in a row.)