Saeki Takuma (冴木 • 卓麻 lit. saeki takuma) is a recurring character in Hajime no Ippo.
He was a featherweight professional boxer affiliated with the Kawai Boxing Gym. His most prominent matches in the series are against Makunouchi Ippo, Sendō Takeshi and lastly Itagaki Manabu, upon finally retiring after that match.
His surname is Saeki. In Japan, surnames are listed before given names.
|Japanese Name:||冴木 卓麻|
|Birth Date:||April 7, 1970|
|Occupation:||Sushi Bar Restaurant Chef|
|Height:||170.2 cm (5'7")|
|Reach:||195.6 cm (77")|
|Current Affiliation:||Kawai Boxing Gym|
|Trainer:||Kawai Boxing Gym trainer|
|Date(s) Retired:||c 1997|
|Wins by KO:||5|
|Manga Debut:||Round 138|
|Manga Final:||Round 980|
|Anime Debut:||Round 43 (S1 - 43)|
|Anime Final:||Round 45 (S1 - 45|
|Japanese VA:||Yanada Kiyoyuki|
Saeki Takuma was an Olympic Representative that was considered a superior technician as an Amateur Boxer. When Fujii Minoru brought Saeki match tapes to Ippo, he mentions that Saeki would have won in Barcelona (where 1992 Olympics where held) if he went.
He used to attend a sports university, in Touyou College of Athletics, where he was part of their boxing club as an Amateur Boxer. While there, the club developed a lot of special equipment that only he could use. Saeki was never fond of the fact that one could achieve the same victory for touching someone with gloves as knocking them out completely. Soon after, Saeki left the team and turned to the pro ring where he climbed the ranks and eventually became known as Speed Star for his unmatched speed and flexibility in the ring.
When talking to his former Boxing Club Captain of Touyou College of Athletics, Saeki mentions that he found Amateur Boxing boring since they used nothing but technique, where he wanted something more. Pro Boxing is different, where the boxers all have that killer instinct since they put their souls in their fists and their lives on the line in each match. The Boxing Club Captain mentions that Saeki left in search of more thrilling opponents, but thinks there shouldn't be anyone able to cope with his top speed even in the Pros since it seem like there no thrill if the punch can never hit him. Saeki mentions that that thrill is still there with his next opponent (Makunouchi Ippo) because he's the man who possess the strongest fists out of all the Featherweights in the Nation.
Class A Tournament I
He is seen congratulating Ippo after the match in high spirits. When questioned about his injuries Saeki answers with confidence that his legs are still fine, so he himself would turn out fine as well. After the statement Saeki leaves.
JBC Title Match vs Sendō Takeshi
Class A Tournament II
During the match, Saeki severely overwhelms Itagaki by showing superior speed in the preliminary rounds. In the later rounds however, Itagaki uses his own version of the Ali Shuffle (known as the Itagaki Shuffle) to catch Saeki off-guard. Saeki, with a weakened body and failing legs, ultimately falls to Itagaki's newfound strength.
|LOSS||12-3-0||Itagaki Manabu||KO||4(6), 1:28||1997||Tokyo, Japan||Class A Tournament Finals|
|WIN||12-2-0||Maezono Makoto||KO||5(6)||1997||Tokyo, Japan||Class A Tournament Semi-Finals|
|LOSS||5-2-0||Sendō Takeshi||KO||1(10), 1:07||1993-07||Osaka, Japan||Japanese Featherweight Title Match|
|LOSS||4-1-0||Makunouchi Ippo||KO||4(6), 2:12||1992-07||Tokyo,Japan||"Speed Star" Class-A Tournament, Round 1|
Saeki has a muscular complexion, as with most boxers and a relatively darkened skin tone. He grows his dark brown hair long and shoulder length, choosing to tie it up in a pony tail during boxing matches and training. His eyebrows are thin and his eyes are slanted with dark brown/black pupils.
|-||Speed Star||スピード・スター||Speed Star|
Based on his dialogue to his Former Boxing Club Captain, Saeki is a thrill seeker, where he likes being put in a life or death situation that a Professional Boxing ring has.
Saeki is essentially a hard worker with a passion for boxing. He has utmost confidence in his legs and his speed in the ring, a confidence he fortifies through a sparring match with Date Eiji where the latter failed to catch him even once in multiple rounds. Despite hearing that Date disliked his style of fighting, Saeki took the statement as a compliment. Unlike any other character in the series, Saeki seems to share a personal bond with his legs and feet, frequently mentally conversing with them to keep himself standing in fights. He calls his legs guys, as shown in his fight against Itagaki when they were failing him.
He is on good terms with previous gymmates as well as opponents in the ring, and displays excellent sportsmanship regardless of the outcome of the match.
Saeki is a famous out-boxer with the ring name "Speed Star" for his unmatched speed and prowess in matches. When researching Saeki, Ippo noticed that when Saeki was throwing successive jabs, he moves around the opponent in a clockwise pattern.
During the spar with Date, Fujii Minoru noticed that Saeki's posture is where his knees and legs are bent and his hands are over his knees (similar to stances taken by baseball players where they can easily shift their weight to go in any direction, where as standard pose makes shifting weight for dashing and retreating easier. However, it makes going to the side more difficult.) Date comments that his style is similar to Terry Norris (WBC JR Middleweight Champion) and Pernell Whitaker (Former World Lightweight Champion.)
As an out-boxer, Saeki's style of fighting is similar to fellow flicker jab user Mashiba Ryou. His boxing sense combined with his sharpened footwork make for a deadly combination even Date Eiji couldn't keep up with.
Despite Saeki's confidence in his speed, the condition of his legs have been shown to deteriorate between his matches against Makunouchi Ippo and Itagaki Manabu, eventually failing him in a match against the latter.
His boxing style is also mentioned by Ippo to be "too perfect", or refined to the point of predictability. An opponent with decent boxing sense would always be able to predict where Saeki is in the ring.