Sawamura Ryuuhei (沢村 竜平, lit. sawamura ryūhei) is a recurring character in Hajime no Ippo. He was the former JBC Junior Lightweight Champion and has since retired from boxing. His main fights in the series are against Makunouchi Ippo and Mashiba Ryou. He is the main antagonist in the third season of the anime.

His surname is Sawamura. In Japan, surnames are listed before given names.

Sawamura Ryuuhei
Sawamura Ryuuhei PS3 View 1
Japanese Name 沢村 竜平
Nickname(s) "The Owari Dragon"
"The Deathblow Dragon"
"The Mad Dog"
Gender Male
Homeland Japan Nagoya, Japan
Family Mother (Deceased)
Father (Deceased)
Occupation Construction worker
Boxing trainer
Boxer Info
Weight Class Featherweight
Junior Lightweight
Height 170 cm (5'7")
Reach 170 cm (66")
Style Out Boxer
Stance Unorthodox Stance
Previous Affiliation(s) Karil boxing gym
Previous Trainer(s) Karil
Date(s) Retired 19 April 1996
Boxing Record
Total fights 14
Wins 11
Wins by KO 5
Losses 3
Draws 0
Championships JBC Jr. Lightweight
Manga Debut Round 462
Anime Debut Round 111
Voice Actor Miki Shinichirou


Sawamura is a lonely, violent individual who had gone through a very painful childhood. As a child, his stepfather was an alcoholic who regularly physically abused Sawamura and his mother, and eventually the child Sawamura stabbed his stepfather with a knife in order to protect his mother. Soon afterwards, his mother places him in the care of the state while telling him she is looking for a job, when in reality, he is being abandoned by his mother as well (something that takes Sawamura three years to realize). His isolation and bitterness is only amplified when he is falsely condemned for killing doves that he had fed. His only friends are his old teacher from middle school and Sendou Takeshi, though he treats neither of them as such.


After his teacher introduces him to Karil, Ryuuhei becomes a violent boxer with a tendency to foul for no reason other than to hurt his opponents. He eventually fights Ippo for the JBC Featherweight title. He is the second challenger of Ippo's to develop a counter to the Dempsey Roll, but is the first to succeed in using it without getting hurt by Ippo in return. In the fourth round, Sawamura all but has victory in his grasp, but he postpones to win by KO Ippo and ending the match to instead cause further damage. Ippo then executes his Dempsey Roll counter counter in the following rounds and defeats Sawamura. After his loss against Ippo, he begins to realize the value of hard work, and sets Ippo as his goal, wanting to "experience the same heights as Makunouchi". Mashiba challenges him to a title match because Sawamura had attacked his sister prior to the Ippo match. After he wins his fight against Mashiba (due to the fact that Mashiba was disqualified), he refuses to accept the belt, and instead rides away on his motorcycle. However, due to the massive head damage he suffered during the fight, he accidentally rides straight into oncoming traffic. His injuries are so bad that he is forced to retire from boxing forever.

After his retirement, Sawamura's sociopathic rants and behavior are shown to have subsided. He sports a series of facial scars, as well as a calmer personality and a keen eye for boxing. He even enjoys a long conversation with Ippo and Sendou during Miyata Ichirou's match against Randy Boy Jr. and seems to have a sense of humor, albeit a sarcastic one. Sawamura also looks to have chosen to become a trainer and holds Miyata's father in high regard, calling him a genius second in the fight against Randy Boy Junior.

Match HistoryEdit

Result Record Opponent Type Rd., Time Date Location Notes
WIN 11-3-0 Mashiba Ryou DQ 6(10) 1:04 1996-19-04 Tokyo, Japan Won Japanese Junior Lightweight Title despite being knocked out of the ring
WIN 10-3-0 Unknown  TKO 2(10) 1996 Nagoya, Japan Won 4th Places Junior Light Weight
LOSS 9-3-0 Makunouchi Ippo TKO 7(10), 1:15 1995-06-15 Tokyo, Japan Lost Japan Featherweight Title match
WIN 9-2-0 Shimabukuro Iwao Decision 4(4), 3:00 1994 Japan Japan Rookie King Tournament Finals
LOSS 8-2-0 Unknown DQ 1(4), 0:36 1993 Japan Loss by Disqualify, Lost Rookie of the year Championship match
LOSS 8-1-0 Unknown DQ ?(4) 1992 Japan Loss by Disqualify, suspended for 1 year


Preceded by Title Succeeded by
Mashiba Ryou JBC Junior Lightweight Champion
April, 1996


Sawamura carries a menacing appearance. He is tall for a featherweight, with a lean but toned build and spiky, unkempt dark-colored hair. His eyebrows are thin and slanted upward at the outsides, with eyes almost always half-closed in a look that can be interpreted as boredom or distaste. His eyes' color is sometimes light brown, sometimes reddish. His nose points straight down rather than curving outward.




Much like Mashiba Ryou, Sawamura is a dark, malicious boxer with a devastating fighting style and an overwhelming tendency to foul. Unlike Mashiba who fouls in desperation however, Sawamura will often commit illegal moves despite having gained the upper hand. He is shown to be cruel, bloodthirsty, and antagonistic. It is occasionally implied that he may have cannibalistic tendencies, but he changes after being defeated by Makunouchi Ippo whereas his cannibalistic rants cease and he develops a liking for hard work, driven by his want to be on the same level as Ippo. His cruelty and viciousness continue on however, and is shown again in his match against Mashiba, which turned out to be a match full of fouls and illegality. Post-retirement however, he seems to have mellowed out. Though he remains cold and cynical, his more aggressive and vicious behaviour seems to have faded away.

Boxing Style and TechniqueEdit

Sawamuras fighting pose

Sawamura's stance

First and foremost Sawamura was a gifted counter-puncher, his sense for counter-punching is even greater than Miyata's. The difference between Sawamura and Miyata's counter-punching is that Sawamura hits his opponent before or after they have thrown a punch, purely to punish them, rather than during their punch, which Miyata does to use the opponent's momentum against them. As a result, Sawamura's counters have been called "dark/evil" while Miyata's are considered "light/good". Sawamura has fast and heavy jabs which are nicknamed the bullet and his most powerful shot is a Right Straight nicknamed the flash. Because of his rough childhood, Sawamura is rugged and is not above committing fouls, despite his great strength and sense for boxing.



More of a hindrance than anything else is the fact that Sawamura has a tendency to commit fouls due to some anger problems and his overall sadistic personality. In fact, this has cause him his only losses up to the point where he faces Ippo. Also, because of his sadistic personality, he will actually not go for a knock out punch until he feels like it which, while looks good for points, still means that the opponent has a chance to come back, though up until his fight against Ippo, was never a problem before which ended up causing him his loss.



  • The character for Ryuu (龍) in his name means "Dragon", creating his nickname the Owari Dragon (尾張の龍, Owari no Ryuu).
  • Though not directly stated, Sawamura's boxing style is strikingly similar to legendary boxer Kostya Tszyu in particular his bullet jab and thunderbolt in addition to the fact he punches very hard for an out boxer this is somewhat Ironic as despite the in ring similarity they are both polar opposites in personality. 
  • His boxing stance strongly resembles a Muay Thai stance. This may not be a coincidence, as it is shown that Sawamura knows other forms of martial arts when he street brawls with a teenage Sendou Takeshi. His tendency to hit his opponents illegally with his knee is also good evidence of this, as the knee strike is one of the 8 fundamental techniques in Muay Thai.

Start a Discussion Discussions about Sawamura Ryuuhei

  • 1996 Retirements

    3 messages
    • Guess when I re-read\watch Ippo I got to watch for that kind of thing. If you want me to check anything ask, if I remember why I'm watchin...
    • It's 24 years since Ippo first came out in 1989 iirc. Time passed a lot quicker around the Rookie Kings, then slowed down after Ippo bec...

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