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 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 Sawamura stabbed his stepfather with a knife in order to protect his mother. Whether this was in self defense or not is unknown. 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. Following his loss, Sawamura is seen to be greatly embittered in the hospital and angrily lashes out at Sendo who is consulting him nearby. However, it is not until Sendo tells Sawamura that Kawabe was bought up in the same institution as him did he finally realize he had someone who relates to his struggles of loneliness. Later, when Kawabe catches up with Sendo and asks of Sawamura, Sendo tells him that after he gets out, he's going to treat his teacher to an all you can eat.


Sawamura kicking a downed Mashiba.

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. The bout begins and although both boxers appear to be equally matched, a series of fouls from Sawamura eventually turns the tides of the fight in his favor, and Mashiba eventually gets knocked down twice. Unimpressed by Mashiba's performance after the second knockdown, Sawamura brutally kicks a downed Mashiba in the head, much to the outrage from Toho and fans alike. After Mashiba realizes this revelation, the match turns into an all-out street fight, and Mashiba eventually manages to headbutt Sawamura in the eye, putting him at an extreme disadvantage by partly obstructing his vision. With Sawamura's injury, Mashiba manages to bring the fight back into equal grounds. After a brutal mudfight between the two, Sawamura eventually manages to down Mashiba again, but the latter musters up the strength to continue fighting. Before the referee signals to begin the fight, Mashiba sucker punches Sawamura and proceeds to brutalize him, leaving him in a bloody mess and causing him to free fall out of the ring. Mashiba is subsequently disqualified and Sawamura is declared the new champion.

After he wins his fight against Mashiba, 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 Ryuuhei PS3 View 1

Sawamura's appearance.

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, brooding boxer with a devastating fighting style and a tendency to foul. However, unlike Mashiba's openly aggressive personality, Sawamura possesses the attitude of a cold, calculating and oftentimes psychotic killer. Also unlike Mashiba, who fouls in desperation, Sawamura will often commit illegal moves simply out of pure malice, even when he has the upper hand in a fight. He is shown to be highly cruel and antagonistic and has openly expressed his bloodlust and desire to kill numerous times, all of these traits stemming from a harsh and disturbing childhood. Before and during his match with Makunouchi Ippo, he even goes into somewhat cannibalistic rants, desiring to tenderize Ippo so he could relive a childhood memory with his mother. Following the revelation from Sendou that Kawabe was bought up in similar harsh environments, he becomes somewhat humble and his psychopathic tendencies begin to lessen, developing a liking for hard work and a drive to be on the same level as Ippo. However, his cruelty and viciousness continue on, 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 behavior 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 his sadistic personality. In fact, his tendency to foul cost him his boxing career, as Mashiba brutalized him in retort to this behavior, despite the former actually outclassing the latter during the match. Also because of his blood-lust, he will actually not go for a knock out punch until he feels like it which, while still a positive in terms of points, still means that the opponent has a chance to come back, as was the case when fighting Ippo.



  • 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.
  • After Sawamura lost to Ippo in the JBC Featherweight title match, it only took him only 10 months to heal from his injures received (listed in Round 502), "3 broken ribs, 4 lost teeth, and a fracture in his left eye that requires immediate surgery and extend hospital stay..." before his next JBC title match to Mashiba as a Jr Featherweight.
  • According to the Japanese Wiki, Sawamura's fighting style was based on Boxer Ike Quartey.

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...