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- Characters Introduced: None
- Locations Introduced: None
- Techniques Introduced: None
- Mentioned Boxers: None
- Title Page Character(s): None
While working, Ippo begs the clients to stop calling him champion, however they reply that it feels so unreal that they can not avoid it. When he is left alone, Ippo reflects on the reality of being a champion, and decides to go out for road work (which his new dog is unable to keep up with).
Back at home, Ippo receives a call from Kumi who asks if he has any free time to meet her. Ippo immediately replies that he does, and recalls the promise he made her about the autograph. Once he meets with Kumi, she gives him a present for his birthday, as she was not aware of it at the time of the party. He also gives her a present; his first autograph as the JBC featherweight champion. As he reflects on all the good things becoming the champion has done for him, Ippo is told by Kumi that she can no longer see him, and then she runs away leaving him alone.
Confused about the situation, Ippo goes to the gym, where he is greeted by it's new members who were inspired by his latest match, and congratulate him on the victory. Yagi informs Ippo that the champion carnival is approaching and two members of the gym will be participating. Knowing that he will be defending, Ippo assumes the other gym member is Takamura, but the latter informs him that he relinquished his title, as he is aiming for the world. Kamogawa then reveals that it is Kimura the one who will be facing Mashiba for the junior lightweight JBC title. Ippo deduces that this is why Kumi decided to break off contact with him, but he knows he must support his friend nevertheless. Kimura states that no one in the gym can help him train for Mashiba, so will be enlisting the help of the one who can.
He later goes out and waits for someone to pass by during his road work and begs him for help to defeat Mashiba.