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- Characters Introduced: None
- Locations Introduced: None
- Techniques Introduced: None
- Mentioned Boxers: Ricardo López, Oscar De La Hoya
- Title Page Character(s): Naomichi Yamada, Aoki Masaru, Kimura Tatsuya
Mari asks Ippo if he wants some information about Yamada, to which he replies that he does. She first explains that Yamada is an underdog who is being used as a stepping stone. She explains that the sole purpose of fighters like Yamada in matches like the upcoming one, is just so that people can see them lose. She reveals to Ippo how after only eight fights, Yamada achieved a title shot; having the opportunity to easily train, become stronger and defeat opponents on his level with no risks, Yamada instead went around challenging the strongest fighters of different gyms, and during his matches, took devastating damage against them. By doing this, Yamada took a shorter, but incredibly more difficult path to the belt. She ends by saying that Yamada is someone who decided to start boxing because he admired Ippo, and once he became a boxer, he made him his goal.
After several days of worrying the people from the gym with his attitude towards Yamada, Ippo has a conversation with Itagaki about how it is better to set goals higher in order to face a challenge while achieving them, and not fall once successful. This causes him to reflect on how he set Date and Miyata as his own goals, and now he is chosen as someone else's. Realizing how important the match is for both him and Yamada, Ippo decides to answer the challenge with all his strength.
Not angry at Ippo anymore, Kamogawa begins mitt-hitting with him once again. He explains how Yamada might or might not be weak from weight management, but a seriously determined Ippo tells him how he hopes he is in good condition. He shows Kamogawa his resolve by punching the mitt so hard that he sends him to the floor.