Ippo, the son of a fishing boat tour owner, takes up boxing to increase his confidence. Through intense training and willpower Ippo claims the Japanese featherweight title.
- Satoshi Nishimura
Makunouchi Ippo defeated Sendou Takeshi with his Dempsey Roll and became the Japanese Featherweight Champion! Reflecting on his recent title defenses, Ippo reminisces about his late father Kazuo, and his own desires to be as strong as his dad was.
With his title on the line, Ippo goes toe-to-toe with Shimabukuro. The battle is so intense Ippo doesn’t even have room to breathe, to the point he starts turning blue! With Ippo struggling at the “bottom of the ocean,” has Shimabukuro met his goal of destroying the Dempsey Roll?!
Ippo emerges victorious after a vicious war with Shimabukuro, and Itagaki’s sister Nanako comes to pay him a visit at home while he rests. Meanwhile, Aoki is busy preparing for his first ever title match against the lightweight champion Imae Katsutaka.
After an infuriating face-off with Imae, Aoki turns to his girlfriend Tomiko for comfort. Meanwhile, Imae chooses to focus all his energy on boxing and his upcoming title defense, rebuffing his former girlfriend Sachiko’s attempts to rekindle their romance. Will Tomiko’s support carry Aoki to victory, or will Imae’s intense focus keep the belt on his waist?
Imae’s long hours of research quickly pay off as he decimates Aoki by countering every one of his trademark attacks, even the Frog Punch! As Tomiko watches on and the crowd awaits the inevitable knockout, Aoki does something that leaves the whole arena in shock.
Imae, cowed by Aoki’s fearsome new move, suddenly realizes what it is Aoki has that he lacks. Summoning up all the energy he has left, he faces his challenger once again. As the fight drags on, will Imae retain his championship, or will Aoki finally reach the belt?
Sendou Takeshi, the "Naniwa Tiger," returns to the ring! But it's his sparring partner, Sawamura Ryuuhei, who knocks Ippo for a loop when he calls the Dempsey Roll a "clumsy technique" and declares he's gunning for the Featherweight Title!
Ippo's next title defense is confirmed to be against Sawamura Ryuuhei, and after realizing the Dempsey Roll is vulnerable to counter punches, Ippo realizes he doesn't stand a chance. His only option is to somehow evolve the Dempsey Roll into a more effective move, but as he mulls over exactly how to do it, a surprisingly familiar face appears in front of him.
Volg has return to Japan to take back his boxing gloves from Ippo. He hopes to travel to America, but with no contacts there he must rely on Coach Kamogawa to introduce him to someone. The gang at the gym asks Volg to spar with Ippo to help him prepare for the Sawamura fight, but after such a long time away from the ring, can the Russian get in fighting shape in time?
As the fight with Sawamura draws near, Ippo has pinned all his hopes on the newly-evolved Dempsey Roll, to the point where practicing it has left him worn out and overtrained. Left with a dire warning from his massage therapist about the toll his new move is taking, will Ippo be able to perfect his technique in time for the fight?!
Sawamura's blatant fouls and bullet-like left jabs leave Ippo scrambling to establish some kind of rhythm. He stubbornly forces his way inside, but is he charging headfirst into a trap?
Ippo mounts a desperate, full frontal assault as Sawamura continues to toy with him. Determined to take back the pace, Ippo begins to dodge the Bullets and get into a rhythm as he strikes back. Almost naturally he falls into the Dempsey Roll pattern, and Sawamura makes his move!
The evolved Dempsey Roll saved Ippo from the jaws of defeat. Bolstered by the cheering fans, he chases down Sawamura. But with Sawamura more willing than ever to risk an illegal move, will Ippo's last bit of energy be enough to defend the title?
Ippo visits Dr. Yamaguchi and learns the full extent of the damage caused by the evolved Dempsey Roll. As he walks home on crutches, Umezawa drives by and gives him a lift. Ippo's relief is short-lives, however, as Umezawa suddenly reveals he plans to quit working on the Makunouchi fishing boat!
To celebrate Ippo's win and recovery, the whole gym gang hops aboard the Makunouchi Fishing Boat for a fun fishing trip. Yagi suggests they liven things up with a little contest, and suddenly a relaxing afternoon turns into an all-out war!
While Takamura approaches his physical limits as he cuts weight for his upcoming world title match, the American champion David Eagle arrives in Japan. Talented, dedicated, respectful, and honorable, he exudes the aura of a true champion.
It's time for Kimura and Aoki to step into the ring at the Yokohama Arena! Kimura's up first, and nerves come into play as he stands before a huge crowd for the first time. Then when Aoki's turn comes up, he finds himself perplexed by a boxer every bit as unorthodox as himself! Can the duo set the right tone for Takamura's title match?!
It's the semifinal match, Miyata vs. Dachboy, and the Miyata camp recognizes a familiar face in the opponent's corner... Mister Sakaguchi, the former manager of the boxer Miyata beat for the OPBF title!
It's finally time for the main event, Takamura Mamoru vs. David Eagle! The challenger is full of vim and vigor, but even in the face of Takamura's fury, Eagle's face remains calm and collected.
Despite being stymied by Eagle, Takamura assures his corner he has a plan for victory. Just as he seems to be making progress, a shocking development changes the entire fight.
Blood sprays across the ring as Takamura and Eagle pound at each other's cuts. Takamura's good eye is quickly swelling shut, and the ringside doctor stands ready to call the match at any time.
And old photo and a little prodding from Ippo and Aoki prompts Coach Kamogawa and Nekota to take a trip down memory lane. Theirs is a tale of hope, frustration, and ultimately redemption in the early days of postwar Japan.
Prizefighting turns out to be no match for boxing as Sergeant Ralph Anderson easily manhandles Kamogawa and Nekota. The two fighters redouble their training even as they adjust to their new lives living with Yuki...and each other.
Kamogawa breathes a sigh of relief as he watches Nekota run circles around Anderson with his spectacular footwork... Until round four, when the soldier's frustration reaches a critical mass and things take a dark turn.
Kamogawa resorts to pounding a log with his bare fists as he trains to face Anderson and avenge Nekota. Anderson rediscovers his pride as a boxer and brings Miguel along as his cornerman. Everything comes down to this!