24
Apr
09

Hajime no Ippo New Challenger ep 15

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Summary:

 

The gym is getting full of excitement with Takamura’s upcoming World Title match, Ippo’s upcoming title defense, Itagaki’s debut match, and even Kimura has a match coming up; with Kimura and Itagaki’s debut match opening for Takamura. Ippo’s match is set as the semi-final before Takamura’s Title match; though they haven’t found a challenger yet, and Yagi informs Ippo that the match will take place at Ryogoku Kokugikan because Takamura wanted to avenge Date’s loss at the same venue. All of this excitement leaves Aoki out in the cold as he’s the only one without a match. A little later Fuji comes in since he heard about Takamura’s World Title match. The coach informs him that he’s in the bathroom; as he’s been spending more time using it as of late. Meanwhile Takamura’s in the bathroom checking his droppings for any weird things; when he gets out Fuji comments that he must be nervous since he’s taking so much time in the bathroom. Takamura retorts that the champion should be nervous since he refused his challenge and accepted it later. Fuji explains that it was probably a management tactic to get a better deal, and Fuji continues saying that this particular champion is a little harder to control than others as he typically doesn’t train and cuts off contact with his trainer until right before a match. Takamura believes that he’s probably training furiously in order to beat him, but is horrified to learn that the champion doesn’t even know his name as he hung up the phone as soon as he heard his challenger was Japanese. Takamura is riled up by this, and uses this energy and puts it into his training.

 

Takamura’s match is finally here, and Itagaki and Kimura open for him. In the locker room Itagaki and Kimura are pumping each other up as to set the stage for Takamura. Itagaki leaves the locker room and enters the ring; Aoki and Ippo prepare to shout out “MANABU” to support Itagaki, but it seems that it’s unnecessary as there is a crowd of college girls cheering for Itagaki. Itagaki’s opponent is Makino Fumito, a pro that has recently debuted with 0 wins 2 losses. Itagaki decides to start the match by dodging the first blow to gauge his condition; Itagaki is able to easily evade Makino and the match seems completely one sided at this point. Makino desperately throws punches hoping for one of them to land, but Itagaki lands a counter on him. Itagaki thinking about closing the gap between him and Imai, rushes towards Makino; however Ippo is wary of Makino as Ippo can see desperation in him to win that isn’t normal. Meanwhile Makino is remembering the words of his coach that he has to stop boxing if he loses since he feels that Makino doesn’t have enough talent. Makino, who is desperate to win because he loves boxing, commits a foul by head butting Itagaki. Itagaki stops and tries to tell the referee that Makino just head butted; Makino uses this chance to land another hit on Itagaki. Itagaki goes down and the referee starts counting; the rest of the match continues with Makino committing fouls and Itagaki trying to make an appeal and getting downed while doing so. Aoki comments that this is a typical pattern of how and ex-amateur can lose by not being used to rough fights. By the end of it Itagaki loses by being downed 4 times, which is the limit for a 4-rounder, and is booed by the crowd. 

 

In the locker room a frustrated Itagaki complains about why the referee didn’t see the fouls and asks Ippo if he agrees with him. Ippo certainly agrees that those were fouls, but puts the blame on Itagaki. Itagaki should have been able to see how desperate his opponent was and should have seen those fouls coming. Ippo continues saying that anything can happen in the pro ring and part of being a pro is being able to deal with those situations; he tells Itagaki that you don’t stop for any reason; if your opponent commits fouls you still need to fight back. Itagaki, feeling betrayed, runs out of the locker room. Back in the ring, Ippo arrives in the middle of Kimura’s match; unfortunately Kimura is beaten pretty badly by a low-ranked boxer. Aoki comments that Kimura’s been away from the ring for so long that he’s forgotten his own boxing style; so he’s using too many blows that require a wider arc swing. Basically Kimura is over-swing too much and his opponent is using those opportunities to get away and land hits on him. The fight lasts to the final round and Kimura wins by decision; to the anger of the crowd as they felt Kimura’s boxing was a disgrace. 

 

The main event finally arrives and the crowd gets pumped when they see Takamura in his bear costume. Unfortunately, when he takes it off the crowd is shocked to see Takamura as a pile of skin and bones as it looked like he failed his weight-control. The fight is about to begin and Aoki prays for Takamura to win as he feels responsible for Takamura’s condition.

 

Opinions:

Man, Itagaki sounds whinier than he did in the manga. I agree with Ippo, if you’re a pro you have to deal with fouls; not to say cheating is ok, but don’t stop your fight in the middle just to complain! It’s something out of kindergarten, and it shows how sheltered Itagaki’s boxing life has been. If you compare it to the first time Ippo encountered a foul, it shows a world of difference in attitudes; Ippo even comments that this is the difference between Imai and Itagaki. In any case I’m glad this is the last time we see Itagaki so pathetic looking, and I’m looking forward to the Takamura vs. Brian Hawk match coming in a few episodes.

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