Mari Īmura (飯村真理, Īmura Mari) is a semi-recurring supporting character in Hajime no Ippo.

She is a reporter for the boxing magazine Monthly Boxing Fan. She is mostly seen with Fujii Minoru during public sparring matches and press conferences, but she does sometimes go off on her own to research background on some of Makunouchi Ippo upcoming opponents..

Her surname is Īmura. In Japan, surnames are listed before given names.


Part I

Mountain Training Arc

Mari meeting the Kamogawa gym members for the first time

Mari talking with Aoki and Kimura, visiting the Kamogawa gym for the first time.

After hearing about Takamura defeating a bear, Mari went with Fujii Minoru to the Kamogawa Boxing Gym to find out more about it. When the other reporters leave, Mari was introduced by Fujii to the gym members. When Kimura Tatsuya offered her information and mentioned that boxers "like the ladies", Mari told him to not mind her and that she does not want special treatment just because of her gender. Aoki Masaru and Kimura asked her about her favourite boxers. After Mari mentioned a few popular boxers, they ask who she likes in Japan, which she claimed that there is no one to watch in Japan and watches boxing in Mexico and Las Vegas, claiming that the champions in Japan match up to four or six rounder boxers in the Mexico and Las Vegas area. Despite this, she comments on how Takamura is one of the few Japanese boxers that have the potential to rise to the top of the world. Mari then sees Makunouchi Ippo, who she began to get interested in.

Mari getting Ippo's autograph

Mari receiving Ippo's autograph.

Mari went to the Kōrakuen Hall to attend Takamura's title defence against Itō Takaaki. After Aoki and Kimura's match, Mari introduced herself to Ippo and Nekota Ginpachi, claiming that she is interested in Ippo. When Takamura's entrance began, Mari was impressed by the bear skin. The next day, Mari visited the Kamogawa Boxing Gym and waited for Ippo to return from roadwork. When Ippo returned, Mari commented on her further interest in him after watching videos of his matches, wanting to see him in action in a spar. However, without Kamogawa Genji's supervision, a spar is not possible. Mari decided to ask questions instead, however Ippo gave her boring answers until she asked which fight gave him the greatest impression on him, which was his fight against Date Eiji, surprising her. Her last question was why he started boxing. When Ippo mentioned he was asked about it before, Mari decided not to ask if other reporters already asked. She then asked for an autograph, since she believed his autograph could be worth some money in the future. Ippo decided to do it after being talked into it.

Lallapallooza Arc

Takeshi's grandmother telling Mari about Takeshi's past

Mari learning about Sendō's past from his grandmother.

Mari went to Osaka in order to interview JBC featherweight champion Sendō Takeshi before his title defence against Ippo. When she arrived at the Sendō Shop, Mari met Sendō's grandmother. The grandmother requested Mari to wait, as Sendō had left to run. Mari began to interview Sendō's grandmother instead about Sendō's past. Mari got confirmation from the grandmother that Sendō lost his parents and she raised him by herself. Mari then asked how the grandmother raised him. After hearing the story of Sendō's past, Sendō himself entered his home. Mari then learned about Sendō's leg weights, even trying them on herself for reference material. After Sendō explained the benefits of the ankle weights, Mari asked Sendō if he heard the rumours of Ippo having defeated five opponents with KO's in five days. Sendō then invited her to see him spar for herself.

Yanaoka talking about the Dempsey Roll to Mari

Mari talking to Yanaoka about their plan against the Dempsey Roll.

When they arrived at the Naniwa Boxing Club, Yanaoka claimed that the spar session would be a three-man spar, with Sendō's opponents being in-fighters of higher weight classes. When Mari mentioned the Dempsey Roll, Yanaoka claimed that he had no specific strategies to beat the Dempsey Roll, shocking Mari. After Sendō knocked out the first opponent, Yanaoka mentioned about Sendō's previous matches against Ippo and Volg that in terms of power they are better, but Sendō always lost close range. After thinking it over, he realised the key was weight shifting that was when he saw the limits to brawl boxing. So he had Sendō run more and more to create a strong lower body. He told her about Sendō's plan for Ippo was just a heads on duel, where they will take on the Dempsey Roll or anything else and keep standing. After hearing that, Mari believed using the Dempsey Roll on Sendō was near impossible since it was an attack that relied on moving forward, and Ippo can't use it in the corner. So a head on duel actually a method to seal the Dempsey Roll.

Ippo talks about Sendo with Mari

Ippo discuss his thoughts about Sendō to Mari.

Walking away from the gym, Sendō told Mari he waited a long time for his rematch with Ippo. Mari asked Sendō if he is scared of Ippo. Sendō told her that Ippo has terrifying punches, but above all else, he was afraid of losing. He mentioned that punches that rock him from head to his toes, his blood boils, and it excited him. When he previously lost, it was the greatest feeling ever, and he can't wait to continue it. As he left, he told Mari to give Ippo an message that he will be standing at the end. After Mari published her interview with Sendō, she stopped by Kamogawa gym to hear Ippo's thoughts on it. After expressing his thoughts, Ippo claimed to feel that they weren't really be fighting over the belt. When Mari heard that, she told Fujii that she that that she could have written a better article about Ippo, but they both said the same thing in a different way. She couldn't understand how they were able to create a bond in their previous match.. She asked Fujii on his opinion on the match, but he didn't know who would win. Mari didn't either, but expected it to end with a KO.

She later attended the match between Sendō and Ippo with Fujii. At the start of the match, she was shocked that Ippo used the Dempsey Roll on Sendō that knocked him down. Sendō was able to get up, and use what he shown in his previous spars. It turned into a hitting match over the course of the fight. She saw Ippo win it in the end with the Dempsey Roll. After the match, she told Fujii that it was hard for her since she didn't have the confidence to portray the match on paper. But Fujii told her to write what she saw and felt at the time, but she knew that without being told. Fujii was worried about Sendō, since he thought losing to the same man twice would cause his charisma to take a blow, and wound his pride. She asked him if he mention that Sendō would retire, but Fujii believed it would be hard for Sendō to face his fans that cheered for him.

Execution Arc

As a request from Ippo, Mari went to the Kamogawa gym and gave him the video tapes of Mashiba Ryō's spars before his last title match. She told him that the opponents in it were not that great and may not help much, but Ippo thanked her for it and believed it will be of some use. She then commented how everyone at the gym are great friends with each other. Mari told Takamura that Ippo called her for the video and that she could picture him constantly bowing for it on the phone commenting how everyone at the gym are great friends with each other.

Later, she attended the title match between JBC junior lightweight champion Mashiba and Kimura with Fujii. They discussed how the match poster was calling the match an "Execution" making the ring seem like a crime scene. They noticed Kōrakuen Hall was sold out of tickets, which only Ippo and Mashiba are able to draw a huge crowd for different reasons. Mari noted Ippo brings in a younger crowd, who see themselves in him, and cheer for him, while with Mashiba, Mari thought they came to be frightened. She then watched the match. During the match, Fujii left to talk to Kimura's parents. When Kimura finally landed a hit in the seventh round, Mari told Fujii to come back and watch. After Mashiba won, she was disappointed that she couldn't get Mashiba's comments on the match, even though she believed it was a great match. When they headed to Kimura for a comment, he revealed that he planned to retire instead of a rematch.

First Step Arc

At Monthly Boxing Fan Headquarters. Fujii's Assistant told everyone that Ippo's next title defence was against Sanada Kazuki, who was trying to conqueror his 2nd weightclass. Mari thought Ippo's first defense was going to be a real tough match, but she wondered why Sanada would move up a weightclass after seeing Ippo's match against Sendo. Fujii thought Sendo might be like Date Eiji, while Fujii's assistant believed they could tell who would win it since Ippo was probably facing the pressure of his first title defence. Mari thought the odds were 7 to 3 in Ippo's favor, but other reporters couldn't decide. Fujii believed prediction will be hard, but the fans will be excited for it. They planned to greet the boxers, but Sanada was doing a closed practice. Mari decided to go to the Imperial College of Medicine to interview Sanada instead. When she got there, all she saw were intellectual type students, and not the place for a boxer. Especially, the only son of the director of Sanada General Hospital.

Mari greeted Sanada, where he told her that he was okay for interview as long it wasn't related to his new weapons since his trainer was very specific about it. She agreed because she was interested more in why he started boxing with his background. Sanada told he didn't blindly walk the path his father set for him, where he was looking for thing to set himself apart. He saw a tiny ad in the newspaper for boxing, since he was good a sports, he went by hoping to relieve some stress on the sand bags. At the time, he didn't know anything, where it felt great to him. After 6 months of it, he got beat up in a spar. He was upset by it and began to research and study boxing and gradually get better at it. He was able to control his opponents on how he wished, but in the Pro ring, thing didn't go like he planned. People didn't fall like he thought, or they were able to stand when they should have been through. It was the same for him, where he was aware of his own strength and will power. When he had his first taste of victory, he realised he couldn't stop. Mari thought that it was for his own satisfaction that he relinquished his belt and went up a weightclass for something more dangerous. She warned him that Ippo's power wasn't easy overcome, but Sanada told her that was why he thought it was worth it. He added that he was a man of medicine, where his hand have ability to save someone, but the opposite was true too. Mari was surprised, and she realised that Sendo wasn't the normal sheltered little boy like she thought he might be.

Three weeks prior to the match, Mari and Fujii attended a public spar by Sanada. They saw Sanada spar a Jr Lightweight JBC 3rd ranker. Fujii thought it could be a good opponent similar to Ippo, but Mari wasn't for sure he could force Sanada to show everything. Hama told them they planned to show it all if the sparring partner can last to the end. During the spar, Sanada shown the Hien, and he ability to palpation, or judge the condition of the opponent's body by his punches. Sanada dominated the opponent, but able to keep calm during the break by taking his pulse. When Sanada was about to show his last weapon, the opponent was KO before it happened. She was at the weigh in, where Sanada was able to fill up into a Featherweight easily. She and Fujii attended the sold out match for the Champion Carnival. She saw Ippo battle Sanada, where he was able to outlast Sanada and declared the winner. After the match, Mari went to get Sanada since he was a doctor, She told him that Ippo had fallen asleep after the match fearing that he might have brain damage. When Sanada checked him out, he saw that Ippo was okay, and surprised that Ippo was holding his belt tightly.

Bloody Cross Arc

After Arnie Gregory finish off his sparring partner, Mr. Sakaguchi mentions they are taking applications for future opponents. The reporters mention the match with Miyata Ichirō is already set, but Mr. Sakaguchi mentions that Miyata is sensational, but it is okay since Arnie won't lose. He heard Japan would be a good for business.

After Miyata, they are thinking of fighting another Japanese boxer in Date Eiji or Makunouchi Ippo. Fujii Minoru thinks he is making light of Japanese Boxers. Mari mentions Miyata's strength is real, and she tells Mr. Sakaguchi that a boxer like his who's proud of his strength will find himself spinning his wheels and the joke will be on him.

Mr. Sakaguchi thinks reporters in Japan are blind. He wanted to keep it as a surprise to everyone in Japan, where they were with holding a souvenir. Although it is disappointing they can't show it at the spar, but it will be revealed during the match for sure, the Bloody Cross

Proof of Power Arc

Ippo has a hard time preparing for his match against Hammer Nao. He has a hard time fighting his beloved kouhai. Kimura thinks it might be the same for Nao, but Mari disagrees when she stops by the gym. She tells Aoki Masaru and Kimura Tatsuya that Nao gave a statement that he won't be holding back. They thought Mari went to Aomori to interview him, but she tells them that Nao is actual in Tokyo. He didn't have any sparring partners back home.

Ippo wonders why Nao doesn't stop by if he is in town, but Mari tells him it is natural since it is enemy territory. Kimura and Aoki plan to see him, while Mari tells Ippo some information she gathered about Nao.

Mari first explains to Ippo that Yamada is an underdog who is being used as a stepping stone. She tells him 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.

Battle of Hawk Arc

Mari attends the Press Conference forHawk vs Takamura. The press conference begins, a reporter asks Takamura what the outcome of the match will be, he proclaims it won't end on a decision, the championship will change places by KO.

Fujii Minoru asks Hawk why he antagonises his opponent on his first title defence and on enemy territory. After the champion ignores the question, Miguel Zale answers that Hawk doesn't feel uneasy and provoking his opponent is part of his personality, he finishes saying, that the belt will return to America.

Mari asks the champion if that is how he really feels, but Hawk tells her his hotel room number, asking to come visit at any time. The press conference ends, Takamura and Hawk are asked to do a fighting pose. When they are asked to put their fists under each others jaw, Hawk hits Takamura in the jaw on purpose.

As Takamura get angry, Ippo, Aoki, Kimura, and Itagaki holds him down. Takamura then tells the group that they were suppose to stop Kamogawa, who is now holding Hawk by his collar. Hawk slaps Kamogawa away, Ippo and the others are frozen as Takamura gets enraged. Hawk then goes on a frenzy, insulting Takamura and asking to gather all the Japanese women to his hotel room to spread his genes across Japan, he then walks out saying that when the match is over, they'll want his genes. As Takamura is furious, he claims he will finish it in the ring.

Part II

Submarine Wars Arc


Mari in the Manga.

Mari and Fujii head to Okinawa to interview Ippo's next opponent, Shimabukuro Iwao. When they arrive, they see him falling off a cliff into the ocean, which scares them. After not coming up for air for close to 13 minutes they start to get scared, but Shimabukuro's coach tells them not to worry. They see Shimabukuro carry a huge fish out of the water on a spear.

When he arrives, they only ask him one question, how he will beat the Dempsey Roll? Shimabukuro coach mentions that it is a bit of an exaggeration, in order to get noticed, that he mentioned. After hearing that, Fujii and Mari are disappointed, but Shimabukuro tells them it's not exactly false.

He mentions that in order to beat Ippo, you need to beat the Dempesy Roll. Shimabukuro doesn't have a strategy on it, just a belief that in the end it will be defeated. The last two opponents (Sendo and Sanada) stop it with their bodies, but lost in the end. Shimabukuro feels stopping is a way to defeating, but he thinks that it is also running away, which led to their losses.

Fujii ask him that he plans to allow Ippo to use the Dempsey Roll, how will be able to take it. Shimabukuro shows them his thick neck muslces, where he won't be going down. Fujii is amazed, and thinks he might be able to take the damage, but Mari disagrees since there is a probably a limit to how much damage he can take. Shimabukuro plans on being the one standing at the end, since the match is a battle of endurance.

Mari realizes that he has strong lungs for being able to stay under water for a long period of time. Fujii mentions Ippo's the same, and wonder which will be the first to need to go to the surface. Mari and Fujii continue to discuss the match possibilities between them.

Mari attended the weigh in before the match.

Comic Show Arc

After the match, Itagaki Nanako visits Ippo, and learns he has been sleeping the last two days. Ippo's mother tells her it is okay to check in on him while he is sleeping. Kumi visits a little later, and catches Nanako trying to kiss Ippo while he is a sleep. Kumi mentions she is here to take care of Ippo since she is a nurse.

While she is fighting with Nanako, Mari enters Ippo's room and criticises them for being too noisy. Mari is stopping by in order to interview Ippo, but won't happen while he is still out. Instead, she search thru Ippo's bedroom, looking through his photo albums with Nanako. Kumi doesn't want to look without Ippo's permission. Kumi wonders if Mari is also interested in Ippo too.

Mari notes based on how Kumi and Nanako are acting, they never made it far in their relationship with Ippo if they never been in his bedroom before. Mari mentions that she is interested in Ippo, which shocks Nanako and Kumi. Kumi tries to get them to leave in order for her to take care of Ippo since she is a nurse, which cause tem to start fighting with each other. Ippo's mother enters with some tea for them. She mentions that when Ippo is like this, she tries to let him sleep as peacefully as she can, which makes Nanako, Mari, and Kumi feel guilty, and they decide to leave.

Spirit of a Weed Arc

Mari interviews Makino Fumito.

Under Siege Arc

Phantom Card Arc

Father's Back Arc

Mari interviews Take Keīchi.

Chaos Arc

Seiken Arc

Scratch Arc

Winner Takes All Arc

Red Lightning Arc

In the Jungle Arc

Blind Step Arc

Mari goes on a date/interview with Itagaki at an amusement Park.

Oda - 002

Oda after retirement.

Prior to Ippo's match against Kojima Hisato, in order to find out about Ippo's first match against someone from a higher weight class, Mari head to Nishikawa Boxing Gym to find information about Oda Yūsuke.

Mikami mentions to Mari that Oda retired after fighting Ippo, where he wasn't able to get back into the ring again because of his "condition". When Mari asks about Oda's condition, only to find out that Oda ended up putting on a lot of weight.

During the interview, Oda tells Mari that after he retired, he became a trainer since he felt motivated after his match with Ippo. However, when he thought it over, he realized he didn't have what it takes to compete with monsters like Ippo. When he realized that, it felt like a great relief lifted off of his shoulders. Once he didn't have to worry about his weight control anymore, he started eating more and more. Oda mentions to Mari that he knows Kojima pretty well, since they debuted around the same time and ended up sparring a lot, and he continues to explain some of Kojima's past.

Speed Zone Arc

Proud Wolf Arc

Mari and Fujii discussed Volg's IBF title match.

Go to the World Arc

Mari invited Date to Monthly Boxing Fan to hear his thoughts on Alfredo Gonzales

Seeking Heights Arc

10 Months in the Making Arc

After showing signs that Ippo might be punch drunk, Kamogawa told Ippo to rest and not training. However, Ippo wants to find a method to train with out training. Mari tells Ippo there is away for him to do it, but they need to go to a sporting good store.

Ippo takes her to Ōta Sports, and she tells Ippo about weight leg weights. She tells him it is something Sendo did prior to his match with him in order to strengthen his lower body.

Mari attends Ippo's match against Antonio Guevara with Fujii Minoru. However, Fujii runs off after noticing Sendō Takeshi, Mashiba Ryō, and Miyata Ichirō sitting together.

Part III

Second Step Arc

After Imai Kyōsuke defend his JBC Title for the 2nd time, at Monthly Boxing Fan, the reporters are talking about Imai's title defense. They think Imai will have a long reign similar to Ippo's 8 defenses. They were somewhat surprised Imai mentioned Ippo though, but they think Imai must have respected him a lot. Itagaki did too, but he chose to join the same gym instead (a different kind of respect.) One of them wanted to see Ippo up close and learn from him, and the other wanted to become someone who was strong enough to battle him.

Fujii's assistant mentions "Regardless of which approach you think is right, you can't deny that their choices made a difference in where they are now." When the crowd at the fight heard Imai wanted to fight Ippo, it became quiet. Minoru Fujii said Ippo was one of the most beloved athletes fighting out of Kourakuen Hall in recent history. The sudden loss was probably a lot for them.

The reporters start to debate on who would have won Ippo vs Imai match, but Fujii tells them to give it a rest. He notes that Imai used the past tense when he talked about wanting to fight Ippo, where he knows Ippo is gone. Fujii think they should give him his space. Leave him be and let him rest.

Mari wonders if this could really be the end for Ippo? She ponders, "Can he forget about boxing and enjoy a life without it? What if he can't? Even as we speak, could he be preparing to fight again?" While Ippo is heading home with Kumi from a date at the movies, they run into Mariwho is covering the Otowa Gym in the area. Ippo starts to talk about Imai, but Mari wants to ask Ippo somthing instead.

Before Mari asks it, Kumi steps in and ask her to refrain from talking about boxing. This is not the right time or place for that. Mari reply "I wasn't asking you." Mari wants to discuss boxing with Ippo, but Kumi doesn't want her to. Kumi believes that Ippo is doing his best to forget about boxing, and she doesn't want Mari to start trying to lure him back with that kind of talk. Mari disagrees with her, believing that even if Ippo wanted to forget it (about boxing), it's not like he ever could, and there is no reason for him to force it.

Kumi mention Mari needs to think how Ippo must feel, but Mari counters with is that what Ippo wants or what Kumi wants. Mari thinks Ippo has already considered all the issues and made up his mind about it. She is not trying to change Ippo's mind about retiring, but if he's just injured, then it is natural for Ippo to take some time off in order to heal.

Mari knows there is no reason for Ippo to forget about something he dedicated himself to for so long, and that he should be proud of it. Mari questions if Kumi just feel sorry for Ippo that he had to leave the ring because he may be punch drunk. She then asked Ippo about his current condition, and Ippo says he had headache which scares Kumi, but Ippo think it is because of a cold.

Mari then asked Kumi if she realizes what she might be getting into by being with him since she is a nurse. Kumi mentions that if anything happens, she is prepared to take care of Ippo. But she is glad that Ippo stopped before it came to that, since it would be too much for her to take of both of them (referring to Ippo and her brother).

Mari realized that Kumi was worried that she would have look after more than one badly injured person. Mari apologizes to Kumi, and says she won't mention boxing at all. Ippo then brings the subject back to boxing again, making Kumi shocked.

Mari comforts Kumi, and wonders how dense Ippo can be since Kumi was talking about looking after him long term, basically admitting that she wants to get married. She thinks Ippo really is useless outside of boxing. Kumi asks Mari what she think about Ippo, and she says she loves him, but as a Pro Boxer. Mari feels sorry for Kumi, and wouldn't want to compete against her (for now).



Mari wears a skirt to Takamura's title defence.

Mari is slim, has long, sleek black hair, and is bespectacled. She usually wears a jacket of some sort, pants (she was only seen once in a skirt), and heels. She has a pearl earring in each ear which seems to vary from hanging from her earlobe to being in her earlobe in the manga and anime.


Mari is one of the more sophisticated female characters in the series. When she is first introduced, she comes across as a polite and cheeky woman, which misleads her co-workers into thinking she was not prepared for her duties as a boxing reporter. As Mari has stated, however, she is quite an aficionado of the sport, and has rarely been impressed by Japanese boxing. She has some experience reporting on boxing in other parts of the world, such as America and Mexico, where she claims to have seen some spectacular matches (presumably those of Ricardo Martinez). In many ways she is even more of a fan of boxing than Fujii.

Like Kamogawa and Takamura Mamoru, Mari possesses a keen eye not only for boxing, but for the character of the boxers themselves, which is where her real passion lies. She is the only character to have figured out Itagaki Manabu's secret challenge to Ippo and is usually the first to question the motives of other boxers, such as Sendō Takeshi and Kojima Hisato.



  • Mari can speak English and Indonesian as well as Japanese. She can probably speak Spanish as well since she has visited Mexico. She often acts as a translator for other characters.
  • Mari is the oldest of Ippo's three love interests, being three years older than Kumi, and seven years older than Nanako.
    • She is also the only one of the three to have seen Ippo completely naked. A day before his match against Shimabukuro, she attended his weigh-in, and Ippo got carried away and ended up stripping off more than what was necessary right in front of her. Mari also got to see Ippo's not so little friend as well (though shocked at first, she was evidently pleased).
      • In ending credits of New Challengers, Kumi was shown also witnessing such a sight, however this is not canon.
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