Alexander Volg Zangief (アレクサンドル・ヴォルグ・ザンギエフ, lit. arekusandoru vuorugu zangiefu) is a recurring character in Hajime no Ippo.
He hails from an unspecified location at the edge of Russia and leaves behind a very sick mother when traveling to Japan in hopes of earning enough money to pay for her medical care. He is currently the IBF Junior Lightweight champion.
During his childhood, Volg lived in an area at the edge of Russia. There, he lived with his very sick mother whom he adored and cared for very much. Unfortunately, his mother's ill condition and Russia's cold climate kept her bedridden and extremely ill. Determined, Volg constantly found himself trekking to the nearest hospital. On one such occasion he found a wolf and lamented on his own weakness, expressing his want to become as strong as a wolf to protect his mother.
Some time later he was found by Ruslan Ramuda, who discovered the hidden boxing talent in Volg and strove to bring it out to its full potential. Eventually, grooming Volg into one of the finest and strongest fighters in boxing history, gaining many victories and no losses whatsoever, making Volg an esteemed amateur champion. Volg eventually took up professional boxing and moved to the Otowa Boxing Gym in Japan with a goal of becoming the world champion in professional boxing.
At the Otowa Boxing Gym, the idol Kumiko Morita interviewed Volg, who revealed that he moved to Japan with the dream of becoming a world champion in professional boxing, using the JBC as his first step, claiming that he will take Date Eiji's belt.
As a third ranker, Volg signed up for the Class A Tournament, which caused three out of the seven participants to drop out by making excuses. Volg's first opponent was scheduled to be against the fourth ranker, Suzuki Toshio. While walking to the ring for his match, he passed by Makunouchi Ippo, who Volg thought was the loser due to him looking so beaten up and realised that he would be his next opponent after Suzuki. When Volg's match against Suzuki began, Volg appeared to have trouble against Suzuki when he was hit by a body blow. However, Volg began trading blows with Suzuki and quickly overwhelmed him. The referee, noticing that Suzuki was no longer able to defend himself properly, attempted to stop Volg, but the latter shook him off and kept attacking. Suzuki's trainer threw the towel and begged the match to be stopped, but before they could stop Volg, he delivered a powerful combination that knocked Suzuki out, making Volg the winner and progressing him to the tournament's finals against Ippo.
At the Otowa gym, Volg and Ramuda talked about Volg's chance of winning against Ippo, with Volg unable to come up with a prediction due to Ippo's power increasing after every match. While watching Ippo's matches, Volg was impressed with Ippo's expression of happiness after every match, looking like he was having fun boxing, while Volg felt completely different. Later, Volg watched Date's title defence match. After watching the match, Volg became troubled as he could not read the Kōrakuen Station's train map to go back home. Volg then met Ippo, who offered to help. Volg then requested to have a conversation before Ippo helps him. The two engaged in conversation about why either started boxing. After exchanging confident remarks on the outcome of their upcoming battle, Ippo and Volg part ways.
Later, the finals for the Class A Tournament arrived. When round one began, Volg entered a Crouching style and charged towards Ippo, who was in his Peek-a-Boo style. In an in-fight, Volg and Ippo attacked each other with a rush of left jabs, not landing any hits for a long period of time until Volg landed an uppercut. Ippo began to block his face, however Volg landed another uppercut through his guard. Volg then landed a third uppercut, and attempted to throw another follow-up before Ippo dodged it and began to make an attempt to get away from the ropes. Volg stopped his attempt and delivered a series of blows that caused Ippo to become unconscious. Volg threw a right straight at the unconscious Ippo, however, Ippo, still unconscious, stopped the attack with a right and began throwing a combination of lefts and rights on Volg's guard. When Volg backed up to the middle of the ring, Ippo woke up, and they both go into another in-fight until the gong ending the first round sounded. In the corner, Volg believed it is possible to use out-boxing to take points, but it would be impossible to get into a rhythm as Ippo would keep advancing, realising he needs to stay in an in-fight.
Round two began, and Volg and Ippo commenced another in-fight. As Volg attacked Ippo, he wished to bring Ippo down early, as he does not want to break him. When Volg missed an attack, he was hit by a Gazelle Punch, getting knocked down. Volg's reflexes made him guard the Gazelle Punch with his left hand, weakening the blow. When Volg got up, he began dodging Ippo's attacks. Volg blocked a Gazelle Punch and began throwing a combination of punches at Ippo. Volg used the White Fang on Ippo, who blocked the first hit from below, then got struck from the second hit from above, getting knocked down. Ippo got up and the second round ended. In the corner, Ramuda told Volg that his down was due to his carelessness, with Volg replying that he was going to finish Ippo off after the White Fang, but even as Ippo fell, he threw a left at him, realising that Ippo will not stop attacking until he loses consciousness. Remembering his mother, Volg chose to defeat Ippo and destroy his consciousness and will to fight.
As round three began, Volg, knowing that Ippo has not fully recovered, advanced towards Ippo. Volg hit Ippo repeatedly with a combination of punches on the ropes until the referee got between them, giving Ippo a standing down. After the referee let the match continue, Volg quickly downed Ippo with an uppercut. Ippo stood up and the match continued. Volg became shocked as Ippo began attacking again, with both fighters trading hits multiple times until the third round ended. At the corner, Volg wondered why Ippo is still standing. He was then instructed to use body blows to stop Ippo's knees that are absorbing the damage.
Round four then began with Volg doing as instructed, hitting Ippo with body blows. After delivering a blow to the liver, Volg unleashed attacks on Ippo's guard. After breaking Ippo's guard, Volg and Ippo began exchanging punches. Volg soon felt like his body was getting heavy, missing an attack. Unable to dodge due to low stamina, Volg began to get hit multiple times. Seeing Ippo get ready to throw a Gazelle Punch, Volg threw a big punch that missed as a feint. As Volg stepped back to counter the incoming Gazelle Punch, Ippo widened his stance, and Volg was hit with a Low Gazelle Punch and then hit two times, causing him to go down. Volg got back up, remembering that he took up boxing to become strong like a wolf. Volg guarded against Ippo's attacks at the ropes until Volg clinched. When the clinch broke, the two exchanged hits until the gong sounded ending the fourth round.
When round five began, Volg and Ippo widen their stance and commenced an in-fight battle. When Volg saw a chance, he went for his White Fang, however, Ippo dodged both hits. Unable to breath anymore, Volg gasped for air, and was hit by a Gazelle Punch, causing him to go down. Volg began to get up, feeling like he had taken a liking to boxing, and took a fighting pose, but he shortly falls, leaning on the referee. With Volg unable to continue, Volg loses the Class A Tournament. Before leaving the ring, Volg told Ippo that he is strong as they both shook hands.
Volg visited Ippo at the Kawai Hospital, only to bump into the latter's mother. Apologising profusely, Volg was given encouragement and a new goal from Hiroko, who reminded him of his own mother. He then left the hospital with a new goal. Volg later watched Ippo's match against Date for the JBC featherweight title. After Ippo lost, Volg met a frustrated Sendō Takeshi. The two glared at each other before Volg walked away.
After Date defeated Ippo and relinquished the JBC featherweight belt, Volg and Sendō would be fighting for the vacant title in two months. Two months later, Volg and Sendō entered the ring and the match began. In the first round, Volg and Sendō threw punches that barely missed each other until Volg hit Sendō. Volg launched a series of attacks that hit Sendō. When Sendō was pushed to the ropes, he threw a Smash. Sendō then landed more punches along with another Smash. With Sendō surprised that Volg could still stand, Volg hit Sendō with the White Fang. With both boxers still standing after taking each other's unique techniques, the first round ended. In the corner, Volg believed Sendō's punching power may be higher than Ippo's and was worried about falling to them, but was determined to win.
When the second round began, Volg dashed towards Sendō and successfully hit Sendō multiple times, pushing him into a corner. Sendō threw body blows, however it did not stop Volg's attack. Volg continued attacking Sendō in the corner until the end of the second round. Sendō continued to get beaten by Volg and had his face swollen up to round six. During round six, Volg downed Sendō with a right. As Volg walked to a neutral corner, he dragged his left foot, not knowing that Sendō witnessed it. When Sendō got up, Volg intended to finish the fight with a White Fang, however Sendō leaned on the ropes and dodged it. The sixth round then ended. In the corner, Ramuda praised Volg's ability to stay calm while the body blows were affecting him and the crowd's cheering being against him. As Volg left the corner, Ramuda warned him that boxers that ride on the cheering can help them during a pinch situation.
As round seven began, Sendō landed body blows until Volg launched a left hook that hit Sendō's face. Volg launched a barrage of punches on Sendō's guard until Volg got closer and was hit in the body. After an in-fight, Sendō threw a Smash, which Volg blocked, however due to his hurt foot, he lost his balance. Sendō switched to the Southpaw stance and unleashed a Smash with his right hand, knocking Volg down. After realising that he may get sent back to Russia if he loses twice in a row due to being an import boxer, Volg got back up, wanting to fight Ippo again as he made him love boxing. As the match continued, Volg used a clinch to stop Sendō's incoming barrage until the seventh round ended. In rounds eight and nine the two boxers had an intense hitting match. In the final tenth round, the boxers respectfully touch gloves as the round began. With Volg in the lead in points, Volg continued having a hitting match. Volg soon lost his footing as he punched and fell with his knee on the canvas as Sendō missed his punch as well. The referee declared it as a down, with Volg and Ramuda trying to explain that Sendō's punch did not hit him as he clearly slipped. The referee did not listen however, and Volg got up to continue the match. Volg desperately attacked Sendō to get back the two points that were taken away from the false down until the tenth round ended, taking the match into a decision. The victor and the holder of the JBC featherweight belt went to Sendō, while Volg lost. Volg stopped Ramuda's attempt to challenge the referee's decision, believing Volg should have had a three point lead, disheartened with the fact that he made his boxer lose just because he is not in his home country. As Volg began to leave the ring, Sendō stopped him and claimed his rematch request would have the highest priority, as he did not feel like the winner looking at his condition. However, Volg turned around without saying anything, knowing that he would be sent back to Russia.
Soon after the match, the Otowa gym cut the contract of Volg's management, forcing Volg to move back to Russia. When Volg arrived to the Narita Terminal 1 for his flight, he was met by Ippo. Volg stated his beliefs that it is a world of results and his boxing did not work in the pro ring. Volg expressed his regrets as he brought his dreams to Japan, but could not do anything. He then thanked Ippo for teaching him the severity and fun in pro-boxing and will brag to his followers that he fought with a strong boxer named Ippo in Japan. Volg wished for Ippo to become champion, not just in Japan, but on a greater scale. Before Volg left, he gave Ippo his boxing gloves and spoke his last Japanese word to him: "Sayonara," He then returned to Russia to spend time with his mother and did not make enough money to pay for her healthcare.
Sometime later, Volg's mother finally succumbed to her illness and passed away. Volg decided to travel to America and continue his boxing career. On his way to America, he makes a brief return to Japan, where he ends up staying in Ippo's residence and working for Makunouchi Fishing Boat to pay for expenses. He is again reminded of his own late mother.
During his stay, he trains at the Kamogawa Boxing Gym to polish his long unused boxing skills. Concerned with his upcoming match against Sawamura, Ippo wishes to spar against Volg, but Volg declines, stating that he has long lost his conditioning from lack of training. Kimura, Aoki and Itagaki, realising that Volg is the only one who has the skill and courage to face Ippo in the ring, begs him to prepare Ippo by using the countermeasure developed by Itagaki. He trains for the spar as if it were a real rematch. The spar is a short and intense one. Knowing that he doesn't have the stamina, Volg and Ippo unleash their signature punches and go all-out. Volg then faces Ippo's Dempsey Roll for the first time and realises its power. However, he follows Itagaki's instructions, stepping back to expose the technique's weakness: increasing the field of vision to remove blind spots and see Ippo's hooks. He then accomplishes what Kimura and Itagaki could not: facing the attack head-on, he lands a counter-punch and instantly knocks Ippo out.
Volg immediately leaves for his flight after the spar, with Kamogawa arranging contact with his former rival, Hama Dankichi, to train Volg in America. With Ippo still recovering at the gym, Volg says goodbye to Ippo's mother and emotionally asks her wish him luck in Russian as her son, with his reply to her as his mother. Umezawa drives him to the airport, and would eventually pass on the same mother/son greeting to Ippo before his next match, thinking it was a good luck charm.
Ippo and Itagaki watches Volg defeat Eric Thompson on TV. In America, he trained under Hama and learned Hama's signature moves, the Hien and Tsubame Gaeshi. He fought the fourth ranker Eric Thompson and claimed his rank.
After that his next appearance was a sparring match against the Indonesian Champion Wally, before Wally's fight with Makunouchi Ippo. Volg dominated in the sparring match, trapping Wally in the corner, but then Wally used his reflexes and momentum on the ropes to escape from the corner and counter-punch. Volg ended the match prematurely to avoid serious injuries before a big match. He later warned Ippo of Wally's boxing talent.
Volg then rose to first seed in the WBA, WBC, and IBF Junior Lightweight divisions. He was given a chance to challenge the reigning IBF Champion, Mike Elliot, as a replacement for someone else. This turned out to be a scheme to get him off the champion's list of mandatory opponents. Volg accepted the invitation despite the fact that he didn't have proper time to build a fighting condition (only one week). One reason was because he considered this to be his only chance to ever reach the top of the world. It is later revealed, however, that Volg purposely wanted to fight under the harshest conditions so that he could "shed this human facade [and] move on pure instinct." This match marked the first time since Takamura Mamoru vs. David Eagle that any character in the Ippo canon fought for a world title. Just like that fight, it was an explosive, high-leveled confrontation. But unlike that fight, it was very difficult and emotional for Volg.
After a rough start, Volg scored his first knockdown at five rounds into the match. However, the referee purposely slowed the count to give Mike time to recover, and even helped Mike to his feet. Enraged, Volg began executing a non-stop string of White Fangs -- 7 in total. Mike, who had seen the punch before, countered each of them, but not without getting hit in the process. After the final exchange, both boxers collapsed, Volg into the ropes, Mike into the canvas. Mike's corner then surrendered the fight.
As of chapter 1007, Volg has become the reigning IBF champion following his knockout victory over Mike Elliot.
|?||WIN||?-2-0||1997-02||Mike Elliot||Las Vegas, United States||5(12), 1:33||TKO||Wins IBF World Junior Lightweight Championship|
|?||WIN||?-2-0||1995-10||Eric Thompson||Las Vegas, United States||2(10)||KO||Rose 4th IBF|
|5||LOSS||3-2-0||1993-04||Sendo Takeshi||Osaka, Japan||10(10), 3:00||Decision||Japanese Featherweight Title Match, highly controversial decision|
|4||LOSS||3-1-0||1992-11||Makunouchi Ippo||Tokyo, Japan||5(8), 1:21||KO||Class-A Tournament (Finals)|
|3||WIN||3-0-0||1992-07||Suzuki Toshio||Tokyo, Japan||1(6), 2:32||TKO||Class-A Tournament (Semi Finals)|
223-223-0-0 (223 KO)
|Preceded by||Title||Succeeded by|
|Mike Elliot||IBF Junior Lightweight World Championship|
February, 1997 - Current
|Unknown||Amateur World Championship||Unknown|
Volg is of Russian descent and possesses a relatively pale skin tone.. He grows his messy burgundy red hair to a medium length, keeping it just long enough to touch the base of his neck with one or two thick tufts resting on his forehead. He has eyebrows of moderate thickness and his pupils are blue in color. As a boxer, Volg also possesses a very muscular (but not overly large) build.
Volg is first seen in the ring and in an interview, showcasing his confidence by directly challenging Date Eiji for his Japanese belt. However, outside of the media Volg is shown to be kind and caring, genuinely worrying about his cold and sick mother back home in Russia. His knowledge of the Japanese language is weak, and Volg is often comically shown to speak expressively with his hands to convey meaning. He is also unable to read kanji.
Despite his demeanor outside of the media, it is also mentioned that Volg turns into a completely different person in the ring. He becomes brutal, possessing strength comparable to a wolf's and is shown to never relent until the referee halts him. When he does register a match's end however, Ippo makes a note that Volg shows no signs of happiness or relief, but sadness, hinting that Volg regrets hurting people in the ring, and that his wolf-like hunger is only controllable to minimal extent.
It is later revealed in a conversation between Volg and Ippo that he (Volg) hates boxing because he hates hurting people to get what he wants. However, amidst his fight against Ippo, Volg finally realizes that he does love boxing, and wonders what his mother would think of him now that he has lost to Ippo. Upon receiving encouragement from Makunouchi Hiroko, Volg leaves Ippo's hospital bed with the new goal of "trying his best, at everything from now on".
Volg is an amazing technician with great talent. He has perfected most of the basic boxing punches and his trademark finishing move is the White Fang, a lightning fast combination of a quick, hard uppercut followed by a chopping right. Volg hesitates to use this punch because it attacks the brain from both above and below, and can easily end a boxer's career. Volg is currently the 1st seed for the WBA Junior Lightweight division and, as a former amatuer world champion, Volg had an amazing record of : 223 wins, 223 KO victories and 0 losses with all his KO victories achieved before round 3.
Volg is one of the most conditioned fighters seen in the series. His boxing talent, sense, strength, speed, and reflexes are all honed to a razor sharp point. Coach Kamogawa mentioned that his coaching rival Dankichi would get his most boring project as there was little needed to teach Volg.
His skill is high in out-boxing, but not as high with in-fighting. It is mentioned by Coach Kamogawa that, had he fought in his natural out-boxing stance, Volg would've easily defeated Makunouchi Ippo, Sendō Takeshi, and even Date Eiji. In fact, Volg knocked out Ippo (who was then the Japanese champion and a world ranker) in a sparring match during his hiatus from pro boxing. Fighting as a hybrid boxer, Volg's signature move is White Fang, a quick powerful uppercut followed by an overhand that causes enough brain damage to end a boxer's career.
Because of Volg's extreme talent, he had never gone more than two rounds before his match with Ippo, and as a result he became tired much faster than Ippo. He seems to have repaired this weakness, however, since he was able to take Sendō to decision. In his fight with Mike Elliot, Ippo commented that Volg is not particularly durable, but despite that, he was able to hang on after taking many blows.
- Volg is the subject of great controversy. It is said that Volg boxed as an in-fighter in Japan to gain a following and please the crowds. But according to Kamogawa Genji, Volg would've probably won against Ippo, Sendō, and even Date Eiji had he used out-boxing, which is supposedly his natural style.
- Volg can speak Japanese, Russian, and English, making him the second-most multilingual character in the series behind Iimura Mari, who can speak Japanese, English, Spanish, and Indonesian.
- A large number of frames were devoted to highlighting Volg's turbulent past during his match with Mike Elliot, right before he executed his litany of White Fangs. This exact thing happened during Takamura's bout with Bryan Hawk before he snapped.
- Volg (Волг in Russian) sounds a lot like (Волк), which means wolf.
- When crowned champion in Round 1007, Volg is shown wearing the WBA belt, but in Round 1008 this is corrected and he's shown wearing the IBF belt. (Note - This only happened in the releases for Weekly Shōnen Magazine, it was later fixed in the volume when published.)
- Volg is based off real life boxer Yuri Arbachakov.
- Volg is one of the only characters to have win all fights by KO with Makunouchi Ippo, Takamura Mamoru, Kamogawa Genji, Jason Ozuma, Shimabukuro Iwao and Jimmy Sisphar.