After a training camp at the beach, Itagaki Manabu fights in his pro debut match against Makino Fumito, who uses fouls and Kimura Tatsuya has a comeback match against Arman Alegria. Then, in order to conquer his first out of six weight classes, Takamura Mamoru defends his rank against Morris West in order to later challenge the WBC junior middleweight champion, Bryan Hawk. Takamura struggled through weight control in order to face Hawk, however, Hawk only mocked and insulted Takamura, making him furious. Takamura then faced Hawk after Makunouchi Ippo's third JBC featherweight title defence match against Yi Yon Su.
Training Camp at the Beach
A day after defeating Yamada Naomichi, Ippo goes outside his home and witnesses Takamura taking Wanpo with him to the beach for a training camp, along with Itagaki and Kimura as the three have upcoming matches. Takamura prevents Ippo from coming as Kamogawa instructed him to take three weeks off. Aoki and Tomiko arrive, wanting to take Ippo to the beach. Ippo was reluctant until he saw Kumi with them. At the beach, Takamura, Kimura, and Itagaki runs in the sand until Takamura accidentally gets hit with a beach ball by Ippo. Since Ippo was supposed to be resting, the three chases him and runs into Aoki. After seeing Kumi and Tomiko, Takamura assumes that the two are taking a vacation with their girlfriends to rub it in their faces. Wanpo then attacks Takamura as Hachi and Nekota Ginpachi approaches the group. Takamura decides to forget that they arrived, in turn they don't get in the way of their training. Nekota wishes for Ippo and Aoki to have fun after winning their matches as he joins them. As Ippo thanked Aoki, Aoki mentions he set up two rooms to stay during the night, one for him and Tomiko, and one for Ippo and Kumi, suggesting for Ippo to "become a man".
That night at the hotel, Kumi decides to break the silence between her and Ippo by taking a walk at the beach. Near the water, when Kumi becomes afraid of a round light in the sky, Ippo uses the opportunity to tell a scary story about it to tease her. After it turns out to be fireworks, he decides to tell her he loves her after the next one goes off. Elsewhere at the beach, Takamura leads Kimura, Wanpo, and Itagaki as he watches a couple from afar. It then turns out to be Aoki groping Tomiko, which Takamura then partakes in. When the next fireworks go off, Takamura gets caught in the act by Aoki, Tomiko, Ippo, Kumi, Kimura, and Itagaki. After running away, Takamura unknowingly gets caught up into the water. He then gets frightened as he believes he is being grabbed and pulled into the water by a demon. Remembering that a world title match is right in front of him, he is able to come back to the surface and attempts to frantically hit the demon. Wanpo alerts Kimura and Itagaki, who then finds Nekota and Hachi laying on the ground beaten after being hit by Takamura as Nekota was "the demon". Back at Ippo and Kumi's hotel room, Tomiko and a drunk Aoki go back to their room, leaving Ippo and Kumi by their selves again. Kumi recalls meeting Ippo at the bakery and then was happy about coincidentally meeting him again at her hospital. Ippo then attempts to confess his love to her. However, Kumi falls asleep after Ippo's lengthy build up to it. Ippo, however, was satisfied that he said it at all.
The next day, with Aoki misunderstanding the reason of Ippo's satisfaction, Aoki wants Ippo to return the favour, by helping him take revenge on Takamura for the act he did on Tomiko the previous night. Aoki has Ippo catch a sea slater to put in a okonomiyaki. Ippo and Aoki goes to the Jōnan University Training Camp, where they see Kimura and Itagaki sparring, which Aoki notes of Itagaki being faster than Kimura. As Kamogawa and Yagi leave and Ippo and Aoki gets spotted after Wanpo noticed them, Takamura attempts to apologise or praise him to make up with him. However, Takamura's praise of Tomiko's breasts only made the situation worse between the two. Aoki proceeds with his revenge plan by making Takamura eat the okonomiyaki. Takamura suspects Aoki's "thoughtful" gift, and ends up splitting it in half and forcing Aoki to eat one half while Takamura eats the other half. Neither could tell who ate the half with the sea slater in it.
Then, Ippo begins sparring with Itagaki, who requested it. Itagaki displays a quick out-boxer style that reminds Ippo of Miyata. The spar then ended in the third round after Itagaki's fourth down. Itagaki explains to Kimura that his motivation in sparring Ippo is to learn how to counter his fighter type style in order to win against the first place boxer in the amateur rankings once he becomes pro, as Itagaki placed second. Nekota then appeared with fireworks, planning to release them at night. This causes Takamura to remember what happened to him last night at the beach, frighteningly warning the others about the "ghosts". That night, while defecating, Takamura noticed a sea slater in his faeces, causing him to believe that it is part of the curse.
With everyone partying outside without Takamura, and Aoki and Kimura enjoying that Takamura is not with them, Takamura begins prepping fireworks pointing at the group. When a firework bloomed in the sky, the group noticed Takamura. Takamura expressed that he would just cause something bad to happen and will leave as they were enjoying themselves without him. After the group moved him with words and cheers, Takamura decides to stay. They then light up their fireworks and Nekota compares the boxers to them. Takamura tells him that they are the stars above, shining forever. Takamura compares himself to a big star, shining all over after becoming the world champion. Aoki and Kimura wishes to be Japanese champions, Itagaki wishes to trace the path Ippo took, Ippo wishes to have a firm grip on Date's baton. Everyone then runs away as they get attacked by fireworks Takamura lit up earlier.
Five days later at the Kamogawa gym, Kamogawa informs Ippo about a sparring partner arriving soon. Imai Kyōsuke and his coach then arrives to have a sparring match with Ippo. After introducing himself and telling Ippo how much he looked up to him, they get in the ring to spar. The spar lasts three rounds with Imai having no downs and was giving Ippo a hard time. As a result of the spar, Imai believes Ippo to be strong and a good goal. When Itagaki arrives and learned how Ippo was pushed in a spar by Imai, he becomes hostile toward Imai. Imai reveals that he will aim at becoming pro and will take the shortest path to Ippo's title. Imai then leaves the gym without a word after Itagaki told him that he will stop him from doing so.
Itagaki then tells his gym members of his past on how he started boxing and his three encounters with Imai at the national tournaments during high school that ended in losses, wishing for a better outcome in his next encounter. Takamura asks Ippo who would win between Itagaki and Imai, but he could not give a straight answer. Kimura mentions that if Ippo could become champion, Itagaki has a chance against Imai, who he will see at the East Japan Rookie King Tournament. Later, after recalling his memories of his Rookie King Tournament, Ippo gets a phone call at home from Aoki that Takamura's world title match has bee decided. When Ippo arrives to the meeting spot at the Chūka Soba to discuss the announcement, Aoki, Kimura, and Takamura are not as thrilled as Ippo thought they would be. Aoki and Kimura explains that the WBC junior middleweight champion's manager offered a challenge for the title for December, knowing that Takamura's upcoming junior middleweight match is in October. planning to leave Takamura in a weakened shape when the time came for the title match. The decision leaves Takamura angry towards the champion, Bryan Hawk.
APOCALYPSE NOW - Makino Fumito VS. Itagaki Manabu/Kimura Tatsuya VS. Arman Alegria
At the Kamogawa gym, Kamogawa announces to the gym members that in October, Itagaki will have his debut match, Kimura will have his comeback match, and Takamura's match will decide if he gets to fight a world title match. Yagi then reveals that Takamura decided to pick the Ryōgoku Kokugikan as the location for his title match in December to provide motivation after Date's loss, with Ippo also having his third JBC featherweight title defence match as the semifinals. However, Aoki becomes disappointed when he hears that he does not have a match. After Takamura gets out of the bathroom having checked his faeces for "demon bugs" as he still believes to be cursed, Fujii reveals details about Hawk. He explains how Hawk is hard to work with, as he is unable to be contacted until the week before a match, leaving his manager in desperate situations. He further explains how Hawk rarely trains, winning with only natural talent, taking the WBC title after training for only nine days. When Takamura expresses how Hawk must be training because of him, Fujii reveals that when Hawk heard the opponent he is fighting was a Japanese, he hung up without even a name. Hearing that, Takamura becomes enraged. Takamura, Kimura, and Itagaki then trains until their matches arrive.
When they arrive to the Kōrakuen Hall for their matches, Itagaki is the first to fight out of the Kamogawa gym. Itagaki's opponent is Makino Fumito, who is desperate to win due to his coach threatening to drop him if he loses a third time in a row. Itagaki is able to easily dodge Makino's big swings and hit him, along with countering. Wanting to win no matter what it takes, Makino headbutts Itagaki after missing a punch. In shock of Makino's illegal move, Itagaki gets hit and goes down. Despite Itagaki's calls to the referee about the headbutting, the referee continues counting, resulting Itagaki frustratingly getting back up. Itagaki was then knocked down a second time after Makino illegally uses his elbow to hit Itagaki. The second down results in Itagaki's debut loss. As Kimura's comeback match against Arman Alegria begins, Ippo talks to Itagaki in the changing room. With Itagaki angry about Makino's fouls, Ippo mentions how Makino looked desperate and could not afford to lose. Ippo then explains how they were not fouls as the referee never stopped the match, and that it was Itagaki's fault for taking his eyes off the match. In disbelief of his senpai's words, Itagaki storms out of the Kōrakuen Hall.
Ippo returns to Aoki at the audience seats as the final tenth round is about to begin after the previous rounds consisted of Kimura throwing large swings. When the tenth round begins, Kimura attempts to hit Arman constantly, even throwing out a Dragonfish Blow. Arman dodges, landing hits in the process. The round then ends and the match goes into a decision. Despite Aoki's count being that Kimura lost the round after being even when it began, the referee decides that Kimura is the winner.
APOCALYPSE NOW - Main Event - Morris West VS. Takamura Mamoru
The main event consisting of Takamura and Morris West then arrives. While West is in top condition, Takamura enters the ring, looking frail due to failing his weight management. When the match begins, Takamura's speed shocks West as he blocks Takamura's punches. Takamura then land a right, however, due to the failed weight management, it had no effect. After Takamura's continues throwing punches that leaves no change on West's face, Takamura steps back and gives a hand signal for West to come after him for a counter chance. West realises Takamura's strategy and stays where he is, prompting Takamura to go and attack West instead. West dodges the attacks and refuses to attack Takamura to avoid getting countered until the first round ends.
Takamura continues chasing West, who lands pulled back punches to prevent Takamura from countering from the second round to the sixth, where Takamura begins to show exhaustion as he slows down. Confident that Takamura has no power anymore, West begins to throw full powered punches. Getting brought and beaten to the ropes,Takamura sees a chance to counter, causing an exchange, however, Takamura comes out more damaged. Takamura then clinches for the first time in his career, which he then notices Hawk at the audience seats watching with a woman on each arm. After the referee breaks the clinch, Takamura continues to stare at Hawk while West charges towards him. As West attacks Takamura, Takamura becomes enraged due to Hawk and West's smiling, and begins to have an exchange match. When the exchanges push West to the ropes, Takamura delivers a punch on West that sends him outside the ring and in front of Hawk, resulting in Takamura's win.
After Hawk applauds his victory, Takamura declines an interview, mentioning that he has nothing to say towards Hawk since he lacks his belt, only wanting to talk to him once he gets it. Takamura then goes to his changing room where he talks with reporters. Hawk then enters Takamura's changing room and talks to a translator, wanting to shake hands with him and that he bets Takamura will be in a better condition for his title match, wishing for a wonderful match. Everyone recognises Hawk as a nicer guy than they thought until Hawk reveals his reason for coming to Japan was not to watch Takamura's match, but to "enjoy delicacies", mentioning Asian women. While everyone is disgusted, Hawk holds out his hand for a handshake, however, Takamura decides to throw a punch instead. Ippo, Aoki, and Kimura attempts to hold Takamura down, but Takamura overpowers them and his barehanded punch was caught by Hawk's opened hand. With Hawk holding Takamura's hand tight, Ippo pleads to let Takamura go. Hawk lets go, claiming it was just a handshake and leaves. Thinking of his fist as a mere handshake, Takamura becomes further infuriated.
Where Takamura Belongs
While Ippo, Aoki, and Kimura are excited about Takamura's upcoming world title match, Fujii enters the gym and shows them tapes of Hawk's matches consisting of two ring outs and one that was almost a ring out until his opponent was saved by a referee. Fujii mentions that while Takamura surpasses Japan, Hawk may surpass the world. After hearing details of Hawk's boxing, Kimura realises that Hawk is like Takamura. Walking away from the gym, Aoki and Kimura get into an argument as to who would win between Takamura and Hawk until they are stopped by Ippo, who tells them to believe in Takamura and reminds them that meeting Takamura was like meeting boxing itself. The three then decide to meet Takamura to ask him why he began boxing. When they arrive at his home, they instead meet Takamura's sister, Kyōka and little brother, Wataru.
The Takamura siblings explain to Ippo, Aoki, and Kimura that they came to wish Takamura luck on his match. Wataru then asks if any one of them were "Aoki" due to Takamura warning Wataru from being near him. Aoki takes on Ippo's name while Ippo takes on Itagaki's name. Kyōka and Wataru explains how Takamura separated himself from the Takamura family as it was not where he thought he belonged and that Takamura was abandoned by his family after he injured 20 people in the audience of his older brother, Suguru's rugby game after they insulted his brother's team, which resulted in a year suspension. Wataru is then glad to hear that the boxers agree on Takamura's action, while believing he went overboard. When Ippo slips up and calls Aoki by his name, it results in a fight between the three boxers. Watching them argue, Kyōka believes that Takamura has found where he belongs and with wonderful friends.
Elsewhere, Takamura talks to his older brother, Suguru, who claims that Takamura has done nothing but cause trouble for his family and his existence breeds trouble, however, he could come back to his family after winning the world title belt. Takamura threatens Suguru to watch what he is saying, however, it supports Suguru's argument that Takamura's violent nature is what muddies the water of the Takamura family, wanting Takamura to be thankful to their father for covering for him. Takamura expresses he has not asked for help, as he has lived on his own after being thrown out of middle school. Suguru then leaves, suggesting for Takamura to come home after winning his prize and quit his "punching games", so that he can acknowledge Takamura's existence to others. Takamura, however, believes that that is not where he belongs, he belongs in the ring, and that he fights to protect where he lives, boxing.
The next day, the poster for Takamura's world title match gets plastered on the Kamogawa gym's exterior, showing that Ippo's third JBC featherweight title defence opponent is a South Korean named Yi Yon Su. When Takamura enters the gym and expresses that he is confident that he can beat Hawk after seeing his match tapes, he reveals a plan to help his weight management go smoother: shave his body hair. When the gym members disagree, Takamura hits Aoki in the face with a razor, slicing part of one of his eyebrow. Takamura then notices how Aoki's eyebrows have a close resemblance to Hawk's, wanting to even his eyebrows to make it look like Hawk in order to help him. Takamura ends up shaving all of Aoki's eyebrows, making Kamogawa have to use a marker to draw eyebrows on his forehead so he can do roadwork with his gym mates. As Ippo, Takamura, Aoki, and Kimura do roadwork, Ippo reveals the reason for coming to Takamura's home last night was to ask why he started boxing. Takamura simply answers that it was in order to prove he is the best. He then has Ippo, Aoki, and Kimura wipe off their sweat, wanting to show the ones who sweat with him a good dream as he takes their sweat with him to the top of the world. Itagaki then reveals himself to the group, wanting to follow Takaura as well. The group then laughs as Aoki's face looks like a clown's due to the marker's smearing, with Takamura reconfirming that this is where he belongs.
Harsh Weight Management
Later, while Ippo is in top shape in spars against Itagaki and Aoki, Takamura begins to feel the effects of his weight management. His sister, Kyōka helps him by giving him soup and fruit, along with dried shittake. She also mentions that Wataru and Suguru wishes to watch and cheer for Takamura, with the latter planning on getting tickets for them. As Kamogawa trains Takamura, he is impressed on how Takamura has not complained about the harsh weight management. Takamura then expresses to Kamogawa how he will defeat anyone his own way and loves just standing in the ring where he feels most alive, and that boxing is the only thing he never lies about. Kamogawa recalls that he believed Takamura could challenge the world the moment he saw him, and when he saw his debut match, his view changed that Takamura could take his gym places Kamogawa never dreamed of, deeming Takamura his treasure. Kamogawa apologises to Takamura, wishing he could have taken him to a world title match sooner and fight in his best weight class. Takamura stops him, planning on going from junior middleweight to heavyweight in a quest to conquer six weight classes, and giving Kamogawa his first world belt as a Christmas present. Kamogawa then gives Takamura dried shittake as an early Christmas gift. Later at the gym, his gym mates also gives him bags of dried shittake as well.
Down to five kilos, Takamura's skin on his face begins to be visibly dry with cracks as the only liquid left to sweat is being used by his vital systems. Takamura goes through intense roadwork to bring the weight down and went through his public spar in poor shape, while Hawk pulled his punches until his women arrived. Takamura then barely passes the weight check at full limit when the day of the weigh-in arrives. While at the weigh-in, Hawk mocks Takamura's body, deeming it mummy-like, making Takamura angry, but is able to hold himself back. Then, at the press conference, Takamura answers a reporter about a prediction, claiming it to end in a knockout and the belt changing places. Fujii asks Hawk if his antagonising nature towards Takamura is because he is afraid. His manager, Miguel Zale answers instead, viewing Hawk's provocation as part of his personality and that he is not feeling at unease about the match. While Mari suggests otherwise to Hawk, Hawk simply mentions his room number at his hotel to her. Then, Takamura and Hawk are asked to enter a fighting pose for a promotional picture. When both boxers have their fists under each others jaws, Hawk hits Takamura in the jaw. This provocation causes Ippo, Kimura, Aoki, and Itagaki to hold a furious Takamura back, however, Kamogawa is the one to act as he grabs Hawk by his collar in anger. Hawk then smacks Kamogawa in the face, causing Takamura to freeze in anger. Hawk further taunts Takamura and the Japanese by looking down on Takamura and calling him a coward while wanting the Japanese to bring their women to him so Hawk can spread his genes. As Hawk leaves the press conference, Takamura swears to finish it in the ring.
BATTLE OF HAWK - JBC Featherweight Title Match - Makunouchi Ippo VS. Yi Yon Su
When the match arrives the next day at the Ryōgoku Kokugikan, Umezawa is picked as a salesperson to sell Takamura-themed merchandise along with Yagi. While Ippo is getting warmed up in the dressing room, Takamura mentions to Ippo how he came to a realisation that Hawk is strong after settling down and watching tapes of his matches. Seeing Takamura looking down, Ippo makes a deal that if he wins by a one round knockout against Yi Yon Su, Takamura has to win and become the world champion. When Ippo's match against Yi begins, Ippo immediately starts his Dempsey Roll motion. After Yi's jaw was grazed with a left hook, Yi attempts to counter the Dempsey Roll's next attack with a right, however the hit to the jaw affected his legs, making him miss. Yi is then battered with hooks from the Dempsey Roll until he goes down, with the referee immediately ending the match. With Ippo's third title defence win, Kamogawa still scolds Ippo for using the risky strategy.
Keeping his promise to Takamura, Ippo decides to visit Takamura, who he finds surrounded by multiple Japanese champions, along with Date, Sendō, Miyata, and Yajima Yoshiaki. Nekota and Hachi also arrives, expressing how impressed he is when Kamogawa grabbed Hawk like he did. Date asks Takamura why he picked the Kokugikan, which he answers to right the wrongs for the next generation since Date's last fight was a loss in the building. Date then greets Ippo, revealing to be a coach at his gym and to thank Takamura for him since he picked the place to help Date to stop regretting what happened in the same building. Then, Date pleads to Takamura on behalf of all Japanese boxers, to defeat Hawk as he is the only one who can do it, mentioning how Japanese boxers feel as if they have been made into a laughing stock by Hawk. When it is time for everyone to leave to let Takamura concentrate, Takamura receives encouragement from his gym mates and Nekota, while Kamogawa tells Takamura that while not everyone who works hard is rewarded, everyone who has succeeded have worked hard. When everyone leaves, Takamura recalls memories of everyone at and related to the gym, thankful to everyone and thankful he started boxing.
BATTLE OF HAWK - WBC Junior Middleweight Title Match - BRYAN HAWK VS. Takamura Mamoru
When it is time for Takamura and Hawk to enter the ring, Takamura enters the ring in a hawk-themed costume as a reference to the "Taka" in his surname. Hawk then enters the ring with a Takamura shirt under his costume, which he uses as a provocation by ripping it off. After another provocation at the centre of the ring by Hawk sticking his tongue out at Takamura, the match begins. Despite everyone's predictions, the match begins with both boxers not attacking at the start. Hawk lowers his guard while Takamura tightens his guard in an orthodox stance. Takamura attacks Hawk, eventually getting him to the ropes where Hawk displays his ability to punch from almost any angle, hitting Takamura. To Takamura's surprise, he gets hit once more while Hawk is swaying.
Takamura attempts to teach him a lesson of the basics of boxing by throwing a one-two, however, he still gets hit by Hawk's unorthodox punches. Hawk's power makes Takamura lose consciousness at the corner, but wakes back up in time to avoid a strong attack. Deeming the corner dangerous, Takamura plans to escape until the audience tells him to run away from the corner, stubbornly deciding to stay in the corner and fight. Takamura then begins to aim for Hawk's body in an attempt to eliminate Hawk's awkward movements, however, it proves to be ineffective as Hawk is able to land punches while leaning backwards. When Takamura loses consciousness again, the gong rings and Hawk appears to be attacking, only to grab the ropes to taunt Takamura by sticking his tongue out when he comes back to consciousness. At the corner, Takamura plans to do the same tactic next round, and receives a spirit boosting slap on the back from Kamogawa.
In the second round, Takamura goes back to the basics of boxing by using what he was taught when he first got trained by Kamogawa, fast footwork and lefts, hitting Hawk multiple times, finishing a barrage with a right. However, Hawk then becomes faster than Takamura and knocks him down with a right. Takamura quickly gets back up, only to fall once again after losing consciousness from Hawk's combinations. Takamura gets up while still unconscious, only getting up to answer the audience's cheers. He dodges an attack and walks away to lean on the ropes until he goes back to consciousness after the audience warns about Hawk behind him. Takamura gets away, however, Hawk is able to land attacks soon after. Takamura then begins landing left jabs by stepping in as Hawk sways back. As Hawk sways back once more, Takamura lands a left jab that knocks him off balance, causing a down. Hawk easily gets back up and the second round ends after. At the corner, Takamura mentions to Kamogawa that his boxing works against the world's best and that he spotted a weak point of Hawk's, while Miguel warns Hawk that it was not a lucky punch that caused him to go down.
In the third round, Takamura exploits Hawk's weakness he discovered by knocking him down early by hitting Hawk as a leaned back to sway. Hawk quickly gets up, angered of Takamura's new tactic of downing him. With Takamura done confirming that Kamogawa's boxing works on the world stage, he decides to give Hawk payback by using his own style. At the start of their brawl, their fists collide. Yagi argues that Takamura should keep using his lefts for points, while Kamogawa agrees with Takamura's decision despite the dangers, as there is something he wants his eyes to remember forever. Takamura and Hawk are unable to land clean hits for some time until they hit each other on the head in an exchange. Hawk stumbles and Takamura throws a followup punch that misses, but hits the ring's canvas, shaking the entire ring. They chase each other around the ring while each lands hits until the third round ends. In the corner, Miguel mentions of Takamura's plan of street brawling against Hawk, wanting him to remember his hometown of New York, where he was raised fighting in life-or-death situations.
In round four, Takamura begins being able to dodge Hawk's unorthodox punches after learning them throughout the match and as they are his rhythm due to previous street fights before being a boxer. As Takamura has the advantage in the offence, Takamura notices Hawk's eyes being confident since he never lost a fight before, however, Takamura believes that it is because he has never been to America. They then exchange punches with each other until the fourth round ends. Just as the fifth round begins, Takamura makes a knockout prediction by throwing his arms in the air. Takamura launches attacks, while he is able to hit Hawk, Hawk manages to land a body blow on Takamura. Hawk then enters an all-defence block, blocking some of Takamura's punches, however, Takamura is able to punch through some of the openings of the block until the fifth round ends. Both corners then notice that Takamura has run out of sweat and energy, turning the match into Hawk's favour.
The sixth round then begins, Takamura begins to lose his pace as he gets hit and is unable to hit Hawk with any power behind his punches due to being out of energy. Kamogawa criticises himself for being caught up in the fight to notice his own boxer's condition, regretting not giving him different instructions to prevent Takamura's burnout. After many strong combinations from Hawk, Takamura goes down. In the audience, when Aoki and Kimura mentions the weight management being the reason that Takamura is having trouble, Nekota reminds them that Takamura never complained during it and the hardship he went through, bringing tears out of his gym mates. When Takamura gets up, Takamura immediately has trouble as Hawk is able to land lefts easily due to Takamura's right eye being swollen shut. As Takamura tries to fight back, Miguel believes Hawk will fall into ecstasy, remembering his first meeting with Hawk in New York almost killing someone to calm his ecstasy state, eventually talking him into boxing where he is able to be rewarded for his violence and a license to kill. Hawk lands a powerful right that sends Takamura falling, however, the spirit of Kamogawa holds his back and prevents him from falling, leading Takamura to catch his fall by catching the ropes. In the audience, Miyata encourages Takamura's gym mates to start cheering for him. As they cheer, Takamura gets hit again, almost causing him to fall until he is lifted by the spirits of Ippo, Aoki, Kimura, and Itagaki who supports him, preventing his fall. Takamura retaliates with a one-two that causes Hawk to stumble, and the sixth round ends soon after.
At the corner, angry that Takamura survived many of his punches, Hawk expresses his intention of using his license to kill. As the seventh round is about to begin, Takamura leaves the corner after deeming Kamogawa the world's greatest second. As the seventh round begins, Hawk immediately has the advantage as he attacks Takamura. After getting hit and losing consciousness, Takamura recalls memories of what happened before the match, snapping in a fit of rage, gaining a sudden upper hand in the fight, battering Hawk with combinations using his natural instincts to also dodge Hawk's attacks. The pinpoint attacks makes Hawk feel as if Takamura is trying to kill him. Hawk then goes down after an uppercut. Hawk gets back up, fearing Takamura and would rather die than to lose. Takamura, now conscious, is thankful that he got up as he wants to win the championship conscious so he knows what his finishing blow is. Takamura then rushes towards Hawk, however, the referee stops him as the seventh round is over. At the corner, Miguel is shocked to see Hawk cowering, having no backbone of a boxer unlike Takamura. Seeing Hawk not wanting to lose and willing to bet on his pride, Miguel informs him that all or nothing is the law of the ring. At Takamura's corner, Kamogawa fixes Takamura's hair to make it his trademark hairstyle after it went away from all the sweat and movements.
At the eighth round, Hawk attempts to attack, however, Takamura counters. Takamura then begins to have the advantage after hitting Hawk multiple times. Hawk's instincts kicks in as he dodges an attack by swaying back, then launches an attack on Takamura's face. However, the punch slides across Takamura's face as Takamura lands a powerful blow on Hawk's face, causing him to go down. At the count of six, Hawk groggily gets up, and Takamura proceeds to hit him until the referee stops him in order to perform a standing count. As the referee and the audience counts to ten, Hawk throws up blood and leans on the referee as the count reaches to ten, ending the match, resulting in Takamura becoming the new WBC junior middleweight champion. Ippo, Aoki, Kimura, and Itagaki tackles Takamura in the ring in joy as Kamogawa praises him. After Kamogawa puts the new world belt on Takamura, Aoki carries Takamura on his shoulders in victory. In the audience, Suguru is disappointed about the position he had for Takamura has gone to waste, but he realises that he already knew where Takamura belongs. During the victory interview, Takamura begins with being at a lost for words over his victory, however, when the audience express how they look up to him as a hero, Takamura arrogantly offers to give the women his seed so that Japan can be crawling with him, resulting in the audience getting angry and comparing him to Hawk.
In the changing room, Kamogawa gives Takamura a scolding about the interview until Takamura asks for a break so he can go home and rest. Ippo and Aoki then finds out that Takamura went to a TV interview instead, while Aoki is irritated about his action, Ippo is impressed that he can do that after such a hard match.
The New King
One week later, a large package arrives at the Kamogawa gym containing a bronze bust statue of Takamura, which Takamura order before the world title match started. Aoki tries to move it, however, the statue's arm that Aoki was grabbing it from, broke off, causing Aoki to panic. Takamura then arrives in a suit and glasses which he claims is a disguise despite him still wearing his WBC belt. As Aoki holds the broken arm in place, Takamura expresses his glee for the statue's arrival and shows everyone 300 mini bronze statues of himself that he plans to sell at high price, and even his gym mates can not have for free. As Aoki tries to talk Takmura into lowering the price, Takamura notices that Aoki is holding the statue's arm that broke off. Aoki panics, however, Takamura feels no need to get angry, instead as a price, he has Aoki go around Japan to sell the mini bronze statues for a higher price than it originally was. The large bronze statue gets placed on the Kamogawa gym's roof with the arm attached the next day.
During one of Takamura's daily interviews, one of the reporters reveal to him that Hawk is retiring as a complete recovery is impossible for him. As his gym mates think he is down about the news, Takamura tells them that he isn't sympathising with him as his eye still hurts and if it went the other way, he would not be able to enter the ring. He then explains to his gym mates how the world championship is delicious. Curious as too how many mini bronze statues Aoki sold, Ippo, Kimura, and Itagaki goes to Aoki's home where they meet Tomiko who informs them that he went to Shinjuku. Ippo is then tasked to look for Aoki in Shinjuku the next day. When Ippo finds Aoki at Shinjuku selling the statues, Aoki, mentally unstable about the situation becomes overjoyed at the sight of him. Ippo then mentions to Aoki that the reason Takamra is acting out is because Kamogawa is not at the gym, suggesting to go to Kamogawa at Nekota's place. Ippo and Aoki goes through a snow storm to get to the Pension Yoshio to tell Kamogawa to come back to the gym.
|Battle of Hawk Arc|
|Anime Rounds (New Challenger)|