Eiji Date (伊達 英二, Date Eiji) is a semi-recurring character in Hajime no Ippo.
He played the initial small time antagonist during the events of Ippo's first national championship road.
He was a featherweight professional boxer before retiring and becoming a trainer affiliated with the Nakadai Boxing Gym. He was frequently referred to as the second best featherweight boxer in the world by "Super Champion", Ricardo Martinez, before his second loss against the latter, ending his career.
His surname is Date. In Japan, surnames are listed before given names.
Early Career and First World Title Match
Date married Date Aiko, a daughter of a wealthy family. They met after Date's first JBC champion title match, noticing that Aiko had only been dragged along and was not initially interested in watching Date. Date was excited to impress Aiko, and sought the world championship to prove his strength to her.
He travelled to Mexico for his title match against Ricardo Martinez. He was, however, severely outclassed and was knocked out in the second round. It was during this fight that Date gained the scar across his nose. Upon arriving back to Japan, he discovered that Aiko, who had hidden news of her pregnancy, had suffered a miscarriage. With his boxing dreams shattered and guilty over not being there for his family, he retired from boxing. They would later have a son, Date Yūji.
After his retirement, his brother found a job for him at his business company. It was made known that Date succeeded at his business career and was offered a promotion. However, he was plagued by his natural hunger for boxing. At one point, he had a dream where he won the champion title and was proudly holding his son that was never born in the air. Initially, he rejected these temptations and, in a rage, swept away his boxing trophies. Aiko was greatly upset by this gesture. She revealed that she had missed the man that Date was before leaving Mexico, and that she wanted their son to have a figure he could look up to. Chastised by this, Date gave up his business career and returned to the Nakadai gym.
Date swiftly re-established himself in boxing, gaining the JBC featherweight title for the second time. During this time, he defended his title multiple times and was linked to a return to the world stage. At some point, he met Takamura Mamoru at a commissioner inauguration party.
Arriving at the Kōrakuen Hall to be a TV commentator for the matches scheduled, Date went with Fujii Minoru to meet the tenth ranker in the JBC, Ippo. After commenting on how Ippo looked "cute", Takamura Mamoru informed him that Ippo's punches aren't so "cute", causing Date to request for Ippo to come to his gym to "play" after his right fist heals.
Later, Date sent a request to spar with Ippo to the Kamogawa Boxing Gym. Three days later, when Date came back to the Nakadai Boxing Gym from roadwork, he noticed Ippo waiting for him for the spar. The scheduled three round spar shortly began. After Date hit the overwhelmed Ippo in the face, Date began attacking Ippo's guard aggressively while also guarding Ippo's punches. Date was eventually hit in the face cleanly, and when Ippo was about to do a followup punch, the gong rang, ending the round. Before walking back to his corner, Date claimed that he may have to use his "Magic Punch". He and his trainer, Nakadai believed it to be time to test the "Magic Punch", as Ippo's fighting style was similar to Date's next opponent. When the second round began, Date was unable to use his planned Corkscrew Blow due to Ippo's weaving. Ippo's movements to prevent Date from using the Corkscrew Blow costed him to go into the corner unknowingly. With Ippo trapped at the corner, Date used the Corkscrew Blow on Ippo's heart. With his opponent immobilised, Date hit Ippo with a followup punch, knocking him down. As Date claimed the test was a success, Ippo got back up, wanting to continue. The spar then continued, ending to the third round's gong. With the spar finished, Date went to take a shower, unable to lift his hands due to the injuries from Ippo.
After learning that his gym mate, Okita Keigo requested to challenge Ippo, Date asked Okita why he chose him, despite knowing how strong he is. Date was then surprised when Okita used a Corkscrew Blow on a sandbag. When the match between Ippo and Okita began, Date watched from afar while he waited for his own match. After Okita's loss, Date was told by him that he would start over, as he has a long way to go to reach Date. Date then thought how the match was between two different goals: those who try to reach him, and those who try to surpass him. Date's match against second ranker, Suzuki Toshio then began. After knocking Suzuki down twice in the first round, Date hit Suzuki with the Heart Break Shot. Date then hits Suzuki with a followup punch two times, causing a third down and ending the match. Upon winning the match, Date was asked in the victory interview whether or not he would relinquish the belt and go for the world. Date answered that he would not be relinquishing the belt, as he has things to take care of in Japan, glaring at Ippo, who then glared back.
Date had a sparring session against Saeki Takuma, who was going to be Ippo's opponent in the Class A Tournament. During the spar, Date could not land a single hit against Saeki. After the spar, Date claimed that he hates the "speedy types", which Saeki took as a compliment. Date figured that Saeki didn't give it his all, realising that Saeki was not an opponent Ippo could defeat with only a couple plans. He later watched the Class A Tournament matches where Ippo and Alexander Volg Zangief won their matches, commenting how having those two coming after his neck gave him chills.
Date won his title defence match against Satō Takashi on the seventh round. In his waiting room, he was visited by Ippo who came to congratulate him. Date and Ippo then struck a pose for the reporters and Date told him that his other challenger candidate, Volg, was watching his match and warned Ippo that while he does not know who will advance, he would not pull any punches for whomever he faces.
Later, the finals for the Class A Tournament began. With Date and Takamra as guests for commentary, Date bet on Volg while Takamura bet on Ippo. After seeing Ippo win against Volg, he quietly left the commentary desk and walked out of the Kōrakuen Hall. As he walked, Date believed Ippo to be the ultimate challenger, and planned to not give up his belt to him.
Date came back to the gym after roadwork and began sparring with a lightweight and a junior welterweight boxer. Later In the Nakadai gym, Nakadai remarked on how cold Japan was at the moment, causing Date to remember how they left Japan in the winter to go to Mexico where it was like summer. Due to the cold, the scar on Date's nose throbbed, forcing him to remember a memory of the day he lost everything due to losing to the WBA featherweight champion Ricardo Martinez. In his house, Date mentioned to his wife, Date Aiko how Nakadai told him to think about the training camp for his match against Ippo. He was initially going to reject the idea until Aiko reminded him how their son, Date Yūji was growing up fine and that she was well. Date then decided to go to the Ōarai Golf Course, the same training camp he used to go against Ricardo. While Takamura was going to the ring to fight in the Champion Carnival, Date, who came to see Takamura off, met Ippo at the hall. Date, who came to see Takamura off. Date comments how the match will be difficult even for Takamura, however when Ippo informed Date how Takamura told him that champions have a special power, Date determined that Takamura would win then. Date believed Takamura's punches would be heavy for the fight. He then claimed that it will carry over their match as well, telling Ippo that his punches will be light.
Later, Date went to his doctor for a check-up, which, due to Date's results being like he was before his world title match, the doctor pitied Date's opponent. Date however, did not pity Ippo, as he still had youth, but Date planned to give him the fight of his life. In the waiting room on the day of the match, Date had retirement on his mind if he losst to Ippo as he would not have a future beyond Japan if could not defeat everyone there.
When the match began in the first round, Date noticed how Ippo was guarding his left side to eliminate his Corkscrew Blow. Date began to test Ippo by throwing jabs and saw that Ippo had grown from their spar. Date and Ippo threw punches at each other with no punches landing cleanly until Date left his left side open after missing an uppercut. Seeing no way to block it in time, Date decided to take the hit and was hit by a liver blow. Date was waiting for the moment for him to attack to leave himself open and hit Ippo with a left straight. Ippo rushed towards Date, who backed up to the ropes. Date hit Ippo under the ear with a right hook under the ear. Date continued to show the difference in experience and threw a Corkscrew Blow after landing a counter, however Ippo blocked it and pushed Date to the ropes. Date noticed that Ippo was planning to hit him from a clinch distance, but deduced that Ippo could not land a good hit from that distance. He was then surprised when Ippo landed a liver blow, making Date's body buckle over. Ippo continued pushing Date back with a barrage to his guard. The round then ended when Ippo pushed Date to the ropes again, ending the round with a draw in points. In the corner, Date claimed that he knew that Ippo would improve, but not that much and titled Ippo as his greatest challenger.
When the second round began, Date attempted to beat Ippo at his best range in an in-fight, which caused Date trouble as he got hit and barely able to keep his guard up. Date noticed Ippo was about to use the liver blow and blockws his right side, however it turned out to be a feint. Ippo then landed a barrage of punches to Date's face, as his neck swings from every blow until the second round ended. Okita suggested to Date to keep his distance and recover as staying in Ippo's best range is suicide, however Date told Okita that that is also his boxing.
The third round began and Date rushed towards Ippo looking for another in-fight. Date was only able to land some light punches as Ippo attacked Date's guard. Ippo landed a body blow and began hitting Date's face again, however Date spun his neck to roll the punches, negating the damage. Date then hit Ippo with a left jab, causing him to go down. After Ippo got back up, Ippo went for body blows, but the punches were unable to do damage due to Date moving his guard along with Ippo's punches at the moment of impact. Ippo attempted to throw a big punch, however Date countered it and hit Ippo with a combination of attacks until the gong sounded ending the round.
In the fourth round, Date quickly began to hit Ippo with clean punches. After Date used the Neck Spin to neutralise an attack, he was hit by a left right after Date put his head in the normal position. Date was then hit by a liver blow and a Gazelle Punch, however, Date still stood. Date then showed Ippo the weight of a champion's fist as he unleashed a full powered right, going through Ippo's guard and hitting him. Date then landed multiple hits until he attacked with a punch from above. Date was then hit by a clean uppercut. Damaged from the attack, Date barely dodged Ippo's incoming attack, with the round ending shortly after.
In round five, Date's Corkscrew Blows were only hitting Ippo's block. Date and Ippo had a battle of exchanges, with Ippo eventually leaning on Date and attacking him. When Date got far enough away from Ippo, Ippo fell from his own weight, resulting in himself getting downed. As Ippo slowly got up, Date noticed Ippo looking for him. When Ippo found Date, Ippo walked up to him, and, after a quick exchange, readied a liver blow. Seeing this, Date stepped back and landed the Heart Break Shot on Ippo.
Just as Date was about to land another hit on the frozen Ippo, the referee stopped the match as Kamogawa Genji had thrown the towel into the ring while Ippo fell down, resulting in Date winning, and making Ippo lose for the first time in his career. Date was thankful to Ippo for recovering past feelings, as they shook hands. Date relinquished the title belt after this match.
After Date watched Miyata Ichirō's match against Li Chon Pir, he met Ippo and commented on Miyata's match. He then revealed to Ippo that he would be fighting an American who is ranked fifth in the WBA, and if he wins he would be going after the world title. Date warned Ippo before leaving to not idle around too long by having no matches while everyone else is progressing, or he will be forgotten.
Beginning his path for a rematch against WBA featherweight champion Ricardo, Date challenged an American named Jeff Brooks who was ranked fifth in the WBA rankings. When the match began, Date took Brooks into the ninth round where he stopped Brooks with his Heart Break Shot. After a follow-up punch, Brooks went down and the referee ended the fight, resulting in Date as the winner and becoming ranked fifth in the WBA. In his waiting room after the match, he was met by Ippo and Takamura. Date commented that he is looking forward to Ippo's match against Sendō as a boxing fan. He then expressed his interest on Ippo's Dempsey Roll, noting that if he used that on him, he would be in trouble. However, before leaving, Date claimed that Ippo was not used to the Dempsey Roll, using Sendō's tactic of never stopping pushing forward as an example, deeming his Dempsey Roll not complete.
As Date became ranked first in the WBA, Date decided to challenge Ricardo Martinez a second time as Ricardo's 18th title defence opponent. In order to prepare himself, Date sparred with the OPBF featherweight champion Miyata Ichirō, who he outperforms and wins against despite Miyata being in his best condition without weight control, thanking Miyata for the spar.
At the press conference between Date and Ricardo, the former thanked the super champion for bringing the belt from Mexico to Japan for him, while Ricardo told the reporters to not expect much from the challenger. The two then shook hands after a tense face off. Date later saw Ippo and Takamura while doing roadwork. Date discussed to them about the press conference and the upcoming title match, expressing how thankful he was for Ricardo staying at the top of the world as Date's eternal rival after seven years, being able to box because of him and that they both have changed since then. Date returned home and told his wife to bring their son to the ring after his match so he can hold him high as the world champion. Date deemed Ricardo both a demon that took everything away from him and a god that lights his soul on fire as a boxer, wishing to fight and defeat Ricardo in order to become himself.
When it was time for his title match, Date arrived to the Ryōgoku Kokugikan. Before the match began. Date called for Ippo to go in his changing room. When he arrived, Date told Ippo that he would be waiting for him at the top of the world. When Date entered the ring for the match, Nakadai instructed Date to not rush and to watch the champion closely, however, Date planned on giving a "loud greeting" to Ricardo after seven years. When the match began, Date immediately threw a left that knocked Ricardo's guard away and a second left that cleanly hit Ricardo's face. Before Ricardo could get into his rhythm, Date rushed him into the ropes with a barrage of punches on his guard until Ricardo escaped. Date rolled an incoming left by spinning his neck with the punch and began an exchange of lefts with Ricardo, with both unable to hit each other until they land a hit at the same time just as the first round ended. In the corner, Date wished to erase the shadow from seven years ago by surviving the second round where he lost.
Date in the second round became surprised when Ricardo threw his first right of the match even though it missed. Date began succumbing to the pressure and feints, stepping back into the ropes. Date escaped the ropes, but was then led into a corner as Ricardo had predicted his escape path and began to get hit with left body blows. Date realised that Ricardo wanted him to lower his guard in order to attack him so Ricardo could attack his face. Date lowered his guard to bait Ricardo, preparing a counter, however, Date was countered with a body blow. With Ricardo shocked that Date remained standing, Date hit him with a one-two. Date was then repeatedly hit with powerful combinations until the second round ended. Date was then pleased that he survived the second round where he previously fell.
Date's strong spirit awakened Ricardo's true boxing style in the third round. Date was completely unprepared by the raw aggression shown by Ricardo. He had no opportunity to attack and was beaten to a pulp up to the end of the eighth round. Covered in blood, Date accumulated significant damage, including three broken ribs and a broken jaw. In the ninth round, since Date was only aiming for punches at Ricardo's head, making him focus on guarding his head the whole match, he feinted a Corkscrew Blow to the head, forcing Martinez to guard high, but redirected his punch to the Heart Break Shot. Ricardo reacted to this with an Elbow Block, breaking Date's right fist. Date was then attacked until the ninth round ended. In the corner, Date began losing hope and Nakadai wanted to end it before being stopped by Aiko's presence. When Aiko vowed to Date that she would watch until the end, it fuelled Date's desire to continue.
In the tenth round, Date continued to fight only using his left. Thinking back to how he wanted to impress Aiko, Date was filled with a second wind and fought with powerful right blows despite his broken hand. Date then lured Ricardo into a perfectly timed Heart Break Shot. However, the damage to his hand prevented him from using enough power to stun Ricardo. Date's followup punch missed, and Date was then hit with a Corkscrew Blow, making Date go down. The referee quickly ended the match, resulting in Date's loss.
Date was sent from the ring to the General Hospital in a stretcher. While being watched over by his family, Ippo entered the room. Date called for Ippo to take his hand. Date placed his hand onto Ippo's as a baton pass. Date then retired after the loss.
Along with many other of Takamura's friends and Japanese rankers, Date went to the Ryōgoku Kokugikan to watch Takamura's WBC junior middleweight title match against Bryan Hawk. Before the match began, as Date knew that Takamura's reason was for picking the same venue where he fell against Ricardo was so he could stop regretting what happened, Date told Ippo to thank Takamura for him. Date then pleaded 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 felt as if they have been made into a laughing stock by Hawk. Date then watched the match, where Takamura won and became the new world champion.
Date went to the Kōrakuen Hall to watch Ippo's match against Sawamura Ryūhei. Before the match began, Date met Miyata and Sendō, who were not getting along, causing Date to tell them to get along. After the three gave their thoughts about the match, they watched the match, which ended in Ippo's victory.
One of Date and Okita's boxers had a match in the early matches of Takamura's WBC middleweight title match against David Eagle. In the end, their four-rounder boxer was defeated. Afterwards, Date met Ippo and commented how it would've been easier if he just been fighting himself. Minutes before Takamura's world title match, Date visited his locker room to wish him luck. Date was surprised to see Takamura nervous, but when Takamura got pumped up thinking about facing Eagle, Date instructed for him to go to the match like that, as Eagle would be intimidated by it, which helped calmed Takamura's nerves. Date proceeded to watch Takamura his match with Ippo and Miyata when round four began. Date watched as Takamura won his match against Eagle, becoming the WBC middleweight champion.
Date had a boxer from his gym taking part in the All Japan Rookie King Tournament Finals, but he lost by KO. He had high hopes that the boxer would be his gym's first ranker. When he ran into Ippo and Itagaki Manabu after the match, he asked Itagaki to transfer to his gym since Kamogawa Boxing Gym doesn't need him because it got Ippo and Takamura. Ippo told him not to scout at Kōrakuen Hall. Date thought it was a waste for Itagaki to fight at Kamogawa's since he had the boxing sense to give Ippo a run for his money, and unless Ippo lost, he can't try for the belt. Itagaki told him when the belt's not his, he planned to bring it back to the gym. Date mentioned a rumour he heard that Ippo's next match was his last title defence, where he planned on challenging for the OPBF title or higher. Date thought it was great since Ippo defended his title 6 times already, since their was nothing wrong with looking up, but he warned Ippo not to forget to check below too. He told Ippo when he first took the Japanese title, he was like Ippo but there was one guy he didn't want to fight. When that person challenged him, he was scared since he was a genius at finding weaknesses, where he did what the opponent didn't want him to. He didn't then he would lose against him, but he wasn't confident he would win either. He wasn't sure why the opponent cancelled his challenge, since they never fought, he might have been lucky. He told them the opponent was Take Keīchi, which was Ippo's next opponent.
Date attended Ippo's match against Kojima Hisato with Okita. Prior to the match, they ran into Sendō Takeshi and Saeki Takuma, who were arguing. Date greeted them, where Sendo recognized Date, but not Okita until Saeki told him that he was a trainer from Date's Gym. Date was surprised to see Sendo by himself, when Sendo told him that Sawamura Ryūhei wasn't interested in coming. Sendo thought it would get depressing if anyone else who lost to Ippo appeared when Mashiba Ryō and Mashiba Kumi arrived. Sendo told Mashiba to leave, and Mashiba started to take offense to it, when Date told them that losers should learn to get along. They start to be hostile toward Date, when Okita told them to show some respect toward his head coach. Date told Okita that it was okay since they were probably bitter that he actually won against Ippo. Sendo thought Date barely won, where it was nothing to brag about when Date countered that it wasn't something a two time loser should say. Sendo believed Ippo was a bad match up for him, when he thought Date would lose easily, but Date told him that he wasn't too old to go tiger hunting. As Mashiba and Kumi were heading inside, Sendo and Date commented that Mashiba was someone who lost to Ippo, he lost to someone that lost to Ippo too, which made him te weakest. Mashiba now mad started getting into a yelling match with them over it until Kumi stopped it and they all went inside.
Inside, Date, Okita, Saeki, Sendo, and nearby was Kumi and Mashiba seated together. They were discussing their thoughts on Kojima. When Ippo met Kojima at the center of the ring, Sendo didn't like the fact that Kojima was looking down on Ippo, or Ippo wasn't looking Kojima in the eyes. Okita mentioned that Ippo's not that type of guy, and Saeki agreed. Date thought something was different, since Ippo had his eyes on the ground since he entered the arena. he thought Ippo was too tense. After the match started, Kojima was able to land one punch on Ippo, but Ippo was able to withstand and land a counter of punch of his own that down Kojima and allowed him to win.
When the match ended, Saeki commented the crowd probably liked the match, but he felt it was simple for a Japanese title match since boxing was suppose to be about striking the opponent while dodging their punches. Sendo thought it was an exchange of their best punches, which were the best matches to watch. Okita asked Mashiba that since he was a lightweight if he would go down to a punch from someone two classes higher than him. While grabbing Okita's shirt, Mashiba said not from a bitch like Kojima as Kumi tried to stop him. Date was praising Ippo and Kamogawa, Saeki and Sendo were debating the match, while Mashiba was picking a fight against Okita for his comment. Later, they watched Takamura Mamoru the arena for his match wearing a badly painted Panda outfit as he made his way to the ring. The crowd started booing and throwing trash at him.
Date with Okita, Sendo, Mashiba, Saeki, and Kumi watched Takamura barely defeat Peter Rabbitson. Date invited everyone after the match to Mayweather Bar to celebrate. After a few drinks, Date and Sendō get into a disagreement about him defeating Ricardo Martinez. Mashiba added his thoughts about it, which made the the atmosphere more tense. Kumi tried to play peacemaker between them, since she was worried there would be trouble if she didn't come along. Mashiba and Sendō started to get into it, while Saeki tried to help her calm things down. Date (while drinking) asked them why they were angry, but then added he knows it is because of Takamura. He criticised Takamura's match and his poor performance in it. Date thought Sendō might be disappointed with it after coming from Osaka for it. Sendō agreed. Okita, Saeki, Mashiba and Kumi decided to complain about Takamura in order to lighten the mood.
After Mashiba mentioned Takamura's Panda outfit, Kumi was about to agree with him when she noticed it at the bar. They then all noticed Takamura sitting there with it. Takamura got up to started to leave, but he decided to block the exit instead. Date continued to increase the tension by criticizing Takamura, which scared Mashiba, Sendō, Okita, and Saeki. Mashiba told Kumi to go out the back exit while he tried to buy time. Kumi tried to get them to stop and not fight, but (drunk) Date told her to either back them up or be quiet. Date asked Takamura that if he think he can fight with this group and not expected to come out of it in one piece. They charged at him and end up getting into a bar fight. They end up losing, and Kumi putting bandages on them after the fight.
Iimura Mari invited Date to Monthly Boxing Fan. When Mari greeted Coach Date, but Date wanted her to drop the coach part since he felt that he was still a rookie at it. Mari wanted his opinion on Alfredo Gonzales since he was the only man in Japan to fight Martinez, if there were any similarities in fighting styles or the way he used his lefts. Date agreed with her, but thought it was no simple copy either, where he thought Alfredo had the real goods. Mari wandered if Alfredo mastered Martinez's skill, but Date thought he wasn't quite there yet. He mentioned how Okita copied him, where there was nothing wrong with resembling someone else style since most people have a goal in mind when they are trying to accomplish something because following someone's example was a good way to learn. But Date believed a boxer needed something more to attain real mastery, where they shouldn't be satisfied with just copying someone when they should be trying to be better than the original.
He thought the real key was the desire and ambition to take it to the next level. The spirit to move on, the hunger to catch up and surpass their goal. Eventually a boxer will become a fighter on their own terms who just as good or better than the original. He thought Alfredo's resemblance of Martinez was his desire to surpass him and a desire to win. He thought Alfredo might have a style like Martinez and acted like a gentleman, but he felt that was not the real him where he was scary and had a vicious look in his eyes. He compared him to Miyata's skills and Sendo's wild side. He thought the odds for Ippo's match against Alfredo was 60 - 40, where he thought Ippo's style was a little simple for the World level and felt Ippo could lose in a decision loss. If Ippo can close the distance with his power, then the odds will increase in his favor. He felt Ippo would be fine if he got better, but he worried if Ippo gotten weaker. Mari didn't think it was possible with the way Ippo liked to train, but she believed it was possible that he could overwork himself into a bad condition.
Date later attended Ippo's match against Alfredo.
While at Date Boxing Gym, Date was reading Monthly Boxing Fan, where it mentioned Ippo was going to have his return match to the ring against Antonio Guevara while Okita was mitt training and discussing it with him. Date later attended the Ippo vs Antonio Guevara match.
Date Boxing Gym was holding a sparring tournament for Boxers that had yet take the Pro Test where Nishikawa Boxing Gym, Ōtaki Boxing Gym, and Kamogawa Boxing Gym were taking part. When Ippo arrived with Itagaki Manabu, Kintarō Kaneda and Aoki Taihei, Date greeted him. Later, Fujii Minoru arrived with news that Sendō Takeshi was able to down Ricardo Martinez while in Mexico. They discussed the news between themselves, when Fuji added that Sendo had a match with Alfredo Gonzales in three months, where the winner challenges Martinez. Okita, Oda Yūsuke, and Kobashi Kenta were impressed by Sendo, and thought he was unstoppable. Ippo mentioned when he first met Sendo, where he wasn't surprised by it since he forced their match to happen in the All Japan Rookie King Tournament after he broke his fist against Mashiba. He added people get swept by his energy and spurred into action.
Fuji wanted to hear Date's thought on Sendo vs Martinez match, but Date told him that Sendo had to get by Alfredo first. Okita thought in terms of technique, Alfredo had the edge but in terms of strength Sendo was a cut above him. Kobashi thought if Send can land a hit, he thought Sendo could win. Oda thought it was Sendo's strength before and after the weigh in with weight control, when Okita thought Oda could use some weight control. Ippo thought it would be a great match, and hoped Sendo send would have his match with Martinez when Date Yūji confronted Ippo about Sendo stealing his chance at Martinez. As Yuji was leaving for roadwork, he wondered when Ippo would be ready as Date yelled at him for it and apologised to Ippo for it. Oda decided to asked Ippo if he could still fight or not. He thought with Ippo's strength it was a waste not to fight, since Ippo was his generation's role model and Ippo not fighting was giving them a bad name. Okita told Oda to stop. Kobashi added if Ippo made up his mind, it no one else place to object to it. Okita told him since they all retired they should relate. After Ippo left with his boxers, Kobashi asked Date what it took for him to get back into boxing. Date explained that it was not thoughts, but fire to put yourself back into the ring.
|Retired 2nd Time|
|23||LOSS||21-2-0||1994-06-27||Ricardo Martinez||Ryogoku Kokugikan, Japan||10(12), 2:14||TKO|| "REVENGE"|
WBA Featherweight Title Match
Retires after Match
|22||WIN||21-1-0||1993-6||Jeff Brooks||Tokyo, Japan||9(10)||TKO|| World Stage Match|
Becomes Ranked 5th in the WBA
|21||WIN||20-1-0||1993-2||Makunouchi Ippo||Tokyo, Japan||5(10), 2:32||TKO|| JBC Featherweight 4th Title Defence Match|
(8th Defences in Total)
|20||WIN||19-1-0||1992-11||Satō Takashi||Tokyo, Japan||7(10)||TKO|| JBC Featherweight 3rd Title Defence Match|
(7th Defences in Total)
|19||WIN||18-1-0||1992-6-27||Suzuki Toshio||Yokohama, Japan||1(10), 1:20/3(10)||TKO|| JBC Featherweight 2nd Title Defence Match|
(6th Defences in Total)
|18||WIN||17-1-0||1992||Sakaguchi Isamu||Tokyo, Japan||5(10)||TKO|| JBC Featherweight 1st Title Defence Match|
(5th Defences in Total)
|17||WIN||16-1-0||1992||Uehara Masa||Tokyo, Japan||7(10)||KO||JBC Featherweight Title Match|
|16||WIN||15-1-0||1991||Samuel Arrest||Tokyo, Japan||3(10)||KO|
|15||WIN||14-1-0||1991||Choi Kezhe||Tokyo, Japan||7(10)||TKO||Comeback Match from Retirement|
|Retired - 3 Years|
|14||LOSS||13-1-0||1988-02-20||Ricardo Martinez||style="text-align: center; font-family:'Times New Roman', Times, serif !important;; " | Estadio Azteca, Tlalpan, Mexico City, Mexico||2(12), 1:12||TKO||WBA World Featherweight Title Match|
|13||WIN||13-0-0||1987||Cuyo Verdez||Tokyo, Japan||9(12)||KO||World Stage Match|
|12||WIN||12-0-0||1987||Jin Long Yun||Tokyo, Japan||3(12)||TKO|| OPBF Featherweight 1st Title Defence Match|
|11||WIN||11-0-0||1986||Thomson Peñalosa||Tokyo, Japan||12(12), 3:00||Decision||OPBF Featherweight Title Match|
|10||WIN||10-0-0||1986||Yamaguchi Jirō||Tokyo, Japan||1(10)||KO|| JBC Featherweight 4th Title Defence Match|
|9||WIN||9-0-0||1985||Arai Shōzō||Tokyo, Japan||7(10)||KO||JBC Featherweight 3rd Title Defence Match|
|8||WIN||8-0-0||1985||Imanishi Satoru||Tokyo, Japan||3(10)||TKO||JBC Featherweight 2nd Title Defence Match|
|7||WIN||7-0-0||1984||Furukawa Ken||Tokyo, Japan||10(10), 3:00||Decision||JBC Featherweight 1st Title Defence Match|
|6||WIN||6-0-0||1984||Ōtomo Kōji||Tokyo, Japan||9(10)||KO||JBC Featherweight Title Match|
|5||WIN||5-0-0||1983||Alan Garcia||Tokyo, Japan||3(8)||KO|
|4||WIN||4-0-0||1984||Roland Hiyas||Tokyo, Japan||3(8)||KO|
|3||WIN||3-0-0||1983||Kim In-sik||Tokyo, Japan||8(8)||Decision|
|2||WIN||2-0-0||1983||Gotō Masahiro||Tokyo, Japan||6(6), 3:00||Decision|
|1||WIN||1-0-0||1983||Tomonaga Akira||Tokyo, Japan||1(4)||TKO||Pro Debut|
|Preceded by||Title||Succeeded by|
|Uehara Masa||JBC Featherweight Champion|
Unknown - February, 1992
|Thomson Peñalosa||OPBF Featherweight Champion||Unknown|
(eventually Arnie Gregory)
|Ōtomo Kōji||JBC Featherweight Champion||Unknown|
(eventually Uehara Masa)
Date first appears to be the average middle-aged man with a tall, well built body and tanned complexion despite his previous retirement from boxing. His black hair is grown short and styled neatly save for a few stray strands sticking out in several places. Date's iconic scar on the bridge of his nose is present, along with his ever present stubble. His eyes are black in colour.
Prior to and during his second challenge against Ricardo Martinez, Date has messily grown his hair shoulder-length, his stubble having visibly thickened since last seen during his fight with Ippo. After his second retirement, however, Date is shown to have shortened his hair once again, recovering his original appearance.
Date shows the determination to go through great lengths to accomplish his goals and depicts the ideal image of a strong-willed man. However he is no where near stoic or serious, and has been shown to openly express his hearty and humorous spirit. He is good friends with Takamura and close to fellow featherweight Ippo, encouraging both to do well in their boxing careers after his second retirement.
In the ring, Date is shown to be serious, especially during his match against Ricardo Martinez. A flashback concludes that Date used to be naive and overconfident to a certain extent in the ring until his first defeat at the hands of Martinez. Though he states that his second match against Martinez had nothing to do with revenge Date is shown to be competitive and vindictive to a certain extent, determined to give Ricardo "one hell of a nostalgic greeting".
At home, he is a family man who cares for both his wife and son, who in turn supported him fully through his boxing career.
At his peak, Date was far and away, the second best featherweight in the world only behind Ricardo Martinez. He is a very well rounded fighter, his speed and power are just above average but his durability and skill are some of the best in the sport. Utilising his high level of skill, Date is adept at turning his head at the moment of impact reducing the amount of damage taken, a move that he used effectively to hand Ippo his first pro defeat. His finisher is the Heart Break Shot, a powerful corkscrew blow aimed at the heart which momentarily stuns opponents and leaves them open to punches.
Unofficially, there are two versions of Date. The version Ippo fought was a Date who had lost his confidence and had become cynical about taking on the world a second time. While he was able to deal with Ippo for most of the match in this mindset, it was only until he began looking at the match as a brawl in the later rounds that he won. This version of Date hearkens back to his younger days when he challenged the world. Though he does not brawl outright, he becomes almost entirely offence-oriented and focuses on overwhelming his opponent with combinations. This version of Date was able to easily defeat Miyata, the current OPBF champ, in a spar, and gave Ricardo Martinez trouble in the early rounds of their second championship bout.
Date shares the same weakness as other well-rounded boxers in the series: he has no particular strengths. Most of his opponents are stronger or faster than him, some even both. As a result he is forced to rely on the corkscrew blow often. This reliance led to his loss against Ricardo and subsequent retirement from boxing.
Main Article: Date Eiji/Gallery
- The author stated in an interview (included as a volume 61 extra) that Date was modelled after former real life boxer and OPBF Champion Ozaki Fujio.
- Date has either attended, participated in, or provided commentary for matches involving the Kamogawa crew more than any other supporting character in the series, lagging behind only Iimura Mari and Fujii Minoru.
- He has also been in attendance for all of Takamura's world championship bouts.
- The second version of Date is sometimes referred to as "Jesus Date" by fans, due to his appearance resembling Jesus and the (probably accidental) notion that he was "resurrected" to fight "El Diablo."