The Dempsey Roll (デンプシー ·ロール, Denpushī Rōru) is a technique used by Makunouchi Ippo. First created by Jack Dempsey, Ippo came up with the idea without knowing it already existed while watching how Mike Tyson bobbed his head and used the momentum to punch.
The Dempsey Roll had conquered the world during Jack Dempsey's boxing days in the 1920s, along with Fuji Takeshi also using the technique many years later. Then, the technique disappeared from history as modern boxing had more boxers utilising speed, counters, and rhythm, making the Dempsey Roll not useful.
Ippo lowers his stance and central balance and begins to aggressively weave his body in a pattern similar to the shape of a side way figure eight. Ippo then fires a series of rapidly executed punches from both left and right angles whilst continuing his bobbing and weaving.
As the Dempsey Roll is a flurry of hooks thrown with the fighters full body weight behind them, few fighters can withstand it should it land successfully, particularly if it isn't guarded against. Ippo's development have allowed him to bring the Dempsey Roll to newer, stronger and less predictable levels of strength.
The major factor of the Dempsey Roll's strength comes from weight shifting and full rotation to the back and hips, allowing powerful hits to be landed on the target's blind spots. The bobbing aspect takes the boxer to the further parts of the other person's vision and thus it is possible for an experienced Dempsey Roll user to hit their opponents without being seen.
Ironically, the Dempsey Roll's biggest weakness is itself: the fact that it's so powerful meant that many boxers would develop and learn to counter it. As mentioned by Kamogawa Genji and Miyata Ichirō, the Dempsey Roll is easy to counter and avoid due to its predictable and highly readable repetitive rhythm as well as pace, though one needs both high level skill and guts to face the technique. The Dempsey Roll's motion can be stopped as well if the opponent pushes his body onto Ippo's.
Ricardo Martinez was able to stop Ippo from using the Dempsey Roll by simply throwing jabs that hit Ippo while he was weaving. As Shimabukuro Iwao was a fighter-type he did not possess the speed nor skill to counter the Dempsey Roll, he instead stopped the Dempsey Roll by matching it blow-for-blow.
Itagaki Manabu identified the technique's weakness and, in order to help Ippo, developed the counter that was likely to be used against him. Kimura Tatsuya was able to get the timing right in a spar against Ippo, but he backed off due to the incredible amount of courage it takes to face the Dempsey Roll. Itagaki's counter was later passed to Alexander Volg Zangief, who knocked out Ippo in a spar. The technique was to lean away from the Dempsey Roll. As the attacks come from blind spots, leaning back would increase the field of view, making it simple to see and therefore treating it like a regular hook.
Sawamura Ryūhei was able to counter the technique effectively. Following Sawamura's example, Karasawa Takuzō is also said to have developed a strategy to counter this technique, forcing Ippo to seal the Dempsey Roll temporarily to improve his basic techniques.
- In the manga, Ippo began theorising the Dempsey Roll while watching how Mike Tyson bobbed his head and used the momentum to punch. This scene was omitted in the anime.