Wiki Ippo
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Wiki Ippo

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

Background

When Mari met a boxer who was a star as an amateur in high school, he invited her to watch a match that had a boxer who he lost to before. After she saw him being excited when the boxer he lost to scored a down, as he knew that his opponent wouldn't get up because his fists were heavy due to them having his dreams within them, she wanted to understand how he felt. She decided to travel across multiple countries to watch boxing and learned that many dreams are ingrained into a strong boxer's fists, making them heavy.[1]

History

Part I

Mountain Training Arc

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

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

Mari receiving Ippo's autograph.

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

Lallapallooza Arc

Mari learning about Sendō's past from his grandmother.

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

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

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

Ippo discuss his thoughts about Sendō to Mari.

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

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

Execution Arc

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

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

First Step Arc

Mari interviewing Sanada.

When news about JBC featherweight champion Ippo fighting the former JBC junior featherweight champion Sanada Kazuki arrived, Mari thought Ippo's first defence was going to be difficult, but she wondered why Sanada would move up a weightclass after seeing Ippo's match against Sendō. Mari predicted the odds as 7 to 3 in Ippo's favour. Mari and the other reporters planned to greet the boxers, but Sanada was doing a closed practice at the Kinoshita Boxing Gym. Mari decided to go to the Imperial College of Medicine to interview Sanada instead. When Mari got there, she talked to Sanada, who told her that he was okay for interview as long it wasn't related to his new weapons since his trainer was very specific about it. Mari began to interview Sanada about why he started boxing with a medical background. After hearing his answer, Mari concluded that he started boxing for his own satisfaction and that he relinquished his belt and went up a weight class for something more dangerous. She warned him that Ippo's power is not easy to overcome, but he thought it was worth it. After the interview, Mari was surprised and realised that Sanada wasn't the normal sheltered little boy that she thought he might be.

Mari watching Sanada sparring.

Three weeks prior to the match, Mari and Fujii attended a public spar by Sanada. They saw Sanada spar a junior lightweight JBC third ranker. They were not sure he could force Sanada to show everything, but Dankichi told them they planned to show it all if the sparring partner can last to the end. During the spar, Sanada showed the Hien, and his palpation ability, however, he was unable to show his last weapon, as the opponent was knocked out before it happened. Later, She attended the weigh-in. Mari and Fujii then attended the sold out match for the Champion Carnival. She saw Ippo battle Sanada, where he was able to outlast Sanada and was declared the winner. After the match, Mari went to get Sanada since he was a doctor, telling him that Ippo had fallen asleep after the match, fearing that he might have brain damage. When Sanada checked him out, everyone was relieved that he was okay.

Bloody Cross Arc

Mari at Gregory's public spar.

Mari went to the OPBF featherweight champion Arnie Gregory's spar. After he finished off his sparring partner, Mr. Sakaguchi mentioned they were taking applications for future opponents. Mr. Sakaguchi's further comments made Mari tell him about Miyata's strength and that Gregory, who's proud of his strength, will find himself spinning his wheels and the joke will be on Mr. Sakaguchi. Mr. Sakaguchi then mentioned a technique that they were holding back, the "Bloody Cross".

Revenge Arc

In the anime, when Date was to fight the WBA featherweight champion Ricardo Martinez, Mari went to the Kamogawa gym to get comments from Ippo.

Mari and Fujii later went to the Narita Terminal 1 to witness Ricardo and Bill Stewart's arrival to Tokyo.

Proof of Power Arc

Mari talking to Ippo about Yamada.

While Ippo was training for his second JBC featherweight title defence match against Yamada Naomichi, Mari visited the Kamogawa gym after interviewing Yamada. She revealed to Aoki, Kimura, and Takamura that Yamada is not planning to hold back and that he arrived to Tokyo. Mari then went outside to tell him information she gathered about Yamada. Mari first explained to Ippo how Yamada is an underdog who goes to the ring knowing they can't win. She revealed to Ippo how after only eight fights, Yamada achieved a title match in a shorter and more difficult path by challenging the strongest fighters of different gyms, and during his matches, took devastating damage against them. She ended by saying that Yamada was someone who decided to start boxing because he admired Ippo, and once he became a boxer, he made him his goal.

In the anime, Mari attended the weigh-in between Ippo and Yamada. Later, she watched the title match, questioning if the match would be as easy for Ippo as everyone thought it was due to their similar styles and that Ippo couldn't use his Dempsey Roll. The match ended in Ippo's victory.

Battle of Hawk Arc

Mari flustered over Hawk's answer to her.

When the WBC junior middleweight title match between champion Bryan Hawk and Takamura arrived, Mari and Fujii were at the Narita Terminal 1 when Hawk and Miguel Zale arrived from the United States of America to Tokyo. Mari attended the press conference for the WBC title match between Takamura and Hawk. After Miguel answered for Hawk, Mari asked for Hawk's true thoughts about the question of him being nervous facing Takamura. Hawk ignored the question and instead told her his hotel room number, asking to come visit at any time. Hawk's actions at the press conference made Mari and the rest of the reporters outraged.

Part II

Submarine Wars Arc

Mari and Fujii interviewing Shimabukuro.

When Ippo's fourth JBC featherweight title defence opponent was scheduled to be Shimabukuro Iwao, Mari and Fujii went to Okinawa to interview Shimabukuro. When they arrive, they saw him going into the ocean and not coming up for air for close to 13 minutes. They start to get worried, but the coach of the Mensore Okinawa Seaside Gym assured them to not worry. When Shimabukuro came back with a huge fish, Mari and Fujii asked him how he would defeat the Dempsey Roll as he claimed in a newspaper article. They became disappointed when they discover it was the coach's exaggerated words and was used for publicity. However, they find out from Shimabukuro that while he has no strategy against the technique, he has a belief it will be defeated, and defeating it would defeat Ippo. After ending the interview with Shimabukuro revealing his way of defeating the Dempsey Roll would be an exchange of blows, Mari realised with Shimabukuro neck muscles, he would last a while against Ippo and noted Shimabukuro's incredible respiratory system.

Mari and Fujii went to the Kōrakuen Hall for the weigh-in between Ippo and Shimabukuro. The reporters were surprised by Shimabukuro's muscles and were surprised even further when Ippo accidentally stripped himself naked. Leaving the building, they commented on how there is a second title on the line that may be more important than the champion's. Mari attended the match which resulted in Ippo's victory.

Hiroko stops an argument between the females.

After Ippo's match against Shimabukuro, Mari went to Ippo's home, wanting to interview him. When she noticed Mashiba Kumi and Itagaki Nanako in his room being loud while he is asleep, she criticised them for being too loud. She then went through Ippo's photo album containing pictures of him as a student. Mari mentioned that based on how Kumi and Nanako are acting, they never made it far into their relationship with Ippo if they never been in his bedroom before. She then mentioned her interest in Ippo, sparking an argument between the three until Makunouchi Hiroko entered the room with tea. When Hiroko mentioned that when Ippo is like this, she tries to let him sleep as peacefully as she can, it made Mari, Nanako, and Kumi feel guilty, and they decide to leave.

Dragon Slayer Arc

In the anime, Mari and Fujii went to Takamura's house where everyone was reviewing Sawamura Ryūhei's match videos. She explained Sawamura's match record and that he toys with his opponents.

A Passing Point Arc

When Takamura's next match was the WBC middleweight title match against David Eagle, Mari and Fujii went to the Narita Terminal 1 and witnessed Eagle's arrival to Japan, along with his comments to the press, seeing that the champion from America was nothing like Hawk, who came from the same country. Mari and Fujii attended Takamura, Aoki, and Kimura's weigh-in session with their opponents and also Takamura and Eagle's press conference at the Yokohama Arena.

Spirit of a Weed Arc

Mari interviewing Makino.

Covering the East Japan Rookie King Tournament semi-finals, Mari went to the Sayama gym and talked to the Sayama coach while watching Itagaki's opponent, Makino Fumito spar. Mari learned from the Sayama coach how he has Makino train against bantamweights and lower to train against Itagaki's speed and that Makino adopted the Hitman Style himself. Mari also learned about Makino's situation with Tsuchiya Atsushi, a hospitalised patient. Wanting to know more about Makino, she talked to him after seeing him meet with Atsushi. Expressing her interest in learning about his fighting style and words, Mari was warned to watch where she steps, however she saw no problem with stepping on weeds. She listened as Makino compared himself and Ippo to weeds, how much they endure being stepped on, planning to be like Ippo who worked until he blossomed to a flower. Mari later went to the Kamogawa gym to reveal to itagaki all that she has learned about Makino.

When the East Japan Rookie King Tournament semi-finals arrived, Mari went to the Kōrakuen Hall with Fujii. Mari predicted an 8:2 ratio in Itagaki's favour against Makino. Seeing Atsushi in the crowd while in a wheelchair, Mari had the people blocking his view move so that Atsushi could see the ring. Mari watched as Itagaki defeated Makino in the second round by knockout. As Makino walked away from the ring and talked to Atsushi, Mari mentioned how Makino should be grateful that Itagaki was able to dodge Makino's fouls so that Atsushi couldn't see them. Mari watched Imai Kyōsuke's match against Terai Makoto, which ended in Imai's victory with a one round knockout.

Phantom Card Arc

At the Monthly Boxing Fan, Mari was discussing with his fellow reporters about Itagaki Manabu and Imai Kyōsuke's East Japan Rookie King Tournament finals and how the two have the most skill and potential out of all weight classes. When Fujii asked everyone for their predictions, Mari made a prediction of an 8-2 in Imai's favour, which the others agreed. Mari explained that Itagaki was never able to beat Imai in their amateur days and that Imai has scaled up his boxing since becoming a professional. After Fujii mentioned how Ippo displayed how to defeat an out-boxer a few days ago, Mari noted that the results of the match probably gave Itagaki a shock rather than a cheer for Ippo.

When the day of Itagaki and Imai's weigh-in arrived, Mari went with Fujii to attend the weigh-in, commenting how it is the most anticipating card out of all the weight classes.

Father's Back Arc

Mari interviewing Take.

At the Monthly Boxing Fan while Fujii was discussing how the Eastern Rookie King Itagaki would not fight the Western Rookie King Hoshi Hiroyuki in the All Japan Rookie King Tournament due to his injuries and that Ippo's opponent in the Champion Carnival would have him defending his title against Take Keīchi, Mari was interested in the veteran boxer Take, since the ten losses he has were not by knockout. Later, Mari interviewed Take. Take revealed that he had high respect for Date, and explained how he withdrew his challenge to fight the JBC champion Date due his son being hospitalised and he had to give up boxing temporarily to be with him. As Take claimed that his son locked himself in his room for a year after being discharged from the hospital, Mari wondered if he was being bullied. Take simply claimed that the world is full of cruel people, but he wants his son to grow up strong, which is why he plans to show his son the back of a father that fights his very best by fighting Ippo for ten rounds. Mari believed that facing Ippo for ten rounds is crazy, however, Take was sure that the pain that his son felt was worse, as he noted that words can hurt more than being hit sometimes. As Take left, Mari reflected how she can see why he has never lost by knockout.

When Ippo's seventh JBC featherweight title defence arrived, Mari and Fujii went to the Kōrakuen Hall to watch the match. After watching Ippo defeat Take, Mari went to Ippo's room in the venue to give him a mentaiko that was given to her by Take to give to him, and she explained Take's background to Ippo and Kamogawa. Mari and the other reporters were shocked and excited when Kamogawa revealed that they would be challenging the OPBF champion Miyata next if Miyata wins his title defence.

Chaos Arc

Mari meeting Ippo after watching Miyata's match against Che.

Outside the Kōrakuen Hall after having watched Miyata win in his fifth OPBF featherweight title defence match against the sixth OPBF ranker, Che Jounbong, Mari and Fujii approached Ippo, Mashiba, and Kumi and offered the group to have dinner with them, with the meal being paid by the editorial department. They left to go eat after the three accepted the offer. Later, Mari and Fujii attended the press conference for Takamura's first WBC middleweight title defence match with Richard Fox. Afterwards, they went to the Monthly Boxing Fan, where, after Fujii stressed that they can only rely on Takamura, Mari revealed that they can now also highlight Mashiba, as an article was just printed out that he would be fighting Sawamura in the Champion Carnival as his seventh JBC junior lightweight title defence match opponent. Later, when Kimura's rematch against Eleki Battery, Aoki's rematch against Papaya Dachiu, Ishii Yūta's bantamweight world title match, and Takamura's first WBC middleweight title defence match against Fox arrived, Mari went to the Ryōgoku Kokugikan. After watching the matches, Mari agreed with Fujii how shocking it was that Yūta lost against the world champion, and noted that Takamura remains to be the only one in Japan with a world title.

Later, Mari went to the Kōrakuen Hall to attend Mashiba and Sawamura's weigh-in. The next day, she arrived to the Kōrakuen Hall to watch Mashiba's seventh JBC junior lightweight title defence match against Sawamura. She watched in shock as Mashiba knocked Sawamura out of the ring in the sixth round while the referee had the match paused, causing Mashiba to lose by disqualification.

Seiken Arc

Mari interviewing Itagaki about who will hold Ippo's JBC title.

Mari and Fujii went to the Kamogawa gym to interview Itagaki before his match against Hoshi Hiroyuki. They asked him if Ippo relinquishes his JBC featherweight belt to fight the OPBF champion Miyata, who would be the one to take Ippo's place as the new JBC featherweight champion. Itagaki commented that he will make sure his senpai's belt returns to the Kamogawa gym. As Mari and Fujii left the gym, Fujii mentioned how he wishes that he could see how Ippo would handle the new generation of boxers, and that Itagaki is the only one from the new generation that won't fight Ippo. After Mari pointed out that Ippo is relinquishing the belt, so there won't be a fight between old and new boxers, Fujii believed that that is not guaranteed, adding that while he wants to see Ippo fight at world level, one can't predict what will happen, as fate in the ring can be complex.

Scratch Arc

Mari talking with the staff about Itagaki's win against Hoshi.

At the Monthly Boxing Fan, Fujii and the rest of the staff were talking about Itagaki's win against Hoshi. a reporter asked Mari if she thinks that Hoshi might have been in bad shape, however, she assumed that the result would have been the same regardless. With Fujii interested in the Kamogawa gym's momentum due to Ippo, Takamura, and Itagaki's accomplishments, Mari was invited to go with him to the Kamogawa gym to cover a variety of topics to create a special feature on the Monthly Boxing Fan magazine about their development. When they arrive, they decided to pass on it after seeing Aoki chasing Ippo around the gym with Takamura's faeces on his head.

After Ippo was away from the gym for a week, depressed due to Miyata cancelling their match together, Mari went to talk to him as Fujii was worried that he would retire. She mentioned to Ippo that retiring from boxing when one is ready to is fine since the sport causes extreme strain on the body, and how his record is excellent, however, she added that his fists seem light. She told him a story about a boxer, who was star in an amateur high school, and invited her to watch a match that had a boxer that he lost to before. She noted how he was ecstatic when the boxer he lost to scored a down, as he knew that his opponent wouldn't get up because his fists were heavy due to them having his dreams within them. She revealed to Ippo that she learned that many dreams are ingrained into a boxer's fists, making them strong and heavy, adding that Ippo's nineteen fights makes his fists hold the dreams of eighteen people, believing that he can't simply throw them away. As she left, Ippo asked if the boxer she was talking about is still fighting, however, she answered that he was an older man she had a crush on, but she suddenly feels like the older one now. When Ippo and Jimmy Sisphar's weigh-in arrived, Mari went to the Kōrakuen Hall to attend it and acted as the translator for both sides. Afterwards, Mari and Fujii assumed that the Kamogawa side doesn't know how Sisphar fights due to the short amount of time the match was scheduled, however, Kamogawa commented that he figured Sisphar is a rushing in-fighter due to the scars.

Operation World Domination Arc

Mari went to the Ryōgoku Kokugikan to watch Aoki, Kimura, Itagaki, and Takamura's matches. Mari watched Itagaki's match against Alex Harker, Kimura's match against Michael Gehon, and Aoki's match against Padawan Yoda where all three Kamogawa gym members won. Mari watched the main event starring Takamura's second WBC middleweight title defence in his beetle outfit, throwing only the new Beetle's Uppercut many times at Rickey Mouse until he won.

Winner Takes All Arc

Mari went to the Kamogawa gym after she learned about Ippo's next match being against the Filipino featherweight champion, Malcolm Gedo, and that the winner would take two million yen. Mari asked Yagi about the two million yen deal, believing that it is for promotional purposes to draw in fans since Gedo recently lost to a lower JBC ranker. Yagi answered that it wasn't to hype the match, as there is a lot to lose if they do lose. After Takamura asked about Gedo's arm extending, Mari wondered what he means, and if Gedo has a special technique. When the day of Ippo's match against Gedo arrived, Mari went to the Kōrakuen Hall to watch it. As Ippo scored a down on Gedo in the first round, Mari approached Fukui Kyōsuke and Tsukahara to ask what kind of fighter Gedo is. She learned that Fukui wants Ippo to win quickly, since the longer it takes, the more Gedo will capitalise on his cunning, which is why he is known as the "magician". During the sixth round as Ippo was having trouble against Gedo, Mari wondered what id happening. Fukui revealed to her that it is his depth perception, which has been became distorted for Ippo at some point and it has caused him to have the disadvantage the whole time. Mari was worried that Ippo would slowly lose after Tsukahara explained that Ippo is like a high performance machine that lost it's crucial sense of depth perception. Mari watched as Ippo defeats Gedo by knockout in the eighth round.

Red Lightning Arc

Mari interviewing Ippo as they watch Itagaki and Randy spar.

Mari went to the Otowa gym to watch OPBF interim champion Randy's public spar session, where she watched Randy defeat three ranked fighters from a higher weight class. After Randy's manager, Mr. Sakaguchi wanted a boxer that relies on his feet, Mari suggested to have Itagaki spar with him, which was accepted. When Itagaki, Ippo, and Shinoda arrived, Mari noticed Ippo glaring at Randy and asked if he was going to fight him, however, ippo claimed to just be observing. While watching Itagaki and Randy spar in the second round, Mari asked Ippo if he could catch Itagaki unlike Randy. Ippo answered that it would be hard for anyone catch him early, so they would need to wait for him to get exhausted in the later rounds. Mari watched as Itagaki was defeated in the second round and learned that Mr. Sakaguchi's goal is to have Randy dethrone the WBA featherweight champion, Ricardo. While Mari was interested to see Ippo about to fight Randy for one round, Mr. Sakaguchi stopped the spar before it began and the two left the Otowa gym. After Itagaki claimed that boxers who observe and take their distance are in for the worst match up against Randy, Mari and Fujii asked if someone who has more experience could figure out what Randy does. Itagaki answered that no matter how experienced one is, a Switch-Hitter like Randy is a rarity, causing his opponents to not have any sparring options. Mari concluded that Randy is the worst match up for even the more experienced out-boxer like Miyata. When Imai entered the gym, he revealed that him and a southpaw boxer sparred with Miyata at the same time, which Mari acknowledged that that is Miyata's strategy of going against a Switch-Hitter and not knowing when a switch will occur.

In the Jungle Arc

Mari at the weigh-in between Ippo and Wally.

Mari went to the Shimono Zoo after hearing from the Kamogawa gym that Ippo was watching monkeys. She met Ippo there and asked about his upcoming match. She learned that his next opponent, the Indonesian champion Wally, is a genius with a famous trainer, Miguel Zale. While Ippo was worried, Mari claimed that Ippo and Wally are at even ground since they both have a famous trainer. When the weigh-in between Ippo and Wally arrived, Mari and Fujii went to the Kōrakuen Hall. While Fujii was uninterested and wondered why a famous trainer like Miguel would agree to a reckless fight since Wally only has fought three times, Mari knows that Wally is inexperienced, but she believed Wally and Miguel are confident about themselves to take Ippo on. When Mari and Fujii entered the weigh-in room, they were shocked to see Wally hugging Ippo and Miguel hugging Kamogawa against their will. Mari acted as a translator between Wally and Ippo. After the weigh-in she followed Kamogawa as he went to see Miguel at the venue's ring area. Mari acted as a translator for Kamogawa and Miguel as Miguel told them about Wally. Afterwards, Mari asked Kamogawa for a comment about Ippo's upcoming match against Wally. He commented that the match has his blood pumping. The next day, Mari arrived to the Kōrakuen Hall to watch Ippo fight Wally. She watched as Ippo won by knockout in the eight round. Outside the venue, after Fujii left while pointing out how he hasn't seen many final scenes where both boxers made the face that Ippo and Wally did after the match ended, Mari wanted to know what Ippo was thinking.

Chronos Arc

Mari interviewing Itagaki about the Class A Tournament.

Mari went to the Makunouchi Fishing Boat to interview Itagaki after he was done working. Mari interviewed Itagaki during his break while he was doing outside training. Mari revealed to Itagaki that reporters have been calling him the fastest in Japan, since while Saeki Takuma has the fastest footwork, Karasawa Takuzō has the fastest hand speed, and Miyata is fast with both, but can't maintain it for a while due to his weight management, Itagaki beats the three in the three categories, making him the fastest. When itagaki doubts himself on getting the JBC title, Mari was surprised that he lacks self-confidence, but since she was talking about the Class A Tournament, she figures that he is confident about that. As Nanako went to go to Ippo's location while he was with Kumi, Itagaki knew that she would get in their way. Mari suggested for him to go with her, claiming that she knows that Ippo has everything his heart desires. Knowing that he can not reach Ippo, Itagaki explained how he wishes to chase after Ippo and mentioned how Nanako has no chance with Ippo because of Ippo's obvious feelings towards Kumi, feeling that he relates to Nanako. After implying that Mari is in the same predicament as him and Nanako, she got embarrassed and Itagaki asked if she wanted to go on a date with him as fellow runner ups, which Mari replied that he is slick.

When Aoki, Kimura, and Itagaki's first round of their Class A Tournament arrived, Mari went to the Kōrakuen Hall to watch their matches. Mari watched as Itagaki wins against Karasawa, Maezono Makoto wins against Fukui, Aoki wins against Jackal Itō, Kimura wins against Ryūzaki Takeshi, and Iga Shinobu wins against Katsutaka Imae.

Blind Step Arc

Mari interviewing Itagaki about his match against Karasawa.

Mari was invited to an [[Nermina Park]amusement park]] by Itagaki, who received free tickets from Kimura since he had extra. While Mari was wanting to interview Itagaki about his victory against Karasawa, Itagaki requested for her not to interview him since they are on a date as fellow runner-ups, making her feel insulted. Mari went with Itagaki on various rides, however, Itagaki was the only one enjoying himself. After taking a break from the rides, Mari interviewed Itagaki about his match with Karasawa, asking how he was able to disappear from Karasawa's sights in the second round. Itagaki explained how his senses accelerate when he gets focused, and he can see every twitch their muscle makes and every breath they take, being able to do feints as he can also see their eyes move. She was amazed by what Itagaki said and asked if he was purposely trying to beat Ippo's time against Karasawa, and if he thinks he has caught up to Ippo. Itagaki commented that there was no way he caught up to him and his match with Karasawa reminded him how great Ippo is. Groups Ippo and Kumi, and Aoki and Tomiko approached Mari and Itagaki since Ippo and Aoki also received tickets from Kimura. Ippo tried to stop Aoki from spreading rumours of Kimura being an anime-loving paedophile after finding an anime DVD in his room, until Aoki called Kimura to show them his girlfriend. However, Kimura was near the group, not knowing they're there and told Aoki that he is was at the park and would show his girlfriend another time, as Mari and the others see Kimura with a little girl. Aoki called the cops and had Kimura arrested.

Mari discussing Ippo's upcoming match against Kojima with the Monthly Boxing Fan staff.

Later, Mari went to the Kōrakuen Hall, where Saeki's Class A Tournament semi-finals match against Makoto was being held. Before the match began, Mari saw Ippo, Aoki, and Itagaki talking with Ippo's upcoming opponent, Kojima Hisato, who left after being rude to Ippo. After Ippo also left, Mari approached Aoki and Itagaki, who told her that Kojima has pushed Ippo's buttons because Kojima insulted Ippo's previous opponents, something Ippo doesn't like. Mari watched Saeki's match against Makoto, where Saeki won by knockout. Later at the Monthly Boxing Fan, Mari and the staff talked about how Kojima seems to have a grudge against Ippo and how the editorial department will get others interested in Ippo and Kojima's match. After Fujii claimed that Ippo won't slip up and that Ippo will train in anticipation of Kojima being bigger than he is, Mari claimed that Ippo did the training for fighting boxers bigger than he is in the same weight class, not for ones that are two weight classes higher like Kojima. However, Fujii pointed out that he has already fought Oda Yūsuke, who came from the lightweight class just like Kojima.

Mari interviewing Oda.

Wanting to learn about Oda, since she wasn't working for the Monthly Boxing Fan when Ippo fought him, Mari went to the Nishikawa gym. She asked the Nishikawa coach, Mikami for the boxer, Oda, however, Mikami revealed to her that Oda has retired after fighting Ippo due to his condition. Mikami called Oda over to Mari since he became a trainer for the gym. Mari was shocked by his overweight appearance due to the photo she had of him was when he was a boxer. Mari went with Oda to the Soehiro to interview him. During the interview, Mari learned that Oda felt motivated after his match with Ippo, however, he thought that he didn't have what it takes to compete with monsters like Ippo and retired. Since Oda knew about Kojima, Mari wanted to hear details about him from Oda. She was surprised after learning about Kojima not being able to use his right fist because he broke it twice due to his punches being too powerful, resulting in him relying on his left to climb up the JBC rankings, and that Kojima is a huge fan of Ippo. She wondered why Kojima would provoke Ippo when he has a handicap and is a fan. Later at the Monthly Boxing Fan, after she found out that Fujii interviewed Kojima, Mari complained to Fujii about how he should have brought her with him when he interviewed Kojima and criticised him for letting Kojima get away with snide remarks.

When the weigh-in for Ippo and Kojima's match arrived, Mari went to the Roigal Hotel to attend it. The next day, Mari and Fujii went to the Ryōgoku Kokugikan to watch Ippo's eighth JBC featherweight title defence match against Kojima and Takamura's fourth WBC middleweight title defence match against Peter Rabbitson. Mari watched as Ippo won by a one punch knockout in the first round, and Takamura's fourth WBC middleweight title defence match against Rabbitson, which ended in Takamura winning by a one punch knock out in the final twelfth round.

Speed Zone Arc

Mari interviewing Kojima.

Mari went to the Kamogawa gym to interview Ippo about his victory against Kojima. After asking what Ippo thought of Kojima's self-proclaimed two ton punch and Ippo gave high praise, she suggested for him that he should stop praising the opponent he beats for a long period of time so that he can start feeling proud of his victory for once. Ippo declined, claiming that he regrets how he did in the match as he betrayed his training, an answer that Mari deemed expected from a good student. As Mari left to go interview Kojima, Aoki wanted to come with her. Mari and Aoki went to the Soehiro to interview Kojima. Before Mari began the interview, she and Aoki asked Kojima why he acted antagonistic towards Ippo, learning that he was doing it to psych himself up to try and remove the feelings of his admiration towards Ippo. Starting the interview, Mari asked Kojima how destructive Ippo's power was, however, Kojima claimed that he doesn't remember anything besides entering the ring and the end of the match. Mari told Kojima how it is said that the brain blocks memories of extreme pain or fear due to the shock it does to the body, which means his memories of the match possibly won't be remembered to him. After Aoki left and was angry about his reason of retiring, Mari mentioned to Kojima that Aoki probably feels lonely due to the boxers that are still active that were with them in the Rookie Kings are very few and she is sure that Aoki realises that only the boxers that truly shine and last long are ones who have what it takes.

On the day of the Class A Tournament finals, Mari and Fujii went to the Kōrakuen Hall to watch it. As Itagaki's match against Saeki was about to begin, they noticed that instead of shadowboxing, Itagaki and Saeki did footwork before the match began. Mari watched as Itagaki won by knockout in the fourth round, and pointed towards the timer to have Itagaki look at it and realise that he beat Ippo's time of defeating Saeki. Mari watched Kimura's match against a former champion that ended in Kimura's decision loss, and Aoki's match against Iga that ended in Iga's knockout victory in the seventh round.

Go to the World Arc

Mari interviewed Volg after he became the IBF junior lightweight champion for the Monthly Boxing Fan magazine. She discussed with the Monthly Boxing Fan staff about how Volg was easy to talk to and was fond of Japan. Mari and the Monthly Boxing Fan staff discussed Ippo's upcoming match against the world ranker Alfredo Gonzales, along with Sendō, Miyata, Mashiba possibly moving to the next level, and the JBC featherweight title is open for boxers like Itagaki to take.

Mari interviewing Date on Ippo's match against Alfredo.

Later, Mari invited Date to the Monthly Boxing Fan to interview him about Alfredo and if he noticed any similarities between Alfredo and Ricardo. Date answered that Alfredo is the real deal, and that Alfredo seems to have the desire to surpass him rather than catch up to him with his hardened fists with a desire to win. Date mentioned how Alfredo may act like a gentleman and be a stylish boxer like Ricardo, however, he believes that he has a wild instinct side as well, which Mari figured that he means he has a refined and precise left along with sharp and animalistic instincts. Mari asked if he thinks Ippo will win, and Date deemed it a 60-40 in Ippo's favour, however, he pointed out that Ippo's boxing is too simple for the world level, making it possible for a decision loss. When Date noted that Ippo will be fine if he has gotten better and not weaker, Mari thought it was crazy to think that Ippo would get weaker, but knew that if he got overworked, his condition could become poor. When the day for Ippo's weigh-in with Alfredo and Itagaki's weigh-in for Imai arrived, Mari went to the Kōrakuen Hall to attend the weigh-ins and acted as the translator to help Ippo understand what Alfredo is saying.

Mari watching Itagaki and Imai fight for the vacant JBC featherweight title.

When Ippo's match against Alfredo, and Itagaki and Imai's match for the vacant JBC title arrived, Mari went to the Kōrakuen Hall. Outside the venue, her and another reporter met Sendō and Mashiba. Mari assumed that they came to watch Ippo, as they are part of the "Makunouchi Generation", making the two agitated. After Mari learned that Sendō sparred with Ippo recently and defeated him, she asked Sendō and Mashiba if Ippo has become weaker or stronger, however, the two boxers claimed that that is why they are there to find out. She went inside the venue to watch the matches with Mashiba and Sendō. She watched Itagaki and Imai's match, which ended in Imai's victory by knockout in the first round, making Imai the new JBC featherweight champion. She then watched Ippo and Alfredo's match that ended in Alfredo's victory by knockout in the seventh round. Outside the venue, Mari asked Fujii if the hierarchy of the Japanese featherweight class really changed a lot, however, Fujii claimed that it is hard to say, since after Ippo's first loss, he came back with the Dempsey Roll, wondering if despair or hope will come when he comes back again.

Goals to Reach Arc

At the Monthly Boxing Fan, Mari and the staff were disappointed to find out that the people's honour award for Takamura was retracted. Mari revealed to the staff that Sendō declared his challenge to Alfredo in the ring to Bill Stewart, however, Bill claimed that he wouldn't see Alfredo in Mexico since he isn't his trainer.

Seeking Heights Arc

After Fujii claimed to be worried about Ippo since he was banned from the Kamogawa gym for a month, Mari went to the hillside where Ippo does his training and overheard him and Itagaki talking about Ippo's training. After Ippo complained to Itagaki about not being able to train on his Dempsey Roll for a month due to Kamogawa ordering Ippo to not strain himself, Mari told Ippo that there is a magical way to train without straining himself. When she followed Ippo to a nearby sports store, she had him buy weight straps for his wrists and ankles, informing him that Sendō once used them to train his lower body, increasing his dashing speed.

10 Months in the Making Arc

Mari and Fujii went to the Ryōgoku Kokugikan to attend Ippo's return match against Filipino featherweight champion Antonio Guevara and Takamura's WBC and WBA middleweight title defence match against Keith Lycaon. Mari watched as Ippo lost by knockout in the fourth round. With the crowd quiet, Mari believed that the crowd is in shock since Ippo was a beloved boxer to the fans. As the main event of Takamura's WBA and WBC title defence match against Lycaon began, Mari watched, and the match ended in Takamura's victory by a one round knockout. Outside the venue, Fujii advised Mari to not go see Ippo and try to get him back to the ring again, since he believed that someone else can make a difference this time.

Part III

Second Step Arc

Mari meeting Ippo and Kumi after the two watched a movie.

At the Monthly Boxing Fan, as the reporters talked about Imai's second JBC featherweight title defence victory and how Imai claimed that he wanted to fight the retired Ippo, Mari wondered if it was really the end for him, since he truly loved boxing, questioning if he can forget about it and enjoy a life without it. She further thought what would happen if he can't, and that he may be preparing to fight again. While going to the Otowa gym to interview Imai, she ran into Ippo and Kumi. She wanted to ask Ippo a question, but Kumi got in-between the two and asked for Mari to not talk about boxing to Ippo, however, Mari said that she wasn't asking her. Kumi explained that Ippo is doing his best to forget about boxing, however, Mari claimed that he can't forget about boxing and that there isn't a reason for him to force it. Kumi mentioned that Mari needs to think how Ippo must feel, but Mari countered by asking if she meant how she feels. When Mari suggested that Kumi might be getting into by being with him since she is a nurse, Kumi claimed that if anything happens, she is prepared to take care of Ippo, but she is glad that Ippo stopped boxing before it came to that, since it would be too much for her to take of both Ippo and Mashiba. Realising that Kumi is worried about taking care of both of them, Mari told Kumi that she would not talk about boxing since she likes her. Ippo wanted to know about what Mari wanted to ask him about, causing Mari to tell Kumi how dense Ippo is since Kumi was talking about looking after him long term, basically admitting that she wants to get married. Kumi asked Mari what she thinks about Ippo, and Mari answered that she loves him as a pro boxer as she walked away.

Later, Mari went to the Kōrakuen Hall. When Hayami Ryūichi's match going on, she spotted Ippo watching the match and asked what he would do in the fight. Noticing that Ippo is having fun talking about what he would do if he was fighting, Mari asked if seeing someone that he fought before fighting stirs him up, to which Ippo declined. After Hayami went down easily in the second round due to his glass jaw, Mari told Ippo how he has gotten so weak against punches that it is hard to watch. When Kobashi Kenta approached Mari and Ippo and asked Ippo if his retirement was a doctor stop, Mari explained that a doctor stop isn't limited to obvious external injuries, giving an example of an opponent who never gives up no matter how dire the situation is and the other boxer has to keep attacking anyway while damage builds up in their opponent. As Kimura's match with Ippo as his second began, Mari watched with Kobashi, and laughed when Ippo threw the chair to try and place it, however, it bounced off the ropes and into the audience. Mari watched as Kimura won by knockout in the seventh round.

Sendō in Mexico Arc

Mari telling Ippo and Yagi about how Ricardo's staff does not want to fight Alfredo again.

Mari went to the Kamogawa gym to talk to Ippo about Sendō going to Mexico without telling his gym. Mari was surprised to find out from Ippo that Sendō went there to meet Alfredo. As Ippo was confused as to why Sendō would go without permission from his gym, Mari explained the situation on how Sendō's gym sent requests for Alfredo to fight Sendō, however, Alfredo did not want to fight a Japanese boxer due to feeling cheated after Ricardo's staff did not want to have Ricardo fight Alfredo a third time despite his match with Ippo was suppose to guaranteed it.

Keith Dragon Arc

When the WBC super middleweight champion, Keith Dragon came to Japan for his title defence match against Takamura, Mari went to the Narita Terminal 1 to witness his arrival. Mari and Fujii followed Dragon as he immediately went to the Kawahara gym to train, watching in awe as he punched the sandbag. When Mari noted how Dragon's right is something to watch out for, she wondered what Miyata was thinking as he glanced at her.

Post-Keith Dragon Arc

While watching matches at the Kōrakuen Hall, Mari and Fujii discuss how, despite Mashiba's upcoming world title preliminary match and Sendō's match against Ricardo, Fujii has been cooled off because Miyata won't move up to the world stage, since he is stuck at the featherweight class as he is waiting for Ippo to come back. Walking away from the venue, Mari thought about how everyone's momentum has been building while Miyata's isn't, believing it to be the true loss of Japan's boxing. Later, Mari went to the Kōrakuen Hall and watched Imai's fourth JBC featherweight title defence match against first ranker Hoshi, which ended in Imai's victory. Before leaving the hall, Mari and Fujii were met by Sendō, Ippo, and Itagaki as the three wanted to hear details about Sendō's upcoming match against Ricardo. Mari and Fujii revealed to them that Ricardo called a press conference for his next match, but his next opponent isn't Sendō, and the match is already in contract, so Sendō isn't able to stop it. After Fujii revealed to them that the opponent is the third ranker in the WBA and former Indonesian champion Wally, and that the reporters that cover Wally are deeming him the "unknown primordial Alpha" that is able to stand against the "incredible Alpha", Mari explained that the Omega is the final letter in the Greek alphabet, which can mean the final and ultimate goal.

Appearance

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

Personality

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

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

Gallery

Trivia

  • Mari can speak Japanese, English, and Indonesian, often acting as a translator for others. It is possible she also speaks Spanish, as she has visited Mexico.
  • Mari is the oldest of Ippo's three love interests, being three years older than Kumi, and seven years older than Nanako.
    • She is also the only one of the three to have seen Ippo naked, which happened during the weigh-in between Ippo and Shimabukuro.[2]

References

<references>

  1. Round 725, pages 1-4
  2. Chapter 425, page 12
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