He is a lightweight professional boxer and one of the core members of the Kamogawa gym. He, along with Kimura Tatsuya, are known to have been scouted into boxing by Takamura Mamoru, an individual they swore to defeat but eventually came to admire.
- 1 Background
- 2 History
- 2.1 Part I
- 2.1.1 Early Days Arc
- 2.1.2 First Rounder Arc
- 2.1.3 Finals Arc
- 2.1.4 Rocky of Naniwa Arc
- 2.1.5 Two Rookie Kings Arc
- 2.1.6 Speed Star Arc
- 2.1.7 White Fang Arc
- 2.1.8 Challenge for the Throne Arc
- 2.1.9 Road Back Arc
- 2.1.10 Hot Rod Era Arc
- 2.1.11 Mountain Training Arc
- 2.1.12 Lallapallooza Arc
- 2.1.13 Execution Arc
- 2.1.14 First Step Arc
- 2.1.15 Bloody Cross Arc
- 2.1.16 Revenge Arc
- 2.1.17 Proof of Power Arc
- 2.1.18 Battle of Hawk Arc
- 2.1.19 Post-War Arc
- 2.2 Part II
- 2.2.1 Submarine Wars Arc
- 2.2.2 Comic Show Arc
- 2.2.3 Dragon Slayer Arc
- 2.2.4 A Passing Point Arc
- 2.2.5 Spirit of a Weed Arc
- 2.2.6 Under Siege Arc
- 2.2.7 Phantom Card Arc
- 2.2.8 Father's Back Arc
- 2.2.9 Chaos Arc
- 2.2.10 Seiken Arc
- 2.2.11 Scratch Arc
- 2.2.12 Operation World Domination Arc
- 2.2.13 Winner Takes All Arc
- 2.2.14 Red Lightning Arc
- 2.2.15 Second Coming of Death Arc
- 2.2.16 In the Jungle Arc
- 2.2.17 Chronos Arc
- 2.2.18 Blind Step Arc
- 2.2.19 Speed Zone Arc
- 2.2.20 Proud Wolf Arc
- 2.2.21 Go to the World Arc
- 2.2.22 Battle of the Beasts Arc
- 2.2.23 Goals to Reach Arc
- 2.2.24 Seeking Heights Arc
- 2.2.25 10 Months in the Making Arc
- 2.3 Part III
- 2.1 Part I
- 3 Match History
- 4 Appearance
- 5 Personality
- 6 Boxing Abilities
- 7 Quotes
- 8 Trivia
- 9 References
Aoki is the oldest brother of his nine siblings and was starred in a TV show about his family called "Heartwarming Special Presents: The Hectic Life of an 11-Person Family". He was helpful to his family by cooking meals for his whole family. Aoki would be forced to leave the family because his father got very sick and ended up running a ramen shop called "Chūka Soba", making use of the natural cooking talent. The ramen shop expanded to three stores thanks to his recipes. Aoki used his money to fund his sibling's school fees and never thought twice about helping his siblings.
Aoki had a delinquent past with long-time friend and schoolmate Kimura Tatsuya. During high school, the duo were playing baseball in the Little League. In a summer tournament, they won against Kiyota and Kuwahara, taking what was most precious to them due to a bet: dirt from the Koshien Stadiumm and throwing it off a bridge. Aoki and Kimura left baseball as they thought it was too easy due to not having any competition at the time. Together they would also pick fights and wreak havoc frequently until he met and attacked Takamura Mamoru in an arcade. Takamura was given a concussion by Aoki by kicking his head into an arcade screen, but Takamura retaliated and defeats Aoki, leading him and Kimura on a path of revenge- their goal being Takamura in the end. After several failed attempts Aoki and Kimura found their way to the Kamogawa gym where they find Takamura. There, they were introduced to boxing, and trained with a single goal of defeating Takamura in mind. Upon their winning of their individual debut matches the two realised that Takamura was no longer just their 'goal' but their inspiration and idol as well.
Sometime after a KO loss, Aoki was told by Kimura that he loss because of his weak jaw. Aoki then began wondering what he can use against another's jaw. A frog then jumped on his hand, which Aoki noted how, just like him, frogs can not fly. However, if it tried hard enough, maybe it would grow wings. He then thought of the Frog Punch, which gave him confidence and used it in his next match. During the East Japan Rookie King Tournament, Aoki and Kojima Hisato were partaking in it at the same time. Aoki sparred with Kojima a few times where Kojima was able to knock him out at first, however, once Aoki used footwork, he was of no challenge to him since Kojima couldn't keep up.
In the anime, Aoki watched Makunouchi Ippo and Miyata Ichirō's spar. After the spar, he introduced himself to Ippo. On Ippo's first day at the Kamogawa Boxing Gym, Aoki and Kimura Tatsuya attempted to train him, but was stopped by Kamogawa Genji. While Ippo was training, Aoki served Ippo and the others ramen at his restaurant. Before the second spar, Aoki acted as Miyata's sparring partner. When the spar rematch arrived, Aoki watched the spar between Ippo and Miyata.
When Yagi Haruhiko revealed Ippo's pro debut match to be Oda Yūsuke, Aoki suggested it would be an easy fight. At the Chūka Soba, Aoki served Ippo and the others ramen, he then did fortune telling with cards, he pulled out a card that showed Ippo would win. Aoki was Ippo's sparring partner for training against Oda. Aoki watched Ippo's fight against Oda and celebrated after Ippo's first win.
After sparring with Ippo, Aoki celebrated Ippo's first year in the Kamogawa Boxing Gym at the Chūka Soba. Aoki explained how his Rookie King Tournament went, however he got upset when Takamura pointed out how his opponent who beat him in the first match wasn't good. When Jason Ozuma was announced as Ippo's first opponent in the East Japan Rookie King Tournament, Aoki and the others believed it to not be his real name until his profile was shown to be American. As Ippo was not used to fighting black boxers, Aoki painted himself black, which successfully eased Ippo as they got ready to spar. Aoki watched the match between Ippo and Ozuma.
With Ippo being fired up from watching Miyata's match, Aoki and Kimura sparred with him. When Takamura saw Ippo's flare up, thinking about a girl, Aoki warned him that he would not go up in the world thinking only about girls. He explained to Ippo that he had girl troubles before. After watching a tape of Hayami Ryūichi fighting, Aoki told Ippo that he wanted to help him defeat Hayami by doing roadwork and sparring with him.
Aoki attended the training camp. On the final night at the training camp, Aoki wished to get a Japanese title belt as he watched fireworks. When he and the others got back to the gym, Yagi showed everyone the poster of Takamura's match against the Japanese middleweight champion and Ippo's match against Kobashi Kenta.
Aoki attended Ippo's match against Kobashi, and Takamura's Japanese middleweight title match against Yajima Yoshiaki. When Takamura went down, Aoki and the other's cheers helped Takamura stand up. After Ippo's win and Takamura wins the champions belt, Aoki celebrated along with everyone.
Ippo, Takamura, and Kimura went to the Chūka Soba to talk about Aoki's match. Aoki got depressed when Takamura claimed that he should not be nervous, since he is good at making ramen, so he would have no worries about retirement. He became even more depressed when Ippo felt better knowing that Hayami's match was before Aoki's. When Aoki's match began, despite being nervous before it started, Aoki ultimately won the match. Later, when Miyata visited the Kamogawa gym, Takamura made fun of Aoki and how the girls stood up and left before his match began.
When Ippo wanted to learn how to counter against Hayami's short uppercut, Aoki was his sparring partner, where he would throw uppercuts for Ippo to counter with a hook. At the Chūka Soba, After seeing the East Japan Rookie King Tournament being covered in a magazine, with Ippo's section being the smallest, Takamura claimed that Ippo was the Manbaken. Aoki thought otherwise, making Takamura decide to set a bet. Kimura chose Hayami, Takamura chose Miyata, and Aoki was forced to go with Ippo. Aoki, along with Takamura and Kimura visited Ippo's home, where, despite having a fever, Ippo trained with Aoki. Aoki attended the match between Ippo and Hayami, with the match ending in Ippo's win.
Aoki watched a tape recording of Miyata's match against Mashiba, which Miyata lost and Mashiba fouled. Aoki was angered at the result and believed Ippo's match against Mashiba is for Miyata's revenge. When Aoki and Kimura returned to the gym, they were thrilled to see Ippo hitting a sandbag and seemingly not bothered by the outcome of the match. However, it was revealed that he was hitting the sandbag for too long, breaking his fists and unable to use the for a week by Kamogawa. Aoki was informed by Takamura that a girl that Ippo liked was actually Mashiba's sister, prompting Aoki to tease Ippo about it the next day and made fun of him for thinking he was to protagonist of grief. Fujii Minoru then arrived, revealing the Mashiba family's history. Hearing the story, Aoki agreed that if it was for the sake of his own sister, he would feel fine to win even if he would have to cheat. When Kamogawa allowed Ippo to use his fists, he had Aoki and Kimura spar with him. Before the match between Ippo and Mashiba, Aoki wished to Ippo good luck. Aoki then watched the match, which ended in Ippo winning. Aoki remembered the bet, however he was knocked out by Takamura.
When a man visited the gym looking for Ippo, who eventually appeared, he revealed himself as the West Japan Rookie King. Hearing this name, Aoki remembers him as he was called "Rocky". When Sendō accidentally revealed that he can use the Smash, Aoki was surprised. Aoki informed Sendō that Ippo was not in condition to fight after Sendō kept asking despite his fist injury.
The next day, after Kamogawa left for Thailand tog get boxers for Takamura to fight, Takamura became fired up and wanted to spar. Eventually, Sendō decided to spar despite Aoki warning that Takamura was six classes higher. Aoki then witnessed the spar where Sendō used the Smash before getting knocked out. After Sendō woke up, Aoki had Kimura use his vehicle to drive him to the airport for Osaka. On his way to work, Aoki talked with Ippo, who explained to him that the number one Judoist was his doctor. When Aoki saw the doctor, Yamaguchi Tomoko, he ran to a phone booth. Later, Aoki teased Ippo about him and the female doctor with Kimura and Takamura.
Aoki later watched videos of Sendō fighting, which would sometimes cut to adult scenes thanks to Takamura. Two days before Ippo's match against Sendō, Aoki arrived to the Ishino Boxing Gym in Osaka along with the rest of the Kamogawa gym. Aoki watched as Ippo sparred with lightweight class Komori, which ended early due to Ippo being unable to hit with his right. When Takamura gave Ippo advice, Aoki downplayed it, causing him to take a punch to the face by Takamura. Aoki wanted to apologise to Takamura until he found an adult magazine that Takamura bookmarked where a female in Osaka wanted the reader to call her. When the day of the match arrived, Aoki went to the Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium and watched Ippo fight Sendō, where Ippo would later win, becoming the Rookie King. Aoki attended Ippo's celebration party at the Plum Village, which ended early due to Takamura knocking out Kamogawa.
The Kamogawa gym had a promotional event coming up starring Aoki, Kimura, and Takamura having a match on the same day at the Kōrakuen Hall. Because of this, a big group of newcomers joined the gym. This caused Takamura to test them by making them partake in the roadwork the gym members do, which Aoki also partook. At the end, only one remained in the end, Yamada Naomichi, later nicknamed "Geromichi" due to him throwing up on Ippo after the roadwork and also was a fan of Ippo, discovered when Aoki looked in his wallet. Aoki and Kimura then sparred each other to prepare for their upcoming match. When Aoki's match against the fifth ranker in the Philippines, Arman Garcia began, Aoki defeated him by knockout in the seventh round. Now ranked fifth, Aoki became excited about the feeling of a chance at the champion belt if he defeats four more fighters. One month later, Aoki watched Ippo's match against the fifth ranker in the JBC, Okita Keigo, which ended in Ippo winning.
Due to a new boxing boom, a television station visited the Kamogawa gym in order to capture how the youth put their hopes in boxing. The interviewer was the idol, Kumiko Morita. After the event, the television crew left the gym. When the event got shown on television where Aoki and the others got interviewed, Aoki noticed that Ippo sent a challenge to the champion Date over a national broadcast. He also witnessed seeing the interview at the Otowa Boxing Gym where Russian boxer Alexander Volg Zangief claimed to want Date's belt. When Yamada left the gym for his Pro Test, Aoki went along with him to the Kōrakuen Hall. When Yamada won the Pro Test match, Aoki, Kimura, and Takamura "lectured" two people that were making comments about Yamada while he was fighting.
When Aoki came back to the gym, Kamogawa and Yagi announced the entry list for the Class A Tournament where there were eight people signed up in his lightweight class. Takamura then invited Aoki to go to the annual training camp to prepare for the tournament. At the training camp, due to Ippo's mother's illness, Ippo could not go to the training camp nor has he visited the gym in a week, making Aoki and the others to speculate that Ippo may be retiring. When Aoki and the others returned to the gym, they were surprised to see Ippo there and that he was not retiring. While Ippo was training to go against Saeki Takuma, he planned to use his legs, however, Aoki believed that the rhythm Ippo chose was not going to work.
On the day of the first round of the Class A Tournament, Aoki had his match against Bull Ushida. On the sixth round, Aoki decided to use his new technique that he wanted to save for the finals, the Frog Punch on Bull, causing Bull to get knocked out and Aoki winning the match. With Aoki, Kimura, and Ippo having won their matches, they went to the Gaiant Echo karaoke with Takamura to celebrate. There, Takamura decided to sing the song "Champion". Aoki was shocked when he saw Hayami in the video as the song played. Aoki then joined to sing the song with Takamura and the others.
After leaving the karaoke, Aoki went to Takamura's home with Ippo and Kimura, where Takamura revealed that Yamada would be moving away from Tokyo in two days. A farewell party customary of the gym for retiring boxers was then planned for Yamada. The next day, Aoki went to the basement of the Kamogawa gym for the farewell party along with Ippo, Takamura, and Kimura. When Yamada arrived to the basement, Aoki, Kimura, Ippo, and Takamura fought him in a spar. After the farewell party, Aoki saw Yamada as he left the gym to leave Tokyo. Later on while training, Aoki and Kimura realised just how close Ippo was to surpass them, which motivated them to keep on training to obtain the JBC titles as well. The next day at the gym, Ippo, wanting to do something other than encouraging the duo, sparred with them while mimicking their upcoming opponents fighting style.
When the day of the Class A Tournament semi-finals arrived, Aoki's match against Jackal Itō began. Aoki lead the match in points up to round four. Noticing how he has not widened his point lead, he attempted to finish it with his Frog Punch, but it got countered, sending him to the canvas. After getting up, Aoki did the Frog Punch again, but this time he turned it into a feint and knocked down Jackal with a hook. Eventually, Aoki was hit by a right hook that passed his guard, knocking him down. With Aoki's legs unable to let him get up, he lost the match, losing the tournament. After the match, Aoki and Kimura were visited by Ippo and Takamura in the locker room. Aoki and Kimura acted as if the lost did not bother them before encouraging Ippo to win as they leave. Later that night, despite their act, Aoki and Kimura were upset about the way their matches went, and spent the night reflecting on the events.
Aoki, Takamura, and Kimura visited Ippo at the Swimming Club where they found him doing squats in the water. Aoki and Kimura attempted the training, but were unable to keep up with the resistance from the water after a few minutes. They were surprised that Ippo had been doing it for a week, blindly trusting Kamogawa without knowing what the actual move was. Aoki then saw the technique that Ippo was training for called the Gazelle Punch. As Aoki witnessed Ippo going through the harsh stamina training sessions set by Kamogawa and showing signs of being overworked, he warned Ippo that boxers can not show their full strength if overworked. Later, Aoki requested for Ippo to succeed in the Class A Tournament where he failed. Aoki later attended Ippo's match against Volg, where Ippo would later win.
Aoki, along with Kimura and Takamura checked on Ippo at the Kawai Hospital. After greeting him as he just woke up, they proceed to take his urine, as they had done for the past three days until Ippo runs out the hospital room in fear. When nurse Reiko left, Aoki, Kimura, and Takamura ask her about the group date they had set, and became excited when she confirmed that she gathered three other women for the date. When Ippo got out of the hospital, he was invited to the group date with Aoki, Kimura, and Takamura. The four boxers then had a bowling competition where the first place winner would be able to pick first for the woman they wanted to go out with. Aoki won first place in the end and picked Tomiko. Aoki's date with Tomiko proved to be successful, as Tomiko stayed with Aoki through the night and answered the phone when the Kamogawa gym tried to call him to make fun of him if his date rejected him. Aoki later attended a training camp with the others at the Izu for his upcoming match.
For Takamura's Champion Carnival title defence against Tamaki Atsushi, Aoki cheered for him, where Takamura would later win. Later, Aoki brought Tomiko to the Kamogawa gym so she could meet the place where he trains. Aoki then had Tomiko use tarot cards to see how Ippo's match against Date would go. The fortune telling session then ended before the result came up due to Kamogawa interrupted it and kicked them out. Aoki then watched Ippo's match against Date, which ended in Ippo's first loss. After the match, Aoki and Kimura asked Takamura to consider Ippo's feelings on his first loss, instead of rubbing it in. When Takamura met Ippo, he congratulated him, surprising everyone. But immediately after, used their reactions as an excuse to humiliate Ippo, and Kamogawa kicked him out of the room.
A week after Ippo had not come to the gym so that his injuries could heal, Aoki and Kimura felt like the environment around the gym changed as it felt like they were compelled to work while he is there. That night, when Aoki, Takamura, and Kimura walked to Takamura's house and noticed Ippo still watching the video of his loss against Date, Takamura decided that they should kill some time at a game centre, not wanting to go to the "haunted room". Later, when Ippo came back to the gym, he heard from Fujii that, due to Volg's second loss in a row, the Otowa gym was cutting ties with Volg, with him getting sent back to Russia the same day. Aoki remembered a worse story where a southeast Asian boxer lost and was sent home the same night on a cargo ship. With Ippo disappointed by the event, Takamura handed Ippo money which came from Aoki's wallet for a taxi to the Narita Terminal 1, making Aoki angry.
Later, Aoki and Kimura informed to Ippo that Yagi flew back to Japan after getting three opponents for the trio's comeback matches. Takamura then wondered who was going to be the main event, with Ippo wanting to let Aoki or Kimura be the main event, the two began arguing over it. Takamura then decided to settle the match order by drawing straws. After the three drew straws, Aoki was decided to be the main event. Aoki excitedly called Tomiko about it, however, as she told everyone at the hospital about it, Kamogawa entered the gym and revealed the actual order being Aoki as the opener and Ippo as the main event.
Aoki later entered the gym after telling Tomiko that he was in fact not the main event. Aoki then revealed the frog-themed robe that she made for him. Aoki ran off laughing when everyone lied and said that it looked good on him. Later, while Ippo partook in Kamogawa's mitt training session, Kamogawa collapsed to the mat when he caught one of Ippo's punches with his mitt. Aoki went to the Kawai Hospital, where Kamogawa was taken. The doctor informed everyone that he fell because of overwork and to let him rest for two to three days. On the second day, Aoki warned Ippo that with Kamogawa away from the gym, Takamura may prank them. Takamura began his pranking by telling Aoki about who won in a wrestling match, performing a jumping DDT on Aoki and kicking his face. When Kamogawa came back to the gym after being released from the hospital, Aoki was overjoyed as Takamura was unable to continue his antics.
When the day of his comeback match arrived, Aoki got into the ring with his new frog-themed robe. The match against Snake Thomas then began. Aoki went through the match with the feeling of having Tomiko to protect, driving him to win easily by knockout. Aoki then watched Kimura's and then Ippo's matches where they both won.
Aoki was visited by Ippo and Takamura where they found an album with pictures of Aoki and Kimura during their delinquent days. Aoki, Ippo, and Takamura then head to Kimura's home where they were informed by his mother that he has a fever. When they entered Kimura's room, Aoki told him that he believed that it was not a bad thing to try his best for a woman when the depressed Kimura expressed his beliefs that boxers don't need women. When Ippo made Kimura's fish faint by feeding her his aspirin, Kimura screamed her name as "Reiko", making Aoki realise that Kimura was not over Reiko. Ippo then pointed out that Aoki and Kimura looked like they got along well in their delinquent photos, wanting to know details about their past. Aoki and Kimura then told Ippo their past as delinquents up to when they won their debut matches. After telling Ippo their story, Takamura teased the two by offering them to hit him, causing Aoki and Kimura to retaliate and hit Ippo for starting it.
When Aoki learned that the Naniwa Boxing Commission agreed to let Ippo fight Sendō two months after Sendō's second title defence, Aoki suspected that they were underestimating Ippo. Kamogawa then announced a training camp for the gym, making Aoki excited as Kamogawa warned that it will be hard. When it was time to leave for the training camp, Aoki and the others got ready for the beach. However, Aoki was disheartened to learn that the gym would be going to the mountains where Kamogawa's friend is letting him use his pension. Upon arrival to the Pension Yoshio, Kamogawa's friend and rival, Nekota Ginpachi greeted everyone, knowing Ippo and Takamura while mistaking Aoki and Kimura as non-Japanese boxers. Shinoda Tomoyuki then took Aoki, Kimura, and Ippo to do roadwork in the woods after Nekota warned them of bears. As Aoki underestimated how hard it was to run in the woods, everyone noticed a bear behind them, resulting in Aoki and the others to run back to the house in fear. When Aoki mentioned running into a bear, Nekota offered something to keep bears away the next day.
The next day, Aoki wore a bell as a bear repellent and did roadwork with Ippo, Kimura, and Takamura. As Aoki, Kimura, and Ippo believe the bell to be keeping the bears away, Ippo was attacked by a bear, causing Aoki and Kimura to rush back to the house to inform the others. However, as they explain what happened, Ippo ran out of the woods with the "bear", which was actually Nekota's dog Hachi. Kamogawa announced to everyone that they would be staying at the pension for a week and had Shinoda train Aoki and Kimura. The duo began their training exercises, with their main exercise being doing squats in the river. When Aoki was done with his training and went back to the house, Ippo told him that he heard of a way of punching without punching, which Aoki thought was hard to believe. Later, Aoki listened as Kamogawa explained to everyone about Sakki, a feint with soul, and showed them pictures of him and Nekota in their boxing days. When Takamura decided to show Ippo the Sakki in a spar, Aoki claimed to have figured the Sakki out. When he tried it against Takamura in the ring, he got into the Frog Punch position and asked if Takamura could see him jumping as he stayed still. Takamura then kicked Aoki for joking around. Aoki then continued training for the day.
On the final day of the training camp, Aoki continued to train by doing squats in the river. That night, as Takamura had not come back yet, Ippo wondered if Takamura could defeat a bear if he ran into one, however Aoki deemed it impossible. When an injured Takamura returned and claimed to had knocked out a bear, Aoki and the others did not believe him. Aoki's thoughts changed however when Nekota brought out bear nabe and Takamura began crying when the bear that Nekota killed matched the description of the bear Takamura knocked out and let live. The next morning, with the Kamogawa gym members about to leave to go back to Tokyo, Aoki said his goodbyes to Nekota. When Aoki returned to the gym and a boxer named Shigeta Akira requested to spar against Ippo, Aoki watched and tried to give tips to Ippo as he fought a Southpaw in the past, but he lost in a short amount of time so he couldn't help. Later at the gym, Fujii accidentally revealed that Takamura would be having a world match, shocking Aoki, who then listened as Kamogawa explained that it would be a junior middleweight world ranked match that, if Takamura were to win, he would be a contender to the world title.
Fujii then introduced Aoki and Kimura to sports writer Iimura Mari. Aoki was quickly irritated when she asked for him to act naturally and to not give her special treatment because of her gender. After learning that she shows little to no interest in Japanese boxers, deeming the champions as 4-6 rounders, Aoki asked if she would consider Takamura the same league, which she then admits that he was an exception. When Fujii and Mari left the gym, Aoki and Kimura were shocked that a woman came into the gym and Takamura ignored her, deducing that it was about the world match announcement. Later while Aoki, Kimura, Ippo, and Takamura were doing roadwork, Aoki and Kimura hoped for knockouts for their matches. Takamura claimed that when his match begins, everyone will forget about everything that happened, making the duo irritated.
When the day of the matches arrived, Aoki went to the ring after Kimura won. Aoki fought against Boy Allade. In the third round, Aoki and Boy get into a close ranged hitting match until the towel was thrown, resulting in Aoki's win. Aoki then watched Takamura's match with Tomiko. Aoki was surprised when he saw Takamura entering the ring with bear skin on. After Takamura won the match, Aoki celebrated with everyone at the Sugar Ray. Later, Aoki returned to the gym and discovered that Nekota stayed at the gym and began teaching others. Eventually, Nekota left by a delivery truck service back to the mountains, with Aoki saying his farewells.
A month and a half before Ippo's title match against Sendō, Ippo was instructed by Kamogawa to go to five different gyms to fight five boxers from different weight classes for five days. Aoki agreed to drive Ippo to the gyms with a car lent from Yagi. On the fifth day and after Ippo knocked out the fifth boxer, Aoki and Ippo went back to the Kamogawa gym where Ippo wanted to spar against Aoki. Aoki remained standing after the spar ended, stopping Ippo's fifth knockout streak. When the match poster for the match was put on the gym's windows, Aoki expressed how would be satisied with just one title match, then got angered when Takamura acted like he did not know Aoki and Kimura did not have title matches in the five years they had been boxing. On the day of ippo's title match, Aoki went to the Kōrakuen Hall to watch the match. While getting to the seating area, Mashiba bumped into Kimura. While a fight between the two was about to start, Aoki held Kimura back while Kumi held Mashiba back. Kimura then thanked Aoki for saving him from getting beaten up. Aoki then watched the title match, and during round two, he began stomping his feet with the audience, cheering for Ippo. After Ippo won the match on the seventh round and became the JBC featherweight champion, Aoki, Takamura, and Kimura took Ippo to his home. A few days later, Aoki went to the Sugar Ray for Ippo's celebration and birthday party.
At the Kamogawa gym, Kamogawa revealed for the annual Champion Carnival, Kimura would be fighting the JBC junior lightweight champion Mashiba. Aoki was ready to help Kimura by sparring with him, however Kimura left the gym to seek help from someone he claimed to know would be able to help him. At the Chūka Soba, Aoki met Kimura, who he had not seen for a while since he left the Kamogawa gym. After a short friendly argument, Kimura left. After Ippo received tapes of Mashiba's spars from Mari, Aoki requested to deliver the tapes himself. Aoki met up with Miyata to have him deliver the videos. Aoki then asked if Kimura can win, however Miyata could not answer. Aoki mentioned how he saw when Kimura came by at his shop that Kimura was thinking about retirement as Kimura and him are twenty-three years old, ageing fast in their profession, and lost many chances for a title. Aoki then did a Dogeza, pleading for Miyata to help Kimura have a match he will not regret. After two and a half weeks of Kimura's absence from the Kamogawa gym, Aoki, Ippo, and Takamura went to the Kawahara gym to observe Kimura's spar against Miyata. After witnessing Kimura using an in-fighter's way of boxing, Aoki, Ippo, and Takamura discussed how impressive picking up a new fighting style in a short span of time is, however, Takamura believed that Kimura will soon realise something and have a desperate shock while trying to go through with his plan.
At Takamura's home, Takamura told Aoki and Ippo that Kimura has nothing and even if he comes up with an in-fighter strategy, it won't work as Mashiba is experienced in fighting in-fighters. Aoki and Ippo decide to tell Kimura this, however, they could not bring themselves to interrupt Kimura as they witnessed Kimura in a park practising by punching on a tire. After three hours of practising, Kimura leaves and then a group of people see the tire he was punching and began to mess with it until they were confronted by Aoki. The group became angry at the two for Aoki's threat if they don't stop messing with Kimura's tire and began attacking the two. Ippo told Aoki not to fight back as they are pro boxers. After they got beat up, Ippo embarrassed Aoki by noting how close he is to Kimura by stepping in to stop them. Aoki then expressed how thankful he is to Kimura as when they joined the gym, Kimura chose to take the harder path himself and be a junior lightweight, letting Aoki take the easy path of being on his own weight class in order to not get in each other's way. Aoki knew that when they train the same amount, Kimura suffered the most and that when he loses the pain is also worse, but Aoki agreed that winning must be better, especially a title match.
When Kimura had not come to the Kamogawa nor the Kawahara gym, Takamura believed that Kimura ran away cowardly asking Aoki and Ippo for proof that he didn't run away. Aoki and Ippo went back to Hara Park to see for themselves. There, they noticed that the tire is on the ground with marks on two different spots with one that was not there when they last checked. With the match poster up, Kimura returned to the Kamogawa gym and revealed that he has a new technique called the "Dragonfish Blow", he sparred with Aoki to show everyone at the gym. When Aoki missed an attack, Kimura stepped in and landed a left body blow on Aoki's block. Aoki was then knocked down by an unsuspecting right overhand while his attention was on Kimura's left.
When the day of Kimura's title match arrived, Aoki and everyone else went into Kimura's room, where Kimura informed everyone that if he loses, he would retire. Aoki told him that he got permission by Yagi to be his cornerman. When Aoki arrived to the ringside as Kimura's cornerman, Aoki got disturbed by Mashiba's eyes. When the match began, Aoki instructed to hit Mashiba first to take the pace. When Kimura had a dangerous fall in the ninth round, Shinoda attempted to throw the towel, however, he was stopped by Aoki, who pleaded to let Kimura end the match rather than a towel. Shinoda began to throw it again despite Aoki's argument but stopped when he witnessed Kimura, who, despite everyone predicting the opposite, was able to stand up again. The match then quickly ended when the referee noticed Kimura being unconscious while beginning to throw a punch, saving him from Mashiba's attack. With the match over ending with Kimura's lost, Aoki cried as he looked at Kimura and realises that he is still fighting in his head. While reporters were talking to Kimura, Aoki listened as Kimura told them that he has retired. At the Kamogawa gym, Aoki, like his other gym mates, were saddened by Kimura's retirement. When Wanpo went outside the gym and barked, Aoki and the others went outside and saw Kimura. Kimura then announced that he would come back by changing his given name from kanji to katakana.
With Ippo's first title defence for the Champion Carnival being Sanada Kazuki, Ippo learned that Sanada's special techniques were called "Hien" and "Tsubame Gaeshi". After learning what the Hien is, Kimura showed it to Ippo. After witnessing the Hien, Aoki theorised that the Hien could be used by twisting the user's wrists to to change the course when an opponent dashes into them. Later at the gym, Aoki, Takamura, and Kimura learned that Sanada is a heir to an important hospital, and a man popular with the nurses who will be cheering for him. After that, they discussed how if Ippo loses, he may lose his belt as well as Kumi, due to her going for the doctor, to which he replied that they are not even dating. Upset about Ippo's submissive attitude, Takamura told him to confess his feelings for her. With no options left, Ippo agreed, but on one condition: Ippo must beat Aoki, Kimura and Gotō (given the fact that Takamura is heavier) in arm wrestling, if he loses he has to confess. After Kimura quickly lost to Ippo, Aoki began his attempt against Ippo, however, Aoki also quickly lost, with his shoulder becoming dislocated. Takamura knocked out Gotō so that he could become Ippo's third opponent. Ippo lost in the end, resulting in Ippo being forced to call Kumi, who answered and agreed to go out with him. Aoki then went to Takamura's home to hear the tape recorder which was given to Ippo to record the confession. After hearing it, Aoki and Kimura walked an emotionless Ippo home as they believed that Kumi broke up with him after listening to the record.
The next day, Aoki and Kimura told Ippo, who was hitting a sandbag, if he used that energy to seduce Kumi, resulting them in getting hit by Takamura, who scolded them as he claimed that Ippo lost the one thing he held dear and only has boxing now. Later, Aoki watched Ippo's title defence against Sanada, which resulted in Ippo's victory. After the match, Ippo went asleep and began snoring immediately in his changing room, making everyone worried. When Sanada checked on him, he concluded that Ippo was fine, relieving everyone.
At the Kamogawa gym, Aoki informed Ippo, who wanted to know of Takamura and Kimura's whereabouts, that Takamura was training for his world contender match and that Kimura was sparring against Miyata for his OPBF featherweight title match against Arnie Gregory, predicting that Kimura would have a hard time against Miyata. His prediction proved to be wrong when Kimura returned with barely any marks on his face. When Fujii told the Kamogawa gym members details from Gregory's public spar session and about the "Bloody Cross" from his manager, Mr. Sakaguchi, Aoki predicted that the Bloody Cross is a Cross Counter so strong that it will rain blood. However, Fujii discredited his theory due to his research that Gregory was not a counter-type. Later, Aoki went to the Kōrakuen Hall and watched as Miyata fought the OPBF champion, Gregory. The match ended in Miyata's victory, becoming the OPBF featherweight champion.
When Date was to fight the WBA featherweight champion Ricardo Martinez, Aoki recognised Ricardo as Mexico's hero and was worried about Date. When the day of the match arrived, Aoki went to the Ryōgoku Kokugikan and watched the semifinals where Okita won his match and the main event of Ricardo's 18th WBA featherweight title defence against Date. The match ended in Ricardo's victory and Date was sent to the hospital in a stretcher. At the Kamogawa gym, Aoki read the magazine covering the match, surprised about the amount of injuries Date sustained, wondering if he could recover. Aoki was then relieved to hear from Fujii that Date had no brain damage from the match.
After learning about Date's baton pass to Ippo, Aoki later went to the Kamogawa gym and When the new gym member Itagaki Manabu arrived, he immediately clashed with Aoki and Kimura who were upset about Itagaki's arrogance of not knowing the two. Yagi then introduced Itagaki as an elite amateur ranked second. Itagaki then revealed his reason for joining, which was because he respected the champion of his own division; Ippo, who he viewed as a senpai.
As a customary of the gym, the gym members took Itagaki on their usual roadwork. To their surprise, Itagaki surpassed Aoki and Kimura while struggling to catch up to Ippo. After looking at Itagaki running behind Ippo, Aoki was reminded of Yamada Naomichi. When the group returned, Kamogawa and Yagi showed footage of Ippo's second JBC featherweight title defence opponent, Hammer Nao. Aoki and the others were shocked when they realised that Hammer Nao was Yamada, who has a different appearance. Aoki then dreaded the thought of being the semifinal for two of his kōhai.
Later, after learning that Yamada had arrived to Tokyo from Mari, Aoki and Kimura went to the Nerima Boxing Club and witnessed him defeating three sparring partners with body blows that made them throw up. When Yamada went outside, Aoki and Kimura greeted him. With a cold attitude, Yamada asked if they are there to gather information, to which the duo replied that they only wanted to wish him good luck. Aoki and Kimura continued their attempt to have a lighthearted conversation with their former kōhai, however, Yamada only provoked them with taunts and requested for them to inform Ippo that he will be seriously coming for his belt. Aoki later sparred with Ippo during his training against Yamada.
On the day of the match at the Kōrakuen Hall, the semifinals began with the 5th ranked in the JBC Aoki, who boasted how he is an underdog hunter, having to fight against the Philippines 10th ranker Paddy Magramo. Aoki and Paddy both scored downs and the match ended in a decision win for Aoki after ten rounds. Aoki then watched Ippo's title defence against Yamada, which ended in Ippo's victory.
Aoki arrived with Tomiko and Kumi at Ippo's home to invite him to the beach, which Ippo agreed to after seeing Kumi. When they arrived, they ran into Takamura, Kimura, Itagaki, who were training, along with Nekota and Hachi. Later, Aoki revealed to Ippo that he set up a room for him and Kumi, wanting to advance their "just friends" relationship. That night, Aoki went with Tomiko to the beach, where he began to grope Tomiko. When fireworks bloomed in the sky, He was shocked and furious to find out that Takamura was also groping Tomiko. He then ran back to the hotel with Tomiko.
The next day, Aoki misinterpreted Ippo's joy, wanting him to return the favour by helping him get revenge on Takamura by having him catch a sea slater to put in a okonomiyaki. They then went to the building being used for the training camp, where they witnessed Kimura and Itagaki sparring. When Takamura noticed Aoki, Takamura attempted to make up with him with "praise", but it just made him more angry. Aoki proceeded with his revenge plan by making Takamura eat the okonomiyaki. Takamura suspected Aoki's "thoughtful" gift, and ended up splitting it in half and forcing Aoki to eat one half while Takamura ate the other half. Neither could tell who ate the half with the sea slater in it due to the sauce. When Ippo and Itagaki began sparring, Aoki was Ippo's cornerman, while angered at Takamura for his attitude while being Itagaki's cornerman. Then, Nekota stopped by with fireworks to use at night, with Aoki later going to the beach that night with everyone but Takamura, who decided not to go.
On the beach, with everyone enjoying fireworks and sparklers, the group noticed Takamura, who claimed would just go back, as he would just get in the way. After Ippo and Itagaki's sweet talk and everyone cheering for him, Takamura finally joined the party. After watching fireworks, Aoki looked up at the stars, setting his goal to get the JBC title. Takamura's fireworks that he set earlier for revenge start going off toward the group as they ran away.
When Aoki returned to the Kamogawa gym, he watched as Ippo sparred against Imai Kyōsuke, who gave him a hard time. It then turned out once Itagaki entered the gym that Imai was Itagaki's high school rival. Itagaki then explained his history with Imai to his gym mates. That night, Takamura's WBC junior middleweight title match was announced. Hearing the news, Ippo arrived to the Chūka Soba and was surprised to see everyone so down. It was then explained that the champion's manager scheduled the match for December, knowing that Takamura would not have a chance to recover in his match in October. At the Kamogawa gym, Aoki became depressed after hearing how everyone at the gym but him have a match coming up. When Fujii entered the gym to give details about the champion Bryan Hawk, Aoki was angered to hear that Hawk was looking down on Japanese boxers. Aoki arrived to the Kōrakuen Hall to watch Itagaki, Kimura, and Takamura's matches, where Itagaki lost and Kimura and Takamura won.
In Takamura's changing room, Hawk arrived to see Takamura. Hawk's visit eventually led Takamura to rush toward him in anger. Aoki, Ippo, and Kimura attempted to hold him back, however, they were overpowered and the punch lands on Hawk's opened hand, Hawk then left after claiming it was a handshake. Later, after being shown tapes of Hawk having two ring out victories, Aoki and Kimura got into an argument as to who would win between Takamura and Hawk until they were stopped by Ippo, who told them to believe in Takamura, reminded them that meeting Takamura was like meeting boxing itself. The three then decide to meet Takamura to ask him why he began boxing. When they arrive at his home, they instead meet Takamura's sister, Kyōka and little brother, Wataru. They were then informed from Kyōka and Wataru of Takamura's status with the family and his past.
The next day, Aoki offered to help Takamura by looking like Hawk due to having similar eyebrows. Takamura attempted to trim Aoki's eyebrows for Hawk's look, however, he ended up shaving them all off, making Aoki angry. Kamogawa used a marker as a solution, which made the others laugh at his "manly eyebrows". Ippo, Aoki, and Kimura then began their roadwork with Takamura and asked him why he started boxing. Takamura answered that he did it to prove that he is the best. Itagaki then approached them to join their training after his absence. Later, Aoki acted as a sparring partner for Ippo for his third JBC title defence. Aoki and the others became worried about Takamura's weight management and bought him bags of dried shiitake for him. After Takamura's harsh weight management, Aoki attended the press conference, where he, Ippo, Kimura, and Itagaki were tasked to be on standby to stop Takamura in case the conference does not go well. When Takamura was struck in the jaw during a pose for a picture, Takamura began to rush toward Hawk. Aoki and the others hold him back, however, Kamogawa was the one to act as he grabbed Hawk by his collar in anger. Hawk then smacked Kamogawa in the face, causing Takamura to freeze in anger, however it ended without anyone getting hurt.
On the day of Ippo and Takamura's match, Aoki visited Takamura and told him to beat Hawk as hard as he can before leaving to watch the match. Aoki then watched as Takamura won and became the world champion. The next week, a large package arrived at the Kamogawa gym containing a bronze bust statue of Takamura, which Takamura ordered before the world title match started. Aoki tried to move it, however, the statue's arm that Aoki was grabbing it from, broke off, causing Aoki to panic. Takamura then arrived at the gym as Aoki holds the broken arm in place. Takamura expressed his glee for the statue's arrival and showed everyone 300 mini bronze statues of himself that he planned to sell at high price, and even his gym mates can not have for free. As Aoki tried to talk Takmura into lowering the price, Takamura noticed that Aoki is holding the statue's arm that broke off. Aoki panicked, however, Takamura felt no need to get angry, instead as a price, he has Aoki go around Japan to sell the mini bronze statues for a higher price than it originally was.
In Shinjuku, Aoki was overjoyed when he was approached by Ippo. Ippo then mentioned to Aoki that the reason Takamura was acting out is because Kamogawa is not at the gym, suggesting to go to Kamogawa at Nekota's place. Ippo and Aoki went through a snow storm to get to the Pension Yoshio to tell Kamogawa to come back to the gym.
When Ippo and Aoki arrived to the Pension Yoshio to request for Kamogawa to come back to the gym due to Takamura's actions against Aoki and using his fight money to purchase statues of himself, Kamogawa decided to instead leave Takamura alone. When Ippo and Aoki asked about a picture of a woman, Kamogawa and Nekota decided to tell Ippo and Aoki of their past as prize-fighters and relations with the woman. Afterwards, Ippo, Aoki, and Kamogawa left to go back to the gym.
Aoki attended Itagaki's second match at the Kōrakuen Hall where Itagaki had his first victory in his career against Baraki Haseo. Later, Kamogawa and Yagi announced the upcoming matches for the gym members in early spring. One of the matches were Aoki's JBC lightweight title match in the Champion Carnival, much to the gym members shock. Yagi explained that Aoki's ranking went from fifth to first after something happen to rankers first to fourth. Aoki then got fired up and began training for his national title match. Later, Kamogawa and Yagi showed a recording of Ippo's fourth JBC featherweight title defence opponent, Shimabukuro Iwao, and the gym members realise that he is shorter than and same type of in-fighter as Ippo. After they discussed about Shimabukuro, Aoki watched the recording of the JBC lightweight champion's match with Takamura, who, after watching, claimed that Aoki lost. After Ippo completed his intense training menu, Aoki sparred against him and was able to land punches on the exhausted Ippo. When Ippo was told to not come back to the gym or train for a week due to his worn out muscles and that he could soak in the pool if he had to do something, Aoki had Kumi watch over him at the pool.
On the day of Ippo's match against Shimabukuro, Aoki arrived to the Kōrakuen Hall with Itagaki, Kimura, and Takamura. They discussed how Ippo accidentally fully undressed himself at the weigh-in. Aoki then watched Ippo fight Shimabukuro, which ended in Ippo's victory. In the changing room after the match, Aoki learned how Ippo used his "ultimate punch" that led to the Dempsey Roll after Ippo became relaxed in the ring.
While Aoki was doing his weight management for his upcoming JBC lightweight title match against Katsutaka Imae, he went from underweight to overweight before returning to his usual weight class. Aoki asked Ippo and Takamura how it felt when they first held their champion belts. After hearing their answers, Aoki realised he had never sat on the king's throne or felt as accomplished before, making Aoki want the belt to have those feelings. While working at the Chūka Soba, Aoki's customers revealed that they would come to cheer for him and mentioned how exciting it must be to be in the same gym as Ippo and Takamura. That made Aoki wish that he could catch up to them, not for fame but so that he can leave a mark on history and to be something in a world he loves. He then met Kimura outside and was invited to ride on his motorcycle for old times sake. Afterwards, Aoki talked to Kimura about the difference between them and Ippo and Takamura, and requested for Kimura to call him "sir" if he becomes champion, which made Kimura angry.
On a newspaper article, a headline had Imae claim that he would "crush the frog". Thinking that Aoki may not be able to use his Frog Punch, the gym members try to help Aoki learn a technique he can mix with the Frog Punch. However, when Takamura mentioned he wanted to make Aoki more entertaining, Aoki ran away as he thought he was being made fun of. At his home, Tomiko noticed Aoki looking down. Aoki expressed how he knows that his gym mates are worried about him and that he believes that it will be hard for him to win. He then came up with an idea for a new technique after noticing how others look away to see what he is looking at when he turns his head to look at something.
On the day of his weigh-in, he met Imae, who was angered that Aoki was seemingly not taking the match seriously. After both pass the weight check, they are asked to shake hands. Imae refused, claiming that he does not respect nor consider Aoki a boxer and would destroy his Frog Punch. Aoki then revealed to Imae that he has a present for him: a new technique that attacks his instincts and impossible to defend. Aoki then mentioned that he would prove Imae that he isn't just a clown and that he did his research. Imae replied that if Aoki is a researcher, then he is a hard worker. At his home, Tomiko made dinner for Aoki to regain his strength and Aoki explained to her about Imae and how he is afraid of the champion, however, he became encouraged by the presence of Tomiko.
The next day, Aoki arrived to the Kōrakuen Hall for his title match against Imae. While waiting for their match, Aoki and Imae encountered each other while going to the bathroom. Imae talked down to Aoki for fooling around with a woman while he broke up with his woman to concentrate on boxing and claimed that he will show Aoki the strength of a serious boxer. Aoki then told Imae that he threw away his goddess of victory and that he will show him the strength of a man with someone to look over them. When their match arrived, Aoki and Imae went into the ring to begin their match.
The match began, and after a minute of no punches being thrown in the first round, Aoki made the first move. However, Imae predicted Aoki's weird movements and was able to keep his pace. Aoki realised that Imae uses a strong right straight after some weak left jabs and correctly predicted a right straight coming. Aoki dodged the straight by ducking down and coming back up with a Frog Punch. The attack left a visible scar on Imae's face after it grazed him. Aoki then used unorthodox movements to dodge and attack Imae. When Aoki stopped, Imae attempted to hit Aoki, but Aoki dodged and launched a Frog Punch. Imae countered the Frog Punch, making Aoki go down. Aoki got up and immediately went down again after Imae hit him. When Aoki got back up and visibly hurt, Imae became confident and went all out on attacking Aoki, who only blocked until the end of the first round. As the second round began, Imae continued to attack Aoki's guard until the end of the fourth round, unknowingly following Aoki's plan of wasting his stamina, and angered ti discover that he was fooled.
In the fifth round, Aoki switched to out-boxing, hitting and running from the now tired Imae. Aoki hit Imae when he tried to rest, and Imae was saved by the bell for the end of the fifth round. When the six round began, Aoki, after knocking Imae's jab away, stepped back and stops. Aoki turned his head to look away from Imae, who also looked away to see what Aoki was looking at. With Imae looking away, Aoki used his Frog Punch, knocking him down. When Imae got up, Aoki got caught in a clinch until he broke out with an uppercut. Aoki proceeded to look away again and knocked Imae down with a Frog Punch. Since one of Imae's hands blocked the punch, minimising the damage, he got up. Before either were able to do anything, the sixth round ends.
In round seven, when Aoki used his Look Away, he did not know that Imae did not look away when he launched his Frog Punch. Aoki missed his Frog Punch as he leapt into the air and was then hit in the air and almost fell before catching himself. Aoki and Imae proceeded to have a punching match until the end of the final tenth round. The tenth round ended with both down on the canvas. With the match over, it came down to a decision. The score ended in a draw, resulting in Aoki not getting the belt. With the match over, Aoki met Imae outside the Kōrakuen Hall with his goddess of victory, realising that it was the reason he was doing well at the end. Aoki then went home with Tomiko and told her that he felt he could become the champion the next time he tries.
After being away from the Kamogawa gym for a week, Aoki returned, and introduced to his gym mates the two that forced him not to retire after losing to Imae: Akamatsu Isamu and Kizakura Hiroshi, who were inspired by Aoki's match against Imae and only follows Aoki's orders. When Aoki wondered where Ippo went, and Itagaki and Kimura informed him that he went to Osaka, Aoki figured Ippo went there to watch Sendō's come-back match. Later, Aoki attended Takamura's press conference with his first WBC junior middleweight title defence opponent, Larry Bernard, where he announced his relinquishment of his junior middleweight belt to move on with his six weight class conquest up to the heavyweight class while vowing to not take a single hit against Bernard to prove he's ready. The next day, Aoki went to the Ryōgoku Kokugikan to watch the match and was shocked to see Takamura use a full body variant of his Look Away, which caused him to get hit and break his no-hit promise. After Takamura won, Aoki was yelled at by Takamura, who blamed him for getting hit.
Later, since Ippo needed help reviewing his fifth JBC featherweight title defence opponent, Sawamura Ryūhei, Aoki was one of the gym members to be called to Takamura's home to try and help Ippo. The event ended when Takamura got angry due to the large number of people in his room. Knowing the Dempsey Roll is weak to counters, Aoki suggested to Kimura and Itagaki that Sawamura may not have the guts to counter it as he never encountered a Dempsey Roll before. When Itagaki learned the mystery to the cause of anxiety when going against the Dempsey Roll, he told Aoki and Kimura that it causes anxiety due to Ippo coming from the opponent's blind spots to attack.
While the group decided to have Kimura counter the Dempsey Roll with the newfound knowledge, they saw Volg at the gym and decided to ask him. While Volg was reluctant at first, he decided to spar against Ippo. Aoki watched as Volg successfully pulled off a Dempsey Roll counter, knocking Ippo out. When Ippo's match against Sawamura arrived, Aoki went to the Kōrakuen Hall to watch the match, which ended in Ippo's victory. After the match, Aoki was relieved to hear from Yamaguchi Tomoko that Ippo did not have any career ending injuries. Aoki expressed to Ippo how he found it funny the way Sawamura fell made it look like he was kneeling like he was caught for a major crime.
When umezawa was thinking of retiring from the Makunouchi Fishing Boat to pursue his dream of being a mangaka, Itagaki was called to give him opinions on Umezawa's finished manga by Ippo. Itagaki called Aoki, Takamura and Kimura to give their opinions as well. As the group read it, Takamura fought Aoki over it, causing him to accidentally rip some pages in half. The group left Ippo and Umezawa and ran away due to the shame, though Aoki and Kimura apologised the next day. When Kamogawa used the prize money from the Sawamura match to take everyone fishing at the Makunouchi Fishing Boat, it turned into a fishing competition, with teams of two consisting of Takamura and Kamogawa, Aoki and Kimura, and Yagi and Shinoda. When it began, Aoki and Kimura were able to catch fish, though getting beaten by Yagi and Shinoda. Takamura and Kamogawa were having trouble catching fish, leading an angry Takamura to stomp his feet as he tried to fish, shaking the boat and making Aoki go off board. When Takamura thought he got one, he reeled up an Aoki instead. When they ran out of fishing spots, they returned and gave the caught fish to Makunouchi Hiroko for her to cook. After everyone gathered, Kamogawa revealed to everyone about the upcoming matches scheduled for them, with Aoki having a match.
When Imai Kyōsuke arrived to the Kamogawa gym to spar with Ippo a second time, Aoki watched the spar. Later, Aoki went to the Makunouchi Fishing Boat and watched a video of one of the WBC middleweight champion David Eagle's matches, surprised at Eagle's strength. When Takamura got back from a training camp, he challenged Yagi to a fishing competition. Aoki, Itagaki, Ippo, and Kimura went to the fishing hole to cheer on Takamura, however, when they got there, there was a sign that permitted "Takamura's" and "Yagi's" from entering. They rush back to the gym and were shocked to learn that the fishing match ended in a draw after Takamura went into the water and grabbed three fish. Yagi revealed to Aoki that he would be fighting against the Indonesian champion Papaya Dachiu. Along with Kimura, Aoki and Takamura made a bet that if Aoki doesn't win against Papaya, he would receive the same haircut as him.
Aoki later watched Itagaki win the quarter-finals of the East Japan Rookie King Tournament. After watching the match, Aoki made a deal between him and Takamura that if he beats Yagi in fishing, that Takamura's haircut deal would be off. Aoki went to a fishing hole with Tomiko to train, however, after catching a lot of fish, Aoki and Tomiko made out, causing other fishers to get angry and Aoki thrown out. Later, Aoki, Kimura, and Takamura went to a training camp. After returning, Aoki went to the Yokohama Arena, attending Takamura's weigh-in with Eagle before going to his own with Papaya, where he felt like he was being mocked after Papaya pulled his pants down.
The next day, Aoki and Kimura were nervous in their waiting room at the Yokohama Arena, getting scared when Ippo and Itagaki loudly greeted them. After Aoki asked Ippo how he dealt with fighting in a large crowd as a semi-final for Takamura's last title match, Aoki and Kimura felt better. Aoki and Kimura went to Takamura's room and was encouraged to win and was reminded about the haircut promise, further firing their desire to win. As Aoki waited for Kimura's match to end, Isamu and Hiroshi informed him that Kimura was downed in the first minute. During Kimura's third round, Isamu and Hiroshi informed Aoki about Kimura's situation and brought Tomiko to him, much to his joy.
After Kimura's match ended in a draw, Aoki was hoping to heat up the cooled down crowd. When the match began, Aoki planned to go for Papaya's supposed weak jaw, as he noticed a mole on in on the picture. However, when Aoki prepared to use his Frog Punch on his jaw, he was shocked to see that the mole was now on his forehead, jumping away without attacking. He realised it was a trap when the "mole" dropped off his forehead. Aoki was able to hit Papaya, and got him to the ropes, looking exhausted. Papaya looking hurt was only a trick of playing dead, which Aoki realised as he got hit by Papaya's Coconut Punch, getting sent down. When he got up, Aoki continued to get hit, unconsciously wondering if the haircut he would receive would look good. He then regained consciousness, deciding that it wouldn't, falling back onto the canvas after dodging a punch from Papaya. Since he didn't get hit, a slip was declared and Aoki got up. Aoki continued to fight Papaya, failing a Look Away as Papaya was also trying to use it, until round four, where Aoki noticed that Papaya began to excessively sweat. Realising that Papaya has poor stamina, Aoki got into an in-fight exchange to tire him out more. Due to Papaya's strength, Aoki was also getting exhausted, making to match not go anywhere until the ten round match ended, and the decision ended the match as a draw.
Aoki went back to the dressing room as Miyata's OPBF title defence match against Medgoen Dachboy commenced. While the match went on, Aoki was shocked to hear from Isamu and Hiroshi that Miyata was still fighting in the fifth round. Aoki went to the audience area to watch Miyata's match to the end, where Miyata won. Aoki went to Takamura's room and encouraged him to win before he went to audience seat to watch his title match against Eagle. After the match ended in Takamura's victory, Aoki went to the ring and celebrated with Takamura and his gym mates, lifting Takamura onto his shoulders. After the match, Aoki followed everyone as they went to Takamura's house to make sure he went to sleep. Aoki and the others were thrown out as Takamura was unable to sleep with everyone watching.
Three days later at the gym, Aoki was reminded by Kimura about Takamura's promise between the two that if they did not win, they would receive the same hairstyle as their opponents. Aoki tried to escape before Takamura arrived, however, he bumped into Takamura as he was leaving, causing him to pass out in fear. When Aoki woke up, he got angry at Takamura for giving him Papaya's haircut. Despite his anger, Aoki noticed the hairstyle looked like broccoli and became a star on his own commercial, calling himself "Broccoman" while advertising broccoli.
Aoki's Broccoman title became famous, causing children to follow him for an autograph, much to his gym mates' annoyance. When Fujii arrived to talk about the East Japan Rookie King tournament, Takamura had himself, Ippo, Aoki, and Kimura bet on who would win, with Aoki being forced to bet on Makino Fumito. At the Chūka Soba, as Ippo, Kimura, and Takamura discussed whether Itagaki would win against at least Makino, Aoki stayed silent since he bet on Makino. Aoki later watched Kimura spar with Itagaki, who gave Kimura a hard time. When Itagaki's East Japan Rookie King tournament semi-finals against Makino arrived, Aoki watched the match which ended in Itagaki's victory. Aoki watched Imai's semi-finals against Terai Makoto, which ended in Imai's victory. Afterwards, a group of children approached Aoki in the audience area, wishing for Aoki to give them his autograph, which he does.
Later at the gym, Aoki, after gaining support of Isamu and Hiroshi, who cut their hair to match Aoki's Broccoman haircut, had a fight with Takamura to see who is more popular. The fight ended after Takamura got irritated and left.
With Ippo's sixth JBC featherweight title defence match being against the seventh ranker Karasawa Takuzō, Aoki and Kimura were worried about Ippo during his intense training and Aoki believed there would be no way for Ippo to lose due to his ranking, though Aoki recalled being bit by underdogs himself. As Aoki's Broccoman boom continued, Aoki learned from Kimura that Takamura has gone missing after he left the Kamogawa gym due to Aoki and Takamura's popularity argument. After getting a call from Takamura about him seeing a kappa, Aoki informed his gym mates and found out that they also received a phone call from Takamura as well, which Aoki thinks that Takamura's stories are lies. Aoki received another call from Takamura about how he is in Osaka, however, since Aoki was busy working at the Chūka Soba, Aoki had to hang up. Later, as Ippo was worried about Takamura after he abruptly hung up, Aoki was positive he would show up soon as he believed that he is putting on a show because of how they treated him.
When Takamura showed up at the Makunouchi Fishing Boat, Aoki and Kimura went to see him. Noticing that Takamura was sulking because they hung up on him, Aoki and Kimura decided to ask Takamura to tell them his story about his trip. They leave Ippo's home to let him concentrate on his match, not before Aoki and Kimura trying out Takamura's pickled squid he got as a souvenir. The next day, Aoki arrived to the Kōrakuen Hall to watch Ippo's sixth JBC featherweight title defence match being against Karasawa. However, Aoki spent the entire match in the bathroom after receiving a Kanchō when he complained of stomach troubles due to eating Takamura's pickled squid. After Ippo won his match, Aoki got out of the bathroom and told Itagaki and Imai to stop fighting when he noticed them in the venue. Aoki's plea of wanting Itagaki to stop shouting at IMai resulted in an elbow in his stomach, causing him to go to the bathroom again.
As Aoki was angry at Takamura for feeding him the pickled squid that made him sick and was tired of Takamura's actions, he tried to split the gym into two factions, with Takamura being alone and Aoki and the rest of the gym along with him as Broccoman having the children of Japan on his side. Aoki's side changed from a lot of support to none when Yagi and Shinoda revealed to everyone about how Broccoman's popularity has severely gone down due to recent reports of Aoki leaving the Kōrakuen Hall while covered in faeces. When Aoki wondered how others found out since it was recent, he got angry and ran when Takamura implied it was him. Later, Aoki watched Itagaki's spar against Ippo as his last spar until his match against Imai for the East Japan Rookie King Tournament finals. The day before Itagaki's match, Aoki served his gym mates ramen at the Chūka Soba. Aoki criticised Ippo for giving Itagaki advice to go head on against Imai, but when Takamura noted that a slugfest isn't the only option at close range, Aoki assumed Itagaki would have to slug it out anyway if he gets caught by Imai.
The next day, Aoki went to the Kōrakuen Hall to watch the East Japan Rookie King Tournament finals between Itagaki and Imai. Aoki told Itagaki to take the Rookie King title before leaving to watch the match with Ippo and Kimura. After the match ended in Itagaki's victory, Aoki celebrated with everyone in the ring, lifting the East Japan Rookie King in the air. Aoki went with everyone to Itagaki's room in the venue before he was taken to the hospital.
When Aoki, Kimura, and Takamura made fun of Yagi's pun of "Ima no isu, Naisu" ("今のイス、ナ～イス"), the three were forced by Yagi to do three sets of hitting the sandbag for ten minutes. When itagaki was being driven from the hospital to the Kamogawa gym by Ippo, Aoki stepped into the street to help the nervous Ippo park, however, he was hit by the vehicle, though he received no injuries. Later, Aoki went to the Kōrakuen Hall to watch Ippo's seventh JBC title defence match against Take Keīchi. Having found out that Take faked being sick during the weigh-in, Aoki deemed Take to have surpassed him in levels of deception a few times over. After Ippo defeated Take, Aoki felt inspired by Take as a fellow trickster.
At the Kamogawa gym, Aoki learned from Yagi that the opponent he will be fighting next as an opener to Takamura's first WBC middleweight title defence would be a rematch against Papaya. With Aoki knowing that Papaya's weakness was that he lacks stamina, he was positive that he would win. Takamura, curious about Aoki's hair, as Aoki has kept a hat on for awhile, took Aoki's hat off, leaving everyone at the gym shocked at seeing Aoki with only three strands of hair. When Ippo asked if Aoki wanted to see Miyata's fifth OPBF title defence match, Aoki was uninterested, but called Kumi without Ippo's permission and set up a date between the two by having Kumi watch the match with Ippo, much to Ippo's dismay. When Ippo returned to the gym, Kamogawa informed everyone that Miyata injured both fists during his match against Che Jounbong, causing the match between Ippo and him to be postponed.
When the day of his match against Papaya arrived, Aoki went to the Ryōgoku Kokugikan and while waiting for his match as Kimura fought Eleki, he was accompanied by Tomiko, Isamu, and Hiroshi, with Isamu and Hiroshi giving him details about Kimura's match. After Kimura's match ended in a draw, Aoki went to the ring to go against Papaya and, after being ordered to take off the hat due to rules being against wearing a hat in the ring, the match began. Aoki immediately noticed Papaya has a bigger right arm to improve his Coconut Punch. After hitting Papaya once, Aoki ran away for nine rounds until he was deducted a point for it. As the audience jeered and Papaya taunted Aoki to come to him, Aoki went to attack him, but was hit by the Coconut Punch, sending him down. After Aoki got up, the ninth round ended. In the final tenth round, Papaya began excessively sweating and was easily knocked down twice. However, since he was unable to get a third down, the match ended in a draw. Aoki went back to his gym mates to watch Ishii Yūta challenge for the world bantamweight title, which ended in Yūta's loss and Takamura's first WBC middleweight title defence match against Richard Fox which ended in Takamura's victory.
Later, Aoki read a Monthly Boxing Fan magazine to everyone on Ippo's comment being that he doesn't know who would win between Mashiba and Sawamura, resulting in Aoki and Kimura criticising Ippo. As Kimura, Ippo, and Itagaki wondered why Mashiba picked Sawamura, Aoki called Kumi for Ippo to find out from her. Aoki and Kimura discussed who would win between Mashiba and Sawamura, which Kimura predicted that Mashiba would win. As they notice Itagaki coming back from sparring with Mashiba for five days, Aoki and the rest of the gym was shocked that Itagaki's face had hardly a scratch. Aoki arrived to the Kōrakuen Hall to watch Mashiba's seventh JBC junior lightweight title defence match against Sawamura. Aoki watched as the matched end with Mashiba getting disqualified in the sixth round after knocking Sawamura out of the ring while the referee paused the match. At the gym, Aoki found out that Sawamura got in a high speed motorcycle accident while he was going home and was taken to the hospital.
After Ippo got off the phone with Sendō, Aoki learned that Sawamura retired. Due to players from Kimura's local shopping district's baseball game dropping out, spots were needed to be filled for the local team. Aoki was one of his friends that joined the shopping district's team. When the day of baseball game arrived, Aoki went to the stadium and was assigned to the Santei Japan team with Kimura, Takamura, Ippo, and Itagaki. Kimura's team made a bet with Kiyota and Kuwahara's team that they would have their heads shaved if they lost. Despite Ippo, Takamura, and Itagaki doing poorly in the game, Kimura's team won in the end. Afterwards, Takamura thought Aoki's attitude was poor, so he allowed for his head to be shaved. However, when Aoki's cap was removed, Takamura and the enemy team were sickened by the way Aoki's hair looks and ran away.
Later, Aoki watched Itagaki's match, where he won by decision and became an eight rounder in order to be able to fight Hoshi Hiroyuki. Due to Itagaki's poor performance, Aoki and Kimura suspect that it is Itagaki's fate to become a mud wrestling fight like them as the three's chief trainer is Shinoda. When Aoki and Kimura deem Shinoda a "Trainer from Hell" and the "Master of the Sludge Match Shinoda", they went running as Shinoda arrived. Later, Aoki sparred with Itagaki to help him prepare for his match against Hoshi, boasting over his advantage during the spar. Aoki attacked Kimura as he explained to Ippo about Aoki feeling cornered about Itagaki passing him in the gym's internal ranking system. Aoki noted how he has people who take orders from him in the gym, making kimura being ranked under him. Leaving the gym, Aoki discussed with Kimura how Itagaki seems to be in a slump, which they assume that it is because he beat Imai and no longer has a goal. Aoki and Kimura theorise that Ippo may quit boxing if he defeats Miyata.
When Itagaki's match against Hoshi arrived, Aoki went to the Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium. At first Aoki and Kimura were going to root for Hoshi so that Itagaki wouldn't surpass them in the gym's internal rankings, however, when they found out from Yagi that Shinoda was going to resign if Itagaki loses the match due to Aoki and Kimura's remarks toward him, Aoki and Kimura decided to cheer instead. Aoki watched as Itagaki wins against Hoshi by knockout in the first round.
After getting his usual hairstyle back, and telling Tomiko about how Takamura put his faeces on his head during his antics recently, Tomiko asked if Aoki was turning into a loser, prompting Aoki to desire to return to his old self and get revenge on Takamura for his constant making fun of him. Aoki turned to Kimura, Ippo, and Itagaki to see how he would get his revenge, and ultimately decided to use his cooking skill to get his revenge. He had Tomiko get a swallow's nest for Aoki to use the swallow's droppings by putting it into Takamura's ramen. When the Chūka Soba closed for the day, Aoki called Takamura over to eat it. Ippo, Itagaki, and Kimura also came, and Aoki gave them ramen without the swallow's droppings. After the four switched bowls to their liking and Kimura had to leave and gives Aoki his bowl, the four ate. He discovered that his revenge failed as Aoki was the one that ate the swallow droppings ramen, causing a stomach ache.
When Aoki, Kimura, and Itagaki learned that the match between Ippo and Miyata was put off, Itagaki got his friend Suzuki from the Kawahara gym to go to the Chūka Soba, where Aoki offered Suzuki ramen if he answered why the match was put of for Miyata to take on the OPBF title match. However, Suzuki did not know why Miyata did so. Seeing that they wouldn't be able to get an answer, Aoki gave Suzuki his ramen. Later, Aoki witnessed Kamogawa kicking Ippo out of the gym due to Ippo losing all motivation to continue hitting the mitts after Miyata cancelled his match with him. With Ippo absence from the gym, Aoki stopped Itagaki and Kimura from fighting about whether Ippo will quit and take over his family business or not before also getting in a fight with Kimura after he was called a loser by him.
Aoki went with Kimura, Itagaki, and Takamura to their training camp. After returning from the training camp, they noticed a match poster featuring Ippo and were excited to see Ippo in the gym. They learned from Ippo and Yagi that he is going to fight the Thai featherweight champion Jimmy Sisphar. When Ippo's match against Sisphar arrived, Aoki went to the Kōrakuen Hall to watch the match with Takamura, Kimura, and Itagaki. Aoki watched as Ippo wins the match by knockout in the fourth round. Outside the venue, Aoki and Kimura discussed what would have happened if Ippo fought Miyata instead of Sisphar, though Takamura stopped their predictions as he saw no way of them getting their answer due to the two not having a fight between each other in the foreseeable future.
Aoki sparred with Kimura and Itagaki in preparations of the three's matches as he complained about the summer heat. After Takamura came back from a trip, he showed everyone at the gym his new Beetle's Uppercut that he planned to use in his upcoming match, demonstrating the technique on Aoki by punching from between his legs and sending Aoki flying up. Later, Aoki went to the Ryōgoku Kokugikan for his match against Padawan Yoda. Aoki defeated Yoda by a comeback knockout in the ninth round by using the Frog Punch. Afterwards, he watched Takamura's second WBC title defence match against Rickey Mouse, which ended in Takamura's victory by a one round knockout. In the venue's changing room, Aoki took a group photo with his gym mates.
Later, Aoki was shocked that he did not move up in the monthly JBC rankings despite his knockout win. As Shinoda was unsure that Aoki would even move up in the next month's rankings due to his recent opponent not being a Japanese ranker, Aoki wished for a higher ranked opponent after Shinoda suggested to do so. Later, Aoki learned from Yagi that Miyata's next opponent Randy Boy Junior is the son of the boxer that Miyata's father was defeated by. As Aoki taught Isamu and Hiroshi boxing, Ippo, Kimura, and Itagaki were surprised to see Isamu and Hiroshi hitting the sandbags. Aoki explained to his gym mates how Isamu and Hiroshi were geniuses at school, but simply wanting to practise boxing for fun.
A freelance trainer named Kurita Baron entered the gym claiming to be sent to the gym to look after things while Kamogawa was away. Inspired by Baron's words on how they are unpolished gems, Baron put Ippo, Aoki, Kimura, and Itagaki through harsh training. Baron left when Takamura arrived and it was revealed how Baron was just trying to steal Ippo to increase his poor representation. Angered about being tricked, Aoki and Kimura went to chase Baron down. They catch him and beat him. After learning that Baron's reason of quitting boxing at the Kamogawa gym was because Takamura was his only sparring partner, Aoki and Kimura felt sympathy towards him. As Baron walked away, he revealed that he was lying about them being unpolished gems and that he would get his revenge when he comes back, causing Aoki and Kimura to angrily chase after him.
When Yagi got off the phone with the police to pick up Kamogawa at the police station, Aoki and his gym mates tried to run with Yagi to go see Kamogawa, however, they was told by Shinoda to return to the gym. Aoki stayed with his gym mates overnight until Kamogawa returned. When Fukui Kyōsuke came to the gym to request a spar with Ippo, Aoki watched the spar, which ended in Ippo knocking Fukui out in the first round. After learning that Ippo's next opponent, the Philippines featherweight champion Malcolm Gedo was like a magician and his arms can extend, Aoki showed the gullible Ippo some magic tricks to see his reaction. When Gedo arrived to the Kamogawa gym, Aoki peeked into the office where a heated conversation took place between Kamogawa and Gedo about Gedo only caring about the money and doesn't know anything about Ippo, and it was decided that the winner would be rewarded two million yen.
When the day of Ippo's match against Gedo arrived, Aoki was asked to loan Ippo money to help him gather an extra 500,000 yen to give Gedo if Gedo beats him. Aoki gathered 150,000 out of his register at the Chūka Soba to give him, making Aoki a thief if Ippo loses. Aoki watched the match with Itagaki, Kimura, and Takamura. During round six, Ippo was having trouble and when Takamura mentioned that Aoki and Kimura would be thieves if Ippo loses due to them taking money from their jobs to give to Ippo for his bet, the four Kamogawa gym members tried to find a hint to tell Kamogawa to help Ippo. Aoki figured out the hint with keywords "range," "swell," "shake," which Itagaki went and told Kamogawa. As the seventh round began, Aoki explained to Kimura and Takamura how the strings on Gedo's glove was loosened to increase the range by a few centimetres. Aoki watched as the match ended in Ippo's victory by knockout in the eighth round. Afterwards, Aoki was thanked by Ippo for figuring out the trick behind Gedo's extending arm.
As Aoki's Chūka Soba has been getting busier and advertised on TV, he hired Isamu and Hiroshi of Team Aoki to work there and had to close early due to the demand. After closing, Kimura and Itagaki entered and, after ordering Isamu and Hiroshi to make them ramen, Aoki showed them Isamu and Hiroshi's report chart about their boxing skills, including Ippo's. As Itagaki and Kimura were upset about their rating, they saw Aoki's rating was so high that it goes over the paper's border, they claimed that it would be impossible for Aoki, making Aoki depressed. At the gym, Aoki vowed to prove to Itagaki and Kimura that he is not just about ramen, by becoming champion. However, after realising that he is ranked seventh, Kimura's also ranked seventh, and Itagaki is ranked eighth, Aoki and Kimura wanted to move up to avoid Itagaki surpassing them in the gym's internal ranking system. Shinoda revealed away for them to go up in the rankings by taking the Class A Tournament, which Aoki accepted.
When Fujii entered the gym, Aoki, Kimura, and Itagaki asked him to draw a graph about their abilities. After seeing their graph, with Aoki's being more circular, and hearing Fujii explain how a big circular rock like Takamura would stay in the pro circuit by not falling through a square filter, Aoki was advised to train by Shinoda to make his smaller rock bigger. When Team Itagaki joined the gym and then shortly quit, Aoki and Kimura informed Itagaki that they quit and made fun of him for trying to rise in the gym's internal ranking by using them. While Itagaki, Ippo, and Shinoda left for the Otowa gym so that Itagaki could spar with Randy, Aoki and Kimura sparred each other while hoping that Itagaki would lose so that he won't go up in the internal ranking at the gym.
At the Kamogawa gym, after Aoki watched Takamura defeat three boxers at the same time in a spar to one up Miyata's two on one spar, Aoki learned that he and Kimura would be openers for Takamura's third WBC middleweight title defence against Ronald Duck in April, along with Miyata facing Randy in the semi-final. To prepare for his match, Aoki sparred with Itagaki. After sparring with Itagaki, Aoki and his gym mates notice Takamura was not sweating due to the cold weather, making Takamura irritable. Just as Aoki and Kimura warned to not get close to Takamura, they got close to him and was attacked after they claimed that they go through the same troubles as him. When Sendō came to the gym, he revealed his "beat-down list", which Miyata was one of the names on it for him to spar against to help him train to fight Mexicans. Ippo decided to take him to the Kawahara gym for Miyata and Sendō to help each other before being stopped by Kamogawa and have Itagaki take Sendō instead. Due to Kamogawa not wanting to let Ippo go see the spar, Ippo became depressed until his depression annoyed the others at the gym, making them order him to go around and buy them outlandish items, with Aoki ordering for him to get him a "Doctor Pappy," as a hint for him to watch the spar.
A week later, while Aoki theorised with his gym mates about how Miyata's spars against Sendō went, Sendō arrived and confirmed that Miyata was not using his footwork, assuming his weight control was the reason. A dried up Takamura then arrived, revealing how, thanks to Ippo bringing the drink he requested a week ago, his weight control was easy. Takamura was going to bring some of the drinks to Miyata before being stopped by Ippo, who accidentally pulled Takamura's pants down, making Takamura have an urge to defecate on the floor, with Aoki and Kimura having to clean it up. On the day of the weigh-in at the Kōrakuen Hall, Aoki went a passed his weight check. He went with the gym to the De La Hoya to recover his energy.
The next day, Aoki went to the Yokohama Arena and after giving his regards to Miyata in his waiting room and learning that Kimura lost his match against Sim Rex, Aoki went to the ring for his match against the Thai fifth ranker Ponsa Kureck. When the match began, Aoki and Ponsa had a exchange in the middle of the ring until Aoki was pushed back. Aoki proceeded to run away from Ponsa the entire ten rounds while looking for a chance to hit him. The chance never came and Aoki lost by decision, earning him a scolding from Shinoda. Aoki watched Miyata's match against Randy and Takamura's match against Duck on TV, which ended in Miyata and Takamura's victory.
At the Kamogawa gym, Aoki and Kimura were annoyed as Takamura sang a song to them about them losing. Aoki tried to punch Takamura for it, however, he got scared and ran off. Later, Aoki watched Itagaki spar with someone from another gym and Ippo in preparation for his next match. Aoki went to the Kōrakuen Hall and watched Itagaki's match against Kaonar Pachiyoso which ended in Itagaki's victory, along with Mashiba's OPBF lightweight title match against champion Aaron Domingo, which ended in Mashiba's victory, becoming the OPBF lightweight champion.
After sparring with Kimura at the gym, Aoki listened as Kamogawa announced before going on a trip that he, Kimura, and Itagaki have matches in the Class A Tournament in two months, along with Ippo fighting the Indonesian featherweight champion who fought and won only three fights by knockout. Aoki watched the video that the Indonesian champion's side sent with everyone, where they only see nature shots without any sign of the champion. The next day, Aoki found out that Ippo saw the champion in the video leading a pack of monkeys. Later, Aoki and Kimura had mixed feelings about thier first opponent in the Class A Tournament, since they are fighting the same person who made them lose the tournament last time, with Aoki facing Jackal Itō. They tried to make Itagaki nervous since he was excited to face against Karasawa in the first round of the tournament and possibly Saeki in the semi-finals if he wins. Aoki's became fired up when Shinoda mentioned that this is his chance to get revenge and show that he has changed. Aoki sparred with Ippo which ended in him having to rest due to the injuries before taking a shower.
Later, Aoki and Kimura attempted to follow Ippo and Itagaki's roadwork before dropping from exhaustion. Aoki and Kimura continued to train and follow Ippo and Itagaki, while Takamura showed up and outran everyone. While watching Ippo and Kamogawa prepare for his match, Aoki discussed with his gym mates how Volg sent a warning by a phone call to Ippo after Volg sparred with the Indonesian champion, which they believe Ippo should be cautious of his opponent.
On the day of Ippo's match against the Indonesian featherweight champion Wally, Aoki went to the Kōrakuen Hall to watch the match with Kimura, Itagaki, and Takamura. During the match,as Ippo had trouble against Wally, Aoki and Kimura thought that hard work won't win against talent no matter how hard one works, however, after Ippo defeated Wally by knockout in the eighth round, Takamura beat Aoki and Kimura after they claimed that genius types like Takamura are afraid of seeing the results of hard work. Seeing Ippo win, Aoki was motivated to win the Class A Tournament.
After being interviewed by Fujii, Itagaki wanted to know what Aoki's comment about the Class A Tournament was. Aoki revealed that he wanted to steadily stack the odds in his favour and not worry about a goal in the far future, rather working on the objectives in front of him first and that he he wants to go back to the basics by working on his jab instead of his Frog Punch. On the day of the first round of the Class A Tournament, Aoki went to the Kōrakuen Hall for his match against Jackal. In his waiting room, Aoki watched Itagaki's match against Karasawa, which ended in Itagaki's victory by knockout in the second round. When Aoki's match against Jackal began, Aoki fought until the end of the final sixth round, where Aoki won by decision. Aoki watched the match of who he would face in the Class A Tournament finals between former JBC lightweight champion Imae and Iga Shinobu. Aoki watched in shock as Imae was effortlessly beaten in the first round by Iga. He also noticed that Iga's trainer is Baron, realising that Baron is coming for him for revenge after he chased and beat him previously.
Aoki celebrated his, Kimura's, and Itagaki's victories at Kimura's place. After talking about women and Aoki thinking Kimura is a lolicon due to him having an anime figure from a magical girl series, Kimura revealed that he has a girlfriend and gave Aoki, Ippo, and Itagaki extra tickets to an amusement park that he was taking his girlfriend to. While Ippo thought Kimura was telling the truth, Aoki knew that Kimura was lying and is possibly a paedophile. Aoki brought Tomiko to the Nermina Park and met Ippo with Kumi and Itagaki with Mari. When Aoki brought up that Kimura might be a paedophile, Tomiko suggested to call Kimura and reveal everyone to his girlfriend. As Aoki called Kimura to show them his girlfriend, Kimura was near the group, and not knowing they're there, he told Aoki that he is at the park and would show his girlfriend another time. As Aoki and the others saw Kimura with a little girl, Aoki called the cops and had Kimura arrested. After it was discovered that Kimura took the little girl to the amusement park because she was sad, Aoki calmed a heated Kimura down by offering him a date with one out of three of Tomiko's friends after the Class A Tournament.
At the gym, Aoki learned that before the Class A Tournament finals, Takamura, who was away on a trip, was having a fourth WBC middleweight title defence and Ippo was having an eighth JBC featherweight title defence against Kojima Hisato. Since Kojima was a former lightweight ranker, Aoki remembered him as someone during his Rookie King days and was beaten in a spar before by him until Aoki used his legs, making him be of no challenge to him. While doing roadwork, Aoki gave his prediction to his gym mates that, despite knowing how strong Kojima is, Ippo would win.
Aoki went with Ippo and Itagaki to the Kōrakuen Hall to see Saeki and Maezono Makoto's match to see who would take on Itagaki in the Class A Tournament finals. They get there early and notice Kojima cheering enthusiastically for his junior's match. While Aoki and Kojima had a lighthearted conversation, Kojima made aggressive remarks to Ippo and his opponents, which made Ippo leave early. Later, while running with Itagaki, Ippo, and Kimura, they spot Takamura next to a campfire. After Takamura pranked everyone, especially Aoki, by having the fire throw chestnut with burs fly out in a "Igakuri" pun from Iga and Baron's names combined, Takamura gave Ippo advice. Aoki went to the Roigal Hotel to hold Takamura's belongings where Ippo's weigh-in and Takamura's weigh-in and press conference were being held.
The next day, Aoki went to the Ryōgoku Kokugikan to watch Ippo and Takamura's matches. Aoki wished Ippo good luck as he left for his eighth JBC featherweight title defence match against Kojima. After watching Ippo defeat Kojima by a one round knockout, Aoki went to the bathroom and met Kojima. Aoki was handed a board to give Ippo to sign his autograph for him. However, Aoki misunderstood and signed his own autograph on the board and gave it to Kojima. When Aoki returned to Ippo's room, he grabbed him and began to take him to the doctor since he was feeling weak. On the way there, Isamu and Hiroshi informed Aoki that the autograph he gave Kojima was thrown in the garbage. Shocked, Aoki ran to find Kojima.
Coming back to Ippo after trying to find Kojima, Aoki and Ippo rushed to watch Takamura fight in the final twelfth round of his fourth WBC middleweight title defence against Peter Rabbitson. Just as they arrived, Takamura defeated Rabbitson with a one punch knockout.
At the Kamogawa gym, Mari visited to interview Ippo. After she mentioned that she was going to go meet Kojima, Aoki decided to go with her after asking Ippo for a favour of signing a boxing glove for Kojima. Aoki and Mari went to the Soehiro and met with Kojima, who revealed how he intended to psych himself up by riling Ippo up since he decided his last match would be against Ippo. He also revealed that he has no memory of the fight, which he began to get sad about until Aoki scolded Kojima for his decision to retire with no memory of his last match. After Kojima remarked that only the elite can get anywhere in the professional world and he doesn't have what it takes, Aoki rebuked that one keeps boxing because of what they built for themselves and sees no point of giving up after all the hard work they put into it. Aoki throws a bag with a boxing glove that Ippo signed for him before leaving. Later, Aoki informed Ippo, Kimura, and Itagaki that Kojima retired.
Preparing for the Class A Tournament finals, Aoki and Kimura sparred under Shinoda's watch. Later, when Takamura informed Aoki about a weakness he found where Aoki closes his eyes before getting hit, making him get hit more, Takamura, Kimura, and Itagaki made fun of him until Ippo arrived and stopped them. Ippo had Aoki recover his suppressed memory so he could find a way to get over his trauma by using Tomiko's hypnosis. When Aoki revealed it was Takamura's fault, the gym members came up with a plan for Aoki to overcome his fear of Takamura to cure his trauma that affected his boxing. Ippo, Itagaki, and Kimura held Aoki while Takamura threw rights at Aoki's face with protective gear on his head until Aoki was able to keep his eyes open and describe the type of punch Takamura threw, curing his trauma. Though Aoki was cured of his weakness, Tomiko didn't like how Aoki has spaced out at times and never seems happy anymore. Aoki reassured her that he now has confidence that he will win the Class A Tournament and take the JBC lightweight title.
When the Class A Tournament finals arrived, Aoki went to the Kōrakuen Hall for his match against Iga. Before his match, Aoki and Kimura watched Itagaki's match against Saeki, which ended in Itagaki's victory in the fourth round by knockout. After Kimura lost in his match, Aoki went to the ring for his match against Iga. When the match began, Aoki was downed early into the first round, amazed at Iga's power. Aoki got up and continued to get outclassed until the first round ended, dazed while going to his corner. As the match continued, Aoki kept getting beaten with ease, despite the former's attempts to use his trademark moves. Aoki continued getting hit with Iga having no intention of finishing him off, only to make him suffer as instructed by his trainer, Baron. Tomiko, who was watching, couldn't help but cry and scream in sight of her loved one beaten so badly; Iga called her an ugly pig, much to Aoki's frustration. In the seventh round, Aoki was outclassed by Iga until he lost by knockout.
Due to the injuries, Aoki was taken to the Kawai Hospital. Later, Aoki became angry when Takamura visited him to only sing an insulting song about his surname "Masaru" and it's ironic meaning of victory. Upset about Aoki's attitude, Takamura threatened to drop him out of a window before dropping him when Tomiko arrived and saved him. When Aoki was asked by Kimura if he is retiring or not, Aoki concluded that he will continue with Iga as his goal and wishes to fight Iga again when he becomes the JBC champion.
Later, Aoki and the other gym members overheard Kamogawa and Yagi discussing moving Ippo onto the world stage. They burst into Kamogawa's office to hear that Ippo would fight the second in the world, Alfredo Gonzales, to gain the attention of Ricardo Martinez's management.
When Volg's junior lightweight IBF title match against Mike Elliot was coming up soon, Sendō entered the Kamogawa gym to watch the match and Aoki and Kimura tried to throw him out when he remembered them as the ones who lost the Class A Tournament. Later, when Aoki, Kimura, and Itagaki returned to the Kamogawa gym after having watched Volg win and become the IBF junior lightweight champion, they find Ippo in the gym's ring passed out after he sparred with Sendō. After they patched Ippo up, they went to Kamogawa's office and learned that Ippo's JBC featherweight title has been relinquished and that Itagaki would be fighting for it in his next match while Ippo focuses on the world title.
With Itagaki's opponent for the vacant JBC featherweight title being a fighter type, Aoki was chosen to be his sparring partner. Aoki and Kimura were surprised that Itagaki didn't know who his opponent was, which Ippo revealed it would be the second ranked Imai, his rival. As Aoki, Kimura, and Itagaki discussed with Ippo about his plan against Alfredo and wondered if he could win, Takamura entered the gym and concluded that he can. Takamura explained how he noticed the headline of the recent Monthly Boxing Fan reading "Makunouchi's cocked and ready". Aoki, along with Takamura and Kimura made fun of the headline, annoying Ippo. Later, Aoki watched Ippo train with Kamogawa's method of going against Alfredo's left that is similar to Ricardo's by using a extendable and bendable stick with a boxing glove.
When Ippo and Itagaki's match arrived, Aoki went to the Kōrakuen Hall and watched Itagaki's JBC featherweight title match against Imai, which ended in Itagaki's loss. Aoki and Kimura went with Itagaki to the doctor and stayed with him as they watched Ippo fight Alfredo. Aoki watched as Ippo lost by knockout in the seventh round. Aoki and Kimura took Ippo and Itagaki to Ippo's home after their loss.
The next day, Aoki, Kimura, and Itagaki frantically went to find Ippo after he left the house since he might run into Takamura, who may make fun of Ippo. When they find Ippo, Takamura was already nearby. The three were relieved when Takamura didn't make Ippo upset. They were surprised when Kumi showed up and was the one who rubbed Ippo's loss in by showing him the paper of his loss, making him realise he did lose. Later, when Ippo returned to the gym, Aoki learned that Takamura has a unification match against the WBA middleweight champion as the main event, with a world flyweight title match, Sendō's match, and Mashiba's match before it.
When the event arrived, Aoki went to the Yokohama Arena to watch the matches. While Takamura was sleeping while waiting for his match, Aoki noticed Mashiba and Sendō having an argument in their waiting room. Aoki went to the audience seats to watch the first match consisting of Mashiba's first OPBF lightweight title defence match against Romeo, where it ended in Mashiba's victory by knockout in the fifth round. Aoki watched Sendō's match against Jose Nargo, which ended in Sendō's victory by knockout in the eighth round. After watching Sendō's match, Ippo asked Aoki, Kimura, and Itagaki if they make excuses when they lose. They confirm that they do, with Aoki's excuse being that if Iga was weaker than him, he would have won. After Aoki watched Tsuchiya lose the world flyweight title match, he, Kimura, Ippo, and Itagaki go to Takamura's ringside as Takamura arrived to the ring to fight Bison. During the second round, Takamura asked everyone what he can do. Aoki answered in an insulting way. Aoki watched as Takamura won, making Takamura both the WBA and WBC middleweight champion. Afterwards, Aoki and Kimura helped Takamura out of the venue.
At the Kamogawa gym, Aoki found out that Takamura was rewarded the people's honour award, however, it was retracted after Takamura caused a scene while naked. Later while doing roadwork with Itagaki, Ippo, and Kimura, a discussion arose about how far could they go, with Aoki stating his goal is to get back at Iga. Aoki, Kimura, and Itagaki discuss Ippo having the right tools to become a world champion, but his mindset of being inhuman seems impossible, not knowing what it would take to change his core. Later, during a "parade" for Takamura's win against Bison, Aoki tried to bring out a crowd by wearing a Broccoman costume. When the crowd was paying attention to only Aoki, Aoki was attacked by Takamura, and Ippo got out to help him, leaving the vehicle to get wrecked.
When Fujii entered the Kamogawa gym, Aoki did mitt practise with him. Afterwards, Fujii compared Aoki's fists with the prodigy that took him down when he was a boxer. Aoki listened to Fujii's explanation of the shape of one's fists, and when Aoki clenched his fist and showed everyone, Kimura and Itagaki made fun of Aoki's round and soft fist. After Shinoda entered the gym and Fujii and him told their story as boxers, and it was revealed Shinoda was the prodigy, Aoki was disappointed when he saw Shinoda's fist being as round as his.
Later, Kamogawa, Yagi, and Shinoda informed Aoki and Kimura that they have ranked matches before Iga's JBC lightweight title match. Aoki became fired up hearing that Iga will get to see how much stronger he has become, letting his gym mates know that he has a new upgrade. With Ippo being interested in his new upgrade, Aoki and Ippo got into the ring for a one round spar. Aoki used his new variant of the Frog Punch: the Bell Horn, knocking Ippo down.
When Aoki and Kimura's come-back match arrived, Aoki went to the Kōrakuen Hall, and, after Kimura ended his match by a draw, Aoki arrived to the ring. When the match began, Aoki immediately went to his opponent and squatted down to begin his Bell Horn. As the Bell Horn requires the opponent to try and get close to Aoki, Aoki stood still in the crouching position while his opponent stayed away. With Aoki not moving from the position, the referee gave Aoki a point deduction, defeating the technique. Aoki proceeded using basic boxing throughout the match until near the end of the eighth round where he used the Look Away, the Frog Punch, and finishes his opponent with combinations until he is stopped by the referee, winning by knockout.
Afterwards, Aoki and Kimura joined Ippo, Itagaki, and Takamura to watch Iga fight against the JBC lightweight champion, Ōshima Sōshi, which ended in Iga's victory by knockout in the sixth round, making Iga the new JBC lightweight champion. Aoki planned to send a letter of challenge to Sōshi in order to work his way back up to the rankings, however, the venue doesn't let anyone into the loser's locker room. Afterwards, Aoki and Kimura was getting into an argument until Kimura suggested that the two of them could possibly take on Iga in a two-on-one, which Aoki agreed with.
At the Kamogawa gym, Aoki watched Ippo spar with Matsuura, where Ippo showed his Dempsey Roll with a new up and down movement. While shadowboxing, Aoki, Kimura, and Itagaki were watching Ippo train his new Dempsey Roll with Kamogawa, frightened at how the technique now comes at many angles. Later, Aoki watched Ippo spar against Nagumo Ryūji, which ended after Ippo was easily downed and Kamogawa stopped the spar. When Ippo was banned from the gym for one month by Kamogawa and having learned that Ippo went bowling, Aoki went with Takamura, Kimura, and Itagaki to the Funa Bowl to watch him and, if he gets a score lower than 100, then they would know he is punch drunk, as he has been suspected for it. When they see Ippo get a gutter ball and haven't hit any pins as seen on the score board, they became worried. They soon noticed that Ippo is wearing weights on his wrists and ankles while bowling, which Aoki tries on and attempted to throw a bowling ball with them on, however, it was too heavy. Later, Aoki went to the Funa Bowl, where the Kamogawa gym commenced a bowling tournament.
After a month of Ippo being banned from the gym, Aoki and his gym mates welcomed him from the rooftop as Ippo walked to the gym. As Ippo entered the gym, Kamogawa had him do two tests before his return can be accepted. After he passed both tests Aoki and his gym mates celebrated. When Aoki, Kimura, and Itagaki were doing roadwork and Ippo joined the first time since his return, they were surprised to see him run faster than them. Later, Aoki and Kimura watched Nagumo's WBA junior lightweight title match on the gym's television, which ended in Nagumo's loss. Later, while Aoki, Kimura, and Itagaki were doing roadwork for their upcoming matches, they find Ippo, who hoped that they would win. When their matches arrived, Aoki went to the Kōrakuen Hall. In the match, Aoki defeated his opponent by knockout with the Bell Horn when his opponent got impatient on waiting for the Frog Punch to be launched from Aoki's crouching position. Aoki announced in his victory interview that he is coming for the JBC lightweight title. Outside the venue, Aoki had Ippo walk Kimura home and asked him to let Kimura vent on the way there.
When Ippo's come-back match opponent, Antonio Guevara was revealed to be a southpaw, Aoki, Kimura, and Itagaki watched as three southpaws leave the gym injured, making them think that they don't have to worry about Ippo, but Takamura, who is having troubles with his weight management. After watching Ippo get scolded by Kamogawa and hears that he wants to get scolded more, Aoki and Kimura told Takamura about it at his house, resulting in them getting a heater placed on their heads. Later, Aoki watched Takamura defeat his opponents in a public spar.
When Ippo's come-back match against Antonio and Takamura's WBC and WBA middleweight title defence match against Keith Lycaon arrived, Aoki went to the Ryōgoku Kokugikan to watch the matches. Aoki watched as Ippo lost to Antonio in the fourth round by knockout and Takamura wins his match by knockout in the first round.
Later, after Ippo announced his retirement to Kamogawa and Yagi, Ippo told his gym mates goodbye, including Aoki. On the rooftop, when Takamura was asked what he said to Ippo when he passed him, Takamura revealed to Aoki, Kimura, and Itagaki that he asked Ippo if he scored any treasure in his adventure, to which Ippo replied that there are too many to hold.
Two months after Ippo retired, Ippo decided to help as a second for the Kamogawa gym, making him Kimura's second in his upcoming match. Ippo joined Aoki, Kimura, and Itagaki while doing roadwork. Aoki and Itagaki were shocked that Ippo could still surpass them in running. Aoki informed Ippo that Kamogawa went to Nekota's place to rest, and they don't know when he will be back. They continued to discuss with Ippo about Kimura's opponent, while Ippo keep running back and forth between themselves, annoying Aoki.
When Kimura's match arrived, Aoki went to the Kōrakuen Hall to watch it. Aoki watched Hayami Ryūichi's match that was before Kimura's, and, when Itagaki asked about Hayami's rank, Aoki was surprised to find out that he isn't ranked. After he learns about Hayami's fight record where he has more losses than wins, he was shocked that Hayami is still boxing. After Hayami lost his match, Aoki laughed at Ippo's antics as a second as he watched Kimura's match, which ended in Kimura's victory by knockout in the seventh round. Afterwards, Aoki, Takamura, and Itagaki went to do karaoke as Ippo and Kimura head home. Later, Aoki went to the Kōrakuen Hall for his match with Ippo as his second, ending his match with a knockout victory after using the Frog Punch. After Itagaki ran off after Ippo was criticising him throughout his match, Aoki, Takamura, and Kimura told Ippo that only he likes tough love.
Later, after Ippo saved Teru Okazaki from some bullies, Ippo took him to the Kamogawa gym to try boxing. Aoki was impressed of Teru's drawing skill of the main bully when Teru draws a picture to put on the sandbag, but ends up disappointed when he punches the sandbag.
At the Chūka Soba, Aoki, Kimura, and Itagaki discussed about Miyata's eighth OPBF featherweight title defence match, which Aoki commented that he doesn't see Miyata struggling. After Miyata did poorly in the match and barely won, Aoki and Tomiko stopped by the Márquez where Miyata worked. When they come up to the counter, Aoki asked if the reason why Miyata's last match was bad, was because of weight management or because of a certain someone's retirement, Miyata avoided the question. As Aoki left, he claims Miyata shouldn't wait any longer and move up to the next stage.
When Ippo visited the gym, he began mitt practising with Kamogawa. Outside, Aoki, along with the rest of the Kamogawa group watched. Aoki believed Ippo and Kamogawa were the perfect combo. While Aoki was hopeful for Ippo to come back, Kimura noted that if Ippo takes any hits, it would cause serious problems.
After Ippo was in shock for hitting Taihei, Umezawa walked him to the Chūka Soba. Aoki tried to comfort Ippo, suggesting to forget about the situation, as he didn't hit him with a closed fist and only fainted. Ippo announced he will turn himself in, as he is a former Japanese champion who lashed out on a high school student. When Takamura, Itagaki, and Kimura arrived, Aoki informed them that he left to turn himself in to the police. After hearing from Teru on how Taihei used to get into fights because of his older brother, Aoki and Takamura came to a conclusion that Taihei's problems must be his brother's fault.
At the Kamogawa gym, while Aoki and the others were talking about the situation with Ippo and Taihei, Takamura came to a conclusion that the real villain is Taihei's older brother and prepared to show off his "Special 7-Years Killing: 100 Shots" that he will use on him. Aoki and his gym mates were shocked when A bald Ippo entered the gym and asked for Kamogawa in order to say his apologises.
For Ippo to atone for what he has done, Taihei, along with Kintarō Kaneda, joined the gym and Kamogawa had them be under Ippo's training. Aoki noticed Taihei as his younger brother, Aoki Taihei, which Kimura also revealed to Ippo. After Aoki and Taihei were remembered by Ippo, Itagaki and Yagi as being in a TV show called "Heartwarming Special Presents: The Hectic Life of an 11-Person Family", Aoki and Taihei argued about their family's struggle when Aoki left them. Aoki mentioned to Taihei how he never thought twice about helping him and his other siblings. Takamura, after finding out that Aoki is the older brother, used the "Special 7-Years Killing: 100 Shots" on him as punishment for making Taihei get into fights.
At the Kamogawa gym's rooftop, Kimura asked how Aoki felt about Taihei becoming a boxer. He replied that he will just have to watch over him.
Aoki and Kimura attended Mashiba's second OPBF lightweight title defence match against Iga at the Kōrakuen Hall. Aoki wished that Iga would lose in order for him to not get a world ranking. Aoki explained to Kimura that the reason Mashiba chose Iga, was because of Mashiba's black stars on his record: Kimura and Sawamura, who downed him despite that he was in a more suitable weight class, wanting to use Iga as a hurdle to prove that he can go to the world level. Knowing that Baron claimed that Mashiba has three weaknesses, Aoki asked Kimura if he noticed anything when he fought him, however, Kimura believed that Baron was bluffing. As Aoki watched the match, he was surprised about Baron's cruelty towards Iga and that Iga used Ippo's Peek-a-Boo Style, Kimura's Dragonfish Blow, and that he fouled like Sawamura. After the match ended in Mashiba's victory in the third round by knockout, his coach announced his relinquishment of his OPBF title and moving up to the world, and Mashiba claimed that Iga and Baron were one weakness short, Aoki and Kimura wondered what the fourth weakness was.
Outside the venue, Ippo caught up to Aoki and Kimura and suggested that Mashiba was talking about Miyata's counter being the fourth weakness and that he found out the reason he lost. Kimura wanted to let Ippo think about the reason he lost alone, and took Aoki, Taihei, and Kintarō to the Kemuri Izakaya. Aoki, Kimura, Taihei, and Kintarō discussed Mashiba and Iga's match, with Aoki being glad that Iga gets to keep his JBC title and staying his goal, not wanting to fight Mashiba because of him being a monster. Aoki and Kimura explained to Taihei and Kintarō what they think Ippo was going to say about why he lost and what a retired boxer thinks after thinking back on his losses.
When Takamura's WBC and WBA middleweight title defence match against Michael Goat arrived, Aoki went to the Ryōgoku Kokugikan to watch it. Worried at first about Goat's lefts, Takamura won by knockout in the second round, announcing afterwards that he is moving up to the super middleweight class next.
As Aoki, Kimura, and Itagaki overlook Ippo training his students, Aoki noted how his younger brother's stamina has grown as much as his hair. Kimura mentioned how Aoki is worried about Taihei boxing due to the injuries that come with it, however, Aoki claimed he can entrust it to Ippo with it comes to injuries. They became curious as to why Ippo keeps calling out "1" to his students. They ask Ippo at the gym, which Ippo in turn showed them a notepad with numbers assigned to basic punches. Shinoda revealed that it is a Numbering System which requires an unshakeable teacher-student bond for a quicker reaction time and faster combinations. Aoki and Kimura tested it to confirm the faster reaction time due to it being quicker to call out a number rather than the whole name of the technique. Aoki, Kimura, Itagaki, Taihei, and Kintarō enter the gym's ring for Ippo to test them to see if they can respond to his number calls in time. During the session, Ippo only called out "1", which is the left jab, making them angry and ask for a different number. Ippo, however, ended up calling out "1" again, making everyone quit.
Later, Aoki alerted his gym mates that Sendō was in the newspaper, where he posed with the Scamaras Brothers in Mexico. When Ippo wondered what Sendō was doing, Kamogawa assumed that Sendō is mastering the Tope Suicida wrestling move. Aoki asked what the difference between the Tope Suicida and Tope con Giro is, and when Kamogawa explained the difference, Aoki was surprised Kamogawa knew.
While doing roadwork, Aoki learned from Ippo that he is going to take Taihei and Kintarō to Date's gym where a sparring tournament was being held for boxers that haven't made their debut. While in the ring training, Aoki was shocked to see Sendō entering the gym unannounced. When Ippo and Sendō were being loud on the gym's rooftop, Aoki, Kimura, and Itagaki checked up on them, where they see that the arm of the Takamura statue came off. Aoki fixed the arm, however, the head broke off onto the floor. Aoki decided to temporally patch with glue until he can get cement the next day, holding the head onto the statue until the glue dries. The next day, Takamura came back from his trip and Aoki, Kimura, and Itagaki inform him that the three of them have matches before Sendō and Alfredo's match, which Aoki claimed to be going after Iga's head after he wins.
When the weigh-in for his match arrived, Aoki went to the Kōrakuen Hall and was shocked to see Ippo, who was in charge of helping Kimura with his weight control, carrying Kimura while both are bald. Afterwards, Aoki went with the gym members to the Donaire to eat as Ippo explained Kimura's Dragonfish Blow strategy for his match. The next day, Aoki arrived to the Kōrakuen Hall for his match and watched Kimura's match against Yoshimoto Junpei, which ended in a second round knockout victory for Kimura, and Itagaki's match which ended in a decision win for Itagaki. Aoki went to the ring and fought his opponent up to the seventh round, where he defeated his opponent by knockout using basic techniques due to being unable to use his Frog Punch since he received a Kanchō from Takamura.
Aoki went with Kimura and Itagaki to the Kemuri Izakaya for a group self-reflection until Takamura arrived and made fun of them. As Aoki, Itagaki, and Kimura wondered what would happen if Ippo returned to the ring after Kimura noticed Ippo's muscles were not that of a retired fighter and his knowledge is better than when he was active, Takamura stopped their conversation, presenting them the fact that Ippo will not return to the ring unless something forces him to face the obligations he has to bear, adding that it is pointless to think that "something" will come.
At the Kamogawa gym's rooftop, Aoki, Kimura, and Itagaki tried to ask Takamura what the "something" required for Ippo to return is that he mentioned, however, Takamura claimed it didn't matter and suggested for them to be worried about what will happen to Ippo as he travelled to Mexico to see Sendō and Alfredo fight, joking that he may get into trouble. Later at the Kamogawa gym after Sendō and Ricardo won their matches in Mexico, Kimura and Itagaki were amazed of Sendō's strength while Aoki asked for them to not spoil him since he hasn't watched it yet, planning to watch a recording of it. After Takamura knocked Kimura's wig that he was wearing and revealed that he has a Kappa hairstyle due to the way his hair grows from being malnourished, Takamura deemed the Kappa hairstyle to be weird, which almost caused him to laugh. Kimura insisted that they can laugh if they want, but Aoki and Itagaki understood that it is from harsh weight control. Takamura declared that he wouldn't laugh since he knows from experience about weight control and that if anyone laughs at Kimura, they would have to pay one million yen or get deported. Ippo soon arrived from Mexico at the rooftop with them and gave everyone wrestling masks that he got from Mexico as a souvenir, with Aoki getting a Ramenman mask from Kinnikuman. When Kimura took off his Kappa wrestling mask, his wig came off along with it, showing his Kappa hairstyle which matches the mask, causing everyone, including Aoki, to laugh as Kimura shouted for everyone to pay up.
At the Kamogawa gym, while Ippo was doing mitt practise with Taihei while using his numbering system, Ippo mistakenly blocked a six (right hook) like a three (left hook), causing the mitt to hit his face and his nose to bleed. Aoki mentioned to Ippo how he is standing too close to Taihei, making it hard to dodge and hard for Taihei to hit the mitt. When Ippo noticed how Takamura did not join in when Kimura and Shinoda were fooling around in the ring earlier, Aoki and Kimura revealed to Ippo that Takamura is going to challenge the WBC super middleweight title. Yagi revealed to everyone that it will take place in Japan and gave Ippo the champion's profile, which was in English. Aoki learned from Ippo and Itagaki translating the profile to Japanese that the champion's name is Keith Dragon, along with learning about Dragon's boxing information. With Aoki and the other gym members talking about Dragon and his good relationship with the goddess of fortune, Aoki and Kimura believed that one can not succeed with just luck, as it comes down to skill in boxing. Hearing that, Takamura asked them who are the certain people that will never be able to become a world champion. Since they did not know the answer, Takamura pointed to Aoki, claiming that it is him. Aoki became saddened by the answer, as he already believes that he won't get the JBC title he is aiming for, however, Takamura explained how anyone can be a world champion, even Aoki, but they have to try and challenge for it first.
Later at the Kamogawa gym, Takamura informed his gym mates of the bad omens he had at the Yamaguchi Chiropractic. With one of the bad omens being that Tomiko called out to him, Aoki insisted that Tomiko isn't a bad omen. Later, at the Kamogawa gym's rooftop, after Itagaki told Aoki and Kimura how Ippo reacted when he mentioned how Takamura's luck may have reached it's limit, they became shocked as Ippo shows them his collection of objects of good luck that he got to put in the lucky corners of the gym to purify the evil around them. As Aoki helped his gym mates grab the good luck items to place around the gym, he asked Ippo how he should give Takamura the voodoo doll since he will not accept it as he isn't superstitious. Ippo revealed that he already slipped one in his pocket a few days ago. Later, Aoki learned from Ippo while doing roadwork, that Takamura saved a boy from getting hit by an incoming vehicle by going out into the road to grab him, then jumping on the vehicle's hood to avoid getting hit and landed safely. Aoki thought Takamura's actions to avoid getting hit were like a monkey's, but soon compared him to a gorilla when Ippo claimed that he cracked the boy's ribs accidentally when he grabbed him.
Later at the Kamogawa gym, while Aoki, Kimura, and Itagaki were talking about how Ippo's occult obsession is only hurting himself and that it won't matter in the match, Kintarō pointed out how sports players pray to God or have superstitions, believing that they should at least try if it could help any. Aoki claimed that the practise and effort one puts in is what matters. As Kintarō and Taihei wonder if they suggest that there is no God, Kamogawa told the group that it is irrelevant whether there is a God or not, as one only has their own two fists in the ring to believe in and that good luck and miracles will only appear when they believe in their fists and never betray them. The next day, the typhoon that was supposed to delay Dragon's arrival passed over, which he thought was strange. Aoki, along with Kimura and Itagaki decided to go to the shrine to pray for Takamura's victory over Dragon, who seemingly made the typhoon pass for his expected arrival. When Aoki, Kimura, and Itagaki arrived to the shrine, Ippo wondered why they came since they looked down on praying, however, they revealed that they have changed their minds when Dragon seemed to have caused the weather to bend for him, so they can only rely on God now. The four continuously prayed, throwing their coins in the slots.
On the Kamogawa gym's rooftop, Aoki, Kimura, and Itagaki watched as Ippo left with Yagi to the Otakugon to face against Dragon in mahjong, surprised to find out that Yagi was a professional mahjong player and was called the "King of the Underworld". Aoki noted that there are "No Yagis Allowed" signs at every mahjong parlour, and he was sure that Yagi will not be rusty during the mahjong match. When Itagaki wondered why Ippo is being brought with Yagi, Aoki and Kimura explained that Ippo is his bodyguard since Yagi is so good that other players try to start a fight because they think he is cheating. The night before Takamura's match against Dragon, Aoki was working at the Chūka Soba when Ippo, Kimura, Itagaki, Taihei, and Kintarō showed up because Takamura told Ippo, Taihei, and Kintarō to meet him there. However, Takamura was late. As everyone got worried about Takamura's chances against Dragon after Kimura mentioned how Dragon was not only playing around with mahjong, but also training for the match, Aoki found out from Ippo that Takamura even prayed at a shrine and wondered what he preyed for. After Aoki and everyone else became worried about Takamura when Ippo found the voodoo doll he was supposed to give to Takamura for good luck, everyone became unimpressed of Takamura as he showed up looking in bad shape, claiming that Yamaguchi Tomoko threw him out again.
The next day, Aoki went to the Ryōgoku Kokugikan to watch Takamura's WBC super middleweight title match against Dragon. He sat with Kimura, Itagaki, and Miyata as the match was about to begin. After watching the first round, Aoki, Kimura, and Itagaki decided to keep an eye on Takamura after Miyata claimed that there is something odd about Takamura. During the second round after Takamura caused Dragon to have a slip declared on him, Miyata figured that he was just over worrying about Takamura, which Aoki understood why, since after everything was going fine despite the worries, it created an out of place feeling. During the third round when Takamura began taking multiple hits from left hooks and stumbled, Aoki and Kimura thought that Takamura's right leg must be injured, however, Itagaki pointed out that Dragon is a southpaw, making the left hooks more damaging. Aoki cheered as Takamura wins in the fourth round, becoming the WBC super middleweight champion. As Aoki, Kimura, and Itagaki discuss how Takamura was getting hit by wide left swings until he suddenly countered one, Miyata revealed a suspicion that he had about Takamura not being able to see out of his right eye, however, upon observation of how Takamura pulled off the counter near the end, he felt as if he has an answer to his suspicion that he can see out of it, relieving the Kamogawa gym boxers. Aoki, Kimura, and Itagaki arrive to Takamura's room in the venue to cheer for him on his victory, however, they were shocked to find out that Takamura was being carried home by Ippo.
At the Kamogawa gym, Aoki was annoyed after seeing Ippo continuously make mistakes while holding the mitts for Kintarō and decided to hold the mitts for Kintarō instead. As Ippo saw Aoki flawlessly mitt practising with Kintarō, Ippo claimed that Aoki should become a trainer since his mitt holding skills are great, making Aoki angry since it is like suggesting for him to retire from boxing. When Yagi entered the gym, Aoki was shocked as he revealed that he had another mahjong match with Dragon, where, after Dragon was thrown off by Robo and Matsu, Yagi won.
|29||WIN||19-7-3||1999-11||Unknown||Tokyo, Japan||7(10)||TKO||Main Event|
|27||WIN||17-7-3||1998-11||Unknown||Tokyo, Japan||?(10)||TKO||Main Event|
|26||WIN||16-7-3||1998-06||Unknown||Tokyo, Japan||8(10)||TKO||Come-Back Match|
|25||LOSS||15-7-3||1997-11||Iga Shinobu||Tokyo, Japan||7(8)||KO||Class-A Tournament|
|24||WIN||15-6-3||1997-09||Jackal Itō||Tokyo, Japan||6(6), 3:00||Decision||Class-A Tournament|
|23||LOSS||14-6-3||1997-04-15||Ponsa Kureck||Yokohama, Japan||10(10), 3:00||Decision||"WORLD CONQUEST PROCLAMATION"|
|22||WIN||14-5-3||1996-09-12||Padawan Yoda||Tokyo, Japan||9(10)||KO||"OPERATION WORLD DOMINATION"|
|21||DRAW||13-5-3||1996-03||Papaya Dachiu||Tokyo, Japan||10(10), 3:00||Decision||Opening Match|
|20||DRAW||13-5-2||1995-08-27||Papaya Dachiu||Yokohama, Japan||10(10), 3:00||Decision||"A PASSING POINT"|
|19||DRAW||13-5-1||1995-04-13||Imae Katsutaka||Tokyo, Japan||10(10), 3:00||Decision||"BOXING MARTIAL ARTS"|
JBC Lightweight Title Match
|18||WIN||13-5-0||1994-08-20||Paddy Magramo||Tokyo, Japan||10(10), 3:00||Decision||"PROOF OF POWER"|
|17||WIN||12-5-0||1993-08-30||Boy Allade||Tokyo, Japan||3(10)||TKO||"SOMETHING WILL HAPPEN!?"|
|16||WIN||11-5-0||1993-07-11||Snake Thomas||Tokyo, Japan||1(10)||KO||"THE ROAD BACK"|
|15||LOSS||10-5-0||1992-09||Jackal Itō||Tokyo, Japan||6(8), 1:18||KO||Class-A Tournament Semi-Finals Match|
|14||WIN||10-4-0||1992-07||Bull Ushida||Tokyo, Japan||6(6)||KO||Class-A Tournament|
|13||WIN||9-4-0||1992-04-20||Arman Garcia||Tokyo, Japan||7(10)||KO||"FLIGHT"|
|12||WIN||8-4-0||1991-9||Unknown||Tokyo, Japan||10(10)||KO||First Match Shown|
|?||LOSS||?-?-0||19XX||Unknown||Tokyo, Japan||1(?), 0:30||KO||Loss against a South paw opponent|
|2/3||LOSS||1/2-1-0||198X||Unknown||Tokyo, Japan||?(4)||N/A||First loss on his 2nd or 3rd match|
|1||WIN||1-0-0||1988||Yamanaka Hiroshi||Tokyo, Japan||?(4)||KO||Pro Debut Match|
This list does not include the numerous spars Aoki has had with his fellow gym mates.
Aoki has a tanned complexion with a body build that fits an orthodox lightweight in-fighter. He has curly dark brown hair in a short afro hair style with a prominent hairline. During his delinquent days, he had a more noticeable prominent hairline with shorter hair. He has dark brown eyes, large nose and pointed ears. In addition, Aoki has relatively short thick eyebrows and a wrinkle on his forehead.
After Aoki's draw against Papaya Dachiu, due to a promise, Takamura cut Aoki's hair into a broccoli-style.
During his youth, Aoki was known for his troubled school life as a delinquent. He, along with long-time friend Kimura, were known to participate in countless fights and brawls with 'rival' schools, with Aoki being the more aggressive and violent of the two. Throughout the series Aoki has shown a rather immature, mischievous and boastful personality, contrary to Kimura who is generally more laid back. Despite his often tough-looking demeanor, his overconfidence and goofy personality in and outside the ring usually earn him the frequent ridicule of other characters, and he is usually the butt of many of Takamura's pranks and attacks. Due to this, many characters, even to an extent Ippo, indirectly look down on and sympathize with Aoki and his embarrassing antics. However, he is mostly easygoing and is able to get along well with others, also usually being the one to help Ippo out with his girl-problems when around Mashiba Kumi. A long-running gag is that Aoki keeps revealing impressive talents, that sadly have no connection with boxing. His prankster personality extends to his own teammates and is most notably reflected in his attitude towards Ippo and (at times) Takamura. Together with Kimura, he is paired into the Aokimura duo by Itagaki Manabu.
Aoki's taste in women is seen as a running joke where, in contrast to the tastes of his gym mates, Aoki places his preferences in women considered 'ugly' by everyone else. Aoki admits that he gets nervous around beautiful women, specifically his ex-girlfriend Miyuki (who was caught cheating on Aoki with another guy), and is unable to make any further advances on them. However, surprisingly, Aoki seems to be very kind towards women and he himself prefers to judge them firsthand not by their looks, but as a person, unlike Kimura and Takamura. Even though he may have a taste for 'ugly' girls, he is able to hold a girlfriend, Tomiko, longer then any other members of the group.
Despite not being a terrible boxer overall, Aoki's boxing is largely downplayed in the series, making him pale in comparison to boxers like Takamura, Ippo, Itagaki and oftentimes, Kimura. His outlandish personality is usually reflected in his boxing matches where, due to his comparatively unexceptional boxing skills, he constantly thinks of odd techniques to deceive and confuse opponents. He uses unorthodox methods to ruin his opponents' rhythm; it was stated by Kimura that no one is better at ruining a boxer's rhythm than Aoki. He is also a decent out-boxer, and able to switch from orthodox to southpaw. Lacking any special skills to speak of, Aoki's matches tend to end up becoming extremely messy mud fights, much to the displeasure of his audiences. Eventually, his 'Frog Punch' became a trademark and earned him the nickname 'Leap Frog' or 'Frog Man' by his audiences. It is then mentioned by characters in the series that Aoki's boxing ability can be comparable to that of a national champion's.
Because of a previous right straight from Takamura that caused him to flinch every time he faced a right straight in the ring, Aoki's potential was held back a significant amount. This has made him easier to hit, making him lose patience and resulting in the many "mud fights" he's had throughout the years, but this was fixed by having him wear special headgear while having Takamura throw repeated right straights at him. Takamura also admits that Aoki's natural boxing ability can be greater of that of Kimura's should he overcome his weakness. Aoki also has a weak jaw.
- "I really was in love. She was a good woman, so she made me happy. My pride and joy, but then it hit me, she's really cute...and I was always nervous about it that someday she' leave me..." - (About Miyuki, in Round 218.
- "Just one punch's enough! I wanna give that smug fce of his one good shot...I'll challenge him hundreds of times if I have to.." - (About Takamura), in Round 219.
- "You need to stop thinking of people only based on their faces. If you're stuck on the cover, you'll never see what's inside. " - To Kimura after first win, in Round 222.
- "The one I admire has gone somewhere that I can never reach, and my kouhai has passed me by. I wanna catch up. I don't care about fame, I want to be something in the World that I love. I want to leave a mark on history!!" - Aoki thinking about his Title match against Imae in Round 442.
- "Seems like you didn't study enough, you really think I would fight in a title match without a new present for you?" - To Imae, after the weight-in in Round 444.
- "This new technique is an attack to your instinct, it's impossible to defend." - About his Look Away in Round 446.
- "...You're throwing away your goddess of victory!? I'll show you the strength of a man with someone to look over them.." - Round 446, while talking to Imae in the bathroom.
- "You hang in there because of what you've built for yourself! After all that hard work, what's the point in just giving up..!? If having no talent makes it okay to give up, then what was the point in ever trying...!? " - Round 946 , to Kojima Hisato.
- "Aoki" (青木) means the shrub, aucuba japonica. Furthermore, "ao" (青) means "blue" or "green", while "ki" (木) means "tree".
- "Masaru" (勝) means victory.
- On top of being a skilled boxer, Aoki is incredibly skilled in baseball, bowling and cooking. However, he does not know how to swim.
- In Round 948, Aoki's baseball stats was listed, where Aoki has a ERA (Earned Run Average) of 0.70 and a batting average of 0.857.
- It should be noted that any ERA under 1.00 is rarely seen in baseball. Usually only pitcher with a low number of innings pitched, or a relief pitcher having a great year. Only 3 pitchers have been under a 1.00 for their careers, where all were at the turn of the century in the 1900's.
- Normally a batting average higher than .400 is nearly impossible usually only with players with a limited at bats. Ted Williams was the last player to post a .400 batting average in a season in 1941.
- Aoki is a fan of Roberto Durán, having a poster of him in his room, as well as mentioning him a couple of times throughout the story.
- This indirectly makes Aoki a fan of Takamura, as Takamura is based on Roberto Durán.
- In Round 151, Morikawa listed Aoki's fight record as 14 matches - 10 wins, 4 losses, 4 KO's prior to the semi-final match for the Class A Tournament. However, in the match poster for his title match with Katsutaka Imae, Morikawa listed Aoki's record as 16 matches - 10 wins, 6 losses, 6 KO's. Even though Aoki's fought in 4 matches since Round 151. Based on Round 151 record, Aoki's current record is 27 matches - 17 wins, 7 losses, 3 draws.