Minoru Fujii (藤井稔, Fujii Minoru) is a semi-recurring character in Hajime no Ippo.
He is a sports journalist, who works for the Monthly Boxing Fan. A veteran reporter with a keen eye for potential, Fujii is constantly following with his partners the careers of many Japanese boxers. While most other reporters cover only the most important events, Fujii is known to closely report on relatively unknown, upcoming boxers who are considered underdogs.
- 1 Background
- 2 History
- 2.1 Part I
- 2.1.1 Early Days Arc
- 2.1.2 Rookie King Tournament: First Rounder Arc
- 2.1.3 Rookie King Tournament: Finals Arc
- 2.1.4 Two Rookie Kings Arc
- 2.1.5 Speed Star Arc
- 2.1.6 White Fang Arc
- 2.1.7 Challenge for the Throne Arc
- 2.1.8 Road Back Arc
- 2.1.9 Mountain Training Arc
- 2.1.10 Lallapallooza Arc
- 2.1.11 Execution Arc
- 2.1.12 First Step Arc
- 2.1.13 Bloody Cross Arc
- 2.1.14 Revenge Arc
- 2.1.15 Proof of Power Arc
- 2.1.16 Battle of Hawk Arc
- 2.2 Part II
- 2.2.1 Submarine Wars Arc
- 2.2.2 Dragon Slayer Arc
- 2.2.3 A Passing Point Arc
- 2.2.4 Spirit of a Weed Arc
- 2.2.5 Phantom Card Arc
- 2.2.6 Father's Back Arc
- 2.2.7 Chaos Arc
- 2.2.8 Seiken Arc
- 2.2.9 Scratch Arc
- 2.2.10 Operation World Domination Arc
- 2.2.11 Winner Takes All Arc
- 2.2.12 Red Lightning Arc
- 2.2.13 In the Jungle Arc
- 2.2.14 Chronos Arc
- 2.2.15 Blind Step Arc
- 2.2.16 Speed Zone Arc
- 2.2.17 Go to the World Arc
- 2.2.18 Goals to Reach Arc
- 2.2.19 Seeking Heights Arc
- 2.2.20 10 Months in the Making Arc
- 2.3 Part III
- 2.1 Part I
- 3 Appearance
- 4 Personality
- 5 Quotes
- 6 Gallery
- 7 Trivia
- 8 References
Fujii and Shinoda were friends who were amateur boxers partaking in city tournaments. One day after a spar, Shinoda announced to Fujii that he is going to turn pro, and looks forward to seeing him in the ring someday. However, Fujii revealed to him that he thinks he is done as a boxer. Shinoda thought they shared the same dream- To go to the Olympics or become a champion as a pro. Fujii instead wanted him to go and make that dream come true, while he decided to report on boxing instead. The two made a promise for Shinoda to become a JBC champion, then world champion, as Fujii writes about him as he makes his way up. At some point, Fujii began working as a journalist at the Monthly Boxing Fan.
Three years after Date Eiji retired after losing to WBA champion Ricardo Martinez, Fujii visited the Nakadai Boxing Gym and wondered if Date would be able to challenge the world title again, Nakadai did not believe he would come back, however.
Fujii, along with his assistant while driving, noted how Japan has almost everything but world champions. He mentioned that Miyata Ichirō is apparently good despite not having a pro debut. Fujii visited the Kamogawa Boxing Gym in order to talk to Miyata. He was thrilled when he heard that Miyata was about to have a spar. He watched the spar between Makunouchi Ippo and Miyata. At first, he didn't believe in Ippo, just watching the spar for the prodigy, Miyata. After the spar, Fujii was surprised at the outcome, and quickly gained interest in Ippo.
After Ippo's win against Oda Yūsuke, Fujii noted how Ippo, Miyata, and Mashiba all had victories in their matches so far. When his partner doubted Ippo, Fujii noted that Ippo grows each time he fights. Fujii and his partner entered the Kamogawa Boxing Gym in order to meet Ippo. When he saw Ippo, he realised that Ippo was using the Peek-a-Boo Style. After Ippo was done training, Fujii informed him that Miyata and Mashiba were winning their matches and that it is almost time for the East Japan Rookie King Tournament, wishing him luck.
After not only Ippo and Miyata, but also Mashiba (who the public had high expectations for) became professional boxers, Fujii covered the East Japan Rookie King Tournament where the trio will be participating along with prodigy Hayami Ryūichi.
With Ippo winning the first match of the tournament, Fujii entered the gym and showed everyone a tape of Ippo's next opponent, Kobashi Kenta, who beat Yoshida Mitsuo. He then showed everyone a video of Hayami.
With the semi-finals of the A-Block being Ippo against Hayami, Fujii visited the Otowa Boxing Gym to get comments from Hayami. Hayami revealed his secret goal of wanting to be a charismatic hero, bringing back Japan's spirit of loving boxing, using the media as a resource. After seeing Hayami's basic, but tough training, he believed that Ippo may lose. When the day of Ippo's match against Hayami arrived, Fujii watched as Ippo won the match. Fujii later watched Miyata and Mashiba's match that ended with Mashiba winning. The next day, Fujii visited the Tōhō Boxing Gym to get comments from Mashiba. Fujii told Mashiba that while he had no interest in the accident of stepping on Miyata's foot, Ippo does, as Miyata was his goal. When he asked for Mashiba's thoughts of Ippo coming to him with determination, he became scared of Mashiba's laughing and cruel response
After discovering Mashiba's past and having a sister named Mashiba Kumi, he visited the Kamogawa Boxing Gym to inform Ippo of the details. Fujii came back to the Tōhō Boxing Gym and witnessed Mashiba's Flicker Jab and Chopping Right hitting a sandbag. Fujii watched Ippo fight Mashiba in the finals of the East Japan Rookie King Tournament. After Ippo won, Fujii was impressed by Ippo as the predictions were 50-50.
While Ippo was inside Kōrakuen Hall to watch his gym mates matches, Fujii introduced JBC featherweight champion Date Eiji to Ippo. When Ippo and Okita Keigo had a match scheduled, Fujii and his partner arrived to the Kōrakuen Hall to watch the match. Fujii noted the reason why the tickets are high priced and outside the hall is lively despite the rain was because of the semi-final card being Ippo vs. Okita, the current and former Rookie Kings.
Fujii went to the Kamogawa Boxing Gym to show Ippo the magazine about his fight against Okita. He then showed the article on Miyata's first match in the overseas against Rusak Paddy ending in a draw. After hearing from Yagi that Ippo quit boxing, Fujii visited Ippo at the Makunouchi Fishing Boat to see his private life and give him tapes of Saeki Takuma. Fujii then attempted to stop Ippo from retiring, as he did not want to see talent go to waste. However, Ippo apologised to him and told him to leave him alone. Fujii left, believing he will come back as boxing is like a drug, which is why boxers come back after retiring.
After discovering Ippo came back to boxing, Fujii and his assistant went to the Nakadai Boxing Gym to watch Saeki and Date spar.
When Date fought against Satō Takashi in his third title defence, Fujii was watching. Fujii then asked Ippo how he felt, as Ippo was doing harsh training due to his upcoming opponent being Alexander Volg Zangief. He then took Ippo to Date's dressing room. When the day of the Class A Tournament finals arrived, Fujii watched the finals with Ippo against Volg.
When a public sparring session commenced in the Kamogawa gym for Ippo's match against the champion Date, Fujii was watching Ippo's spar against a fourth ranked boxer from the Philippines. After the spar and the reporters left the gym, the Filipino boxer left the gym and talked with Fujii about how powerful Ippo's left liver blow was. Fujii then overlooked a private training session and witnessed Ippo delivering a punch from pinpoint range. After watching Ippo's defeat by the hands of the champion, Date, Fujii and his assistant witnessed Sendō Takeshi and Volg staring at each other. Fujii realised that Date may relinquish the belt, leaving the throne open for the new generation of featherweights. Fujii then noticed Miyata walking away, surprising Fujii who did not know he was back already. His assistant insisted to get a review from Miyata, however, Fujii told him it was not the time.
After seeing the results of the fight for the JBC featherweight title between Sendō and Volg, Fujii called the Kamogawa gym to talk to Ippo. He informed Ippo about the Otowa gym cutting their contract with Volg after he lost and was being sent back to Russia. Later, when Miyata was fighting against Li Chon Pir, Fujii was watching the match and noted how no one expected Miyata to be as strong when he came back from overseas as he was. When Ippo's comeback match against Ponchai Chuwatana arrived, he was watching the match with Fujii. During the match, Fujii was shocked when he saw Ippo use Jack Dempsey's Dempsey Roll and explained the Dempsey Roll to Umezawa Masahiko.
After reports of Takamura killing a bear, Fujii and other reporters came to the Kamogawa Boxing Gym in order to hear details from Takamura. When Kamogawa got angry and told everyone to leave, Fujii stayed behind to talk to Takamura. Fujii told Takamura that he figured that he would be nervous about his upcoming world match, not knowing that it was supposed to be a secret kept from Takamura. Fujii apologised, however Kamogawa told him that having Takamura knowing it may be for the best. Fujii then introduced a female sportswriter, Īmura Mari to the Kamogawa gym members. Later, Fujii went to the Kōrakuen Hall to attend Takamura's title defence against Itō Takaaki.
Fujii visited the Kamogawa gym after hearing Ippo finish five straight knockout spars. There, Fujii revealed that Mari went to Osaka to interview Sendō. When Mari came back to Tokyo, and after interviewing Ippo, Mari told Fujii how the two boxers told her the same thing but worded differently that the match was not about the belt. He then commented how only Ippo and Sendō can understand their bond. Fujii made a prediction that the odds of the match are even.
The day before the match, Fujii went to the Kōrakuen Hall for the weight check between Ippo and Sendō. The next day, Fujii watched the title match with Mari. After Ippo won and became the JBC featherweight champion, Fujii was worried about Sendō, since he thought losing to the same man twice would cause his charisma to take a blow, and wound his pride. Mari asked him if he was thinking that Sendō would retire, but Fujii believed it would be hard for Sendō to face his fans that cheered for him.
When Kimura's title match against JBC junior lightweight champion Mashiba arrived, Fujii went with Mari to the Kōrakuen Hall to watch the match. They discussed how the match poster was calling the match an "Execution" making the ring seem like a crime scene. They noticed Kōrakuen Hall was sold out of tickets, which only Ippo and Mashiba are able to draw a huge crowd for different reasons. Fujii agreed, noting that the people in today's crowd are different, where they are looking forward to a tragedy that will occur with Mashiba's madness, similar to watching a snuff film. Fujii thought it might be different however, since he heard Kimura had a secret weapon. He then watched the match. During the match, Fujii left to talk to Kimura's parents, who had left the seating area, asking why they left. Kimura's father explained how Kimura became a delinquent because of him and later discovered boxing and became happy after years of using his fists for violence. Fujii then told him how his son is doing his best and that the match has not ended yet, encouraging the father to go back and watch. Mari told Fujii to come back and watch when Kimura finally landed a hit in the seventh round. After Mashiba won, Fujii and Mari could not get a comment from Mashiba due to him leaving early. When they headed to Kimura for a comment, he revealed that he planned to retire instead of a rematch.
When news about JBC featherweight champion Ippo fighting the former JBC junior featherweight champion Sanada Kazuki, Fujii compared Sanada to Date as the same type and believed that predictions were hard to make. Fujii and the other reporters planned to greet the boxers, but Sanada was doing a closed practice at the Kinoshita Boxing Gym. When Fujii arrived to the Kamogawa gym, who could not tell Ippo anything about Sanada, but asked him how it felt having boxers train just to take him off his throne. Hearing his answer, Fujii believed that he does not feel the pressure yet. With Takamura wanting to know where Mari is, Fujii revealed that she went to the Imperial College of Medicine to interview Sanada. Three weeks prior to the match, Fujii and Mari attended a public spar by Sanada. They saw Sanada spar a junior lightweight JBC third ranker. They were not sure he could force Sanada to show everything, but Dankichi told them they planned to show it all if the sparring partner can last to the end. During the spar, Sanada showed the Hien, and his palpation ability, however, he was unable to show his last weapon, as the opponent was knocked out before it happened. Fujii then reported his findings at the Kamogawa gym. Seeing Ippo train with Kamogawa, Fujii noticed that Kamogawa has a plan against the Hien, thinking how the two coaches make the upcoming match exciting. Later, Fujii attended the weigh-in. Fujii then attended Ippo's title defence against Sanada. The match ended in Ippo winning.
Fujii went to the OPBF featherweight champion Arnie Gregory's spar. after Gregory finished the session, his manager, Mr. Sakaguchi claimed to already be looking for their next opponent after Miyata. Mr. Sakaguchi's further comments made Fujii believe that he was making light of Japanese fighters. After Mr. Sakaguchi revealed that they were holding back a technique called the "Bloody Cross", Fujii went to the Kamogawa gym to discuss what happened. Fujii compared Gregory's strength to that of Ippo'a and that the odds are 7-3 in Miyata's favour, however, he was concerned about the manager's calmness. Later, Fujii attended the OPBF featherweight title match between challenger Miyata and champion Gregory. After Miyata won and became the champion, Fujii informed Miyata that Mr. Sakaguchi left alone, with his and Gregory's ties cut.
When Date was to fight the WBA featherweight champion Ricardo Martinez, Fujii went to the Narita Terminal 1 to witness Ricardo and Bill Stewart's arrival to Tokyo. Later, Ricardo requested a spar against Ippo at the Otowa gym. Fujii went to the spar and had high anticipation with Ippo being serious to fight Ricardo. When Ricardo began dominating Ippo with fast lefts, Kamogawa explained to the confused Fujii about Ricardo's motionless jabs. Fujii was in shock as Ricardo stopped the Dempsey Roll effortlessly with his lefts. The spar ended when Ricardo and Bill stopped the spar as Ricardo did not want to hurt Ippo's pride. Fujii later arrived to the Ryōgoku Kokugikan to watch the WBA title match between Date and Ricardo. Before the match began. Fujii informed Ippo in the audience seats of Date's request to meet only him in his changing room. After the title match ended in Ricardo's win, Fujii went to the Kamogawa gym to inform the gym members of Date's condition. When Takamura insisted for Ippo to go see Date, Fujii drove Ippo to the General Hospital to see him.
Fujii attended the weigh-in for Ippo's second featherweight title defence match against Yamada Naomichi. Fujii then watched the title match, interested to see who improved the most out of the two who once sparred together at the same gym, realising there were reasons to worry about Ippo's chance of victory despite odds being at 9 to 1. The match ended in Ippo's victory.
When Takamura's WBC junior middleweight title match against Bryan Hawk was coming up, Fujii went to the Kamogawa gym and revealed details about Hawk. He explained how Hawk rarely trains, winning with only natural talent, taking the WBC title after training for only nine days. When Takamura expressed how Hawk must be training because of him, Fujii revealed that when Hawk heard the opponent he was fighting is a Japanese, he hung up without even a name. Fujii later entered the Kamogawa gym and showed Ippo, Aoki, and Kimura tapes of Hawk's matches consisting of two ring outs and one that was almost a ring out until his opponent was saved by a referee. Fujii stated that while Takamura surpasses Japan, Hawk may surpass the world. Fujii and Mari later witnessed Hawk and Miguel Zale's arrival to Tokyo.
Fujii attended Hawk's public spar at the Kinoshita gym and later the weigh-in and press conference for the WBC title match between Takamura and Hawk. Fujii asked Hawk if his antagonising nature towards Takamura was because he was afraid. His manager, Miguel, answers instead. Hawk's actions at the press conference made Fujii and the rest of the reporters outraged.
When Ippo's fourth JBC featherweight title defence opponent was scheduled to be Shimabukuro Iwao, Fujii and Mari went to Okinawa to interview Shimabukuro. When they arrive, they saw him going into the ocean and not coming up for air for close to 13 minutes. They start to get worried, but the coach of the Mensore Okinawa Seaside Gym assured them to not worry. When Shimabukuro came back with a huge fish, Fujii and Mari asked him how he would defeat the Dempsey Roll as he claimed in a newspaper article. They became disappointed when they discover it was the coach's exaggerated words and was used for publicity. However, they find out from Shimabukuro that while he has no strategy against the technique, he has a belief it will be defeated, and defeating it would defeat Ippo. After ending the interview with Shimabukuro revealing his way of defeating the Dempsey Roll would be an exchange of blows, Fujii wondered which boxer will need to go the surface for the battle of endurance.
Fujii and Mari went to the Kōrakuen Hall for the weigh-in between Ippo and Shimabukuro. The reporters were surprised by Shimabukuro's muscles and were surprised even further when Ippo accidentally stripped himself naked. Leaving the building, they commented on how there is a second title on the line that may be more important than the champion's. Fujii attended the match which resulted in Ippo's victory.
While Ippo, Takamura, and the rest of their friends were reviewing tapes of Ippo's fifth JBC featherweight title defence opponent, Sawamura Ryūhei, at Takamura's house, Fujii entered and gave details about Sawamura. He revealed how Sawamura plays with people in the ring and attacks others in the street. Later, Fujii went to the Nagoya Oniyaritome Boxing Gym while Sawamura was partaking in a public spar. The coach, Karil informed Fujii about Sawamura's Bullet and Flash. Fujii watched as Sawamura brutally beat his sparring partner while having an appearance of a starved mad dog due to his weight management.
When Takamura's next match was the WBC middleweight title match against David Eagle, Fujii and Mari went to the Narita Terminal 1 and witnessed Eagle's arrival to Japan, along with his comments to the press, seeing that the champion from America was nothing like Hawk, who came from the same country. Fujii and Mari attended Takamura, Aoki, and Kimura's weigh-in session with their opponents and also Takamura and Eagle's press conference at the Yokohama Arena.
Wanting to cover the East Japan Rookie King Tournament semi-finals, Fujii went to the Kamogawa gym to interview Itagaki. When he got there, he discussed with the gym members how the tournament has a similar layout of the time the tournament had Ippo in it. Though he came to see Itagaki, he found out Itagaki was not there. Fujii went to the Sayama gym to see Itagaki's opponent, Makino Fumito. When Makino lamented on the fact that his section was small on the magazine article, Fujii explained that Itagaki and Imai Kyōsuke's coverage was bigger due to them being popular amateurs with impressive fights. The Sayama coach had Makino leave to go train and revealed to Fujii how Makino felt bad after hearing others talk poor about his first win against Itagaki, however, Makino continued to train even harder, and the coach planned to show the "elites" the strength of an underdog.
When the East Japan Rookie King Tournament semi-finals arrived, Fujii went to the Kōrakuen Hall with Mari. Seeing Mashiba in the audience seats, Fujii sat next to him and got his opinions about Makino's Hitman Style. While watching Itagaki fight Makino, he deemed Itagaki a genius. Fujii watched as Itagaki defeated Makino in the second round by knockout. Fujii watched Imai's match against Terai Makoto, which ended in Imai's victory with a one round knockout. Fujii was excited to see Itagaki and Imai make it to the finals since it reminded him of Ippo and Miyata's Rookie King finals match that never materialised.
At the Monthly Boxing Fan, Fujii was discussing with his fellow reporters about Itagaki Manabu and Imai Kyōsuke's East Japan Rookie King Tournament finals and how the two have the most skill and potential out of all weight classes. After asking for predictions and hearing Mari's prediction of a 8-2 in Imai's favour, Fujii gave his thoughts, claiming that Ippo demonstrated a way to beat an out-boxer a few days ago, and that after watching that, Itagaki may not think he can do it.
When the day of Itagaki and Imai's weigh-in arrived, Fujii went with Mari to attend the weigh-in, commenting how it is not just about the Rookie King title, either boxer could take the featherweight title in the near future.
At the Monthly Boxing Fan, Fujii expressed his disappointment with the news that Eastern Rookie King Itagaki would not fight the Western Rookie King Hoshi Hiroyuki in the All Japan Rookie King Tournament due to his injuries, so they will have to rely on next year's big news. His assistant asked if he is talking about Takamura, but Fujii claimed that they need to pay attention to next year's Champion Carnival since Ippo and Mashiba will most likely relinquish their belts afterwards as they have trouble finding competition in Japan. Fujii explained that while Mashiba doesn't have an opponent yet, Ippo has a JBC title defence against Take Keīchi, who recently became ranked first.
When Ippo's seventh JBC featherweight title defence arrived, Fujii and Mari went to the Kōrakuen Hall to watch the match. After watching Ippo defeat Take, Fujii went to Ippo's room in the venue, where he and the other reporters were shocked and excited when Kamogawa revealed that they would be challenging the OPBF champion Miyata next if Miyata wins his title defence.
Outside the Kōrakuen Hall after having watched Miyata win in his fifth OPBF featherweight title defence match against the sixth OPBF ranker, Che Jounbong, Fujii and Mari approached Ippo, Mashiba, and Kumi and offered the group to have dinner with them, with the meal being paid by the editorial department. They left to go eat after the three accepted the offer. Later, Fujii and Mari attended the press conference for Takamura's first WBC middleweight title defence match with Richard Fox. Afterwards, they went to the Monthly Boxing Fan, where Fujii noted that Takamura's match will be a good thing for their magazine, since there would have been a void without it due to Ippo and Miyata's match being postponed. After Fujii stressed that they can only rely on Takamura, Mari revealed that they can now also highlight Mashiba, as an article was just printed out that he would be fighting Sawamura in the Champion Carnival as his seventh JBC junior lightweight title defence match opponent. Later, when Kimura's rematch against Eleki Battery, Aoki's rematch against Papaya Dachiu, Ishii Yūta's bantamweight world title match, and Takamura's first WBC middleweight title defence match against Fox arrived, Fujii went to the Ryōgoku Kokugikan. Before the event began, he met Ippo and Itagaki and informed the two about the recently revealed match between Mashiba and Sawamura. After watching the matches, Fujii expressed his surprise to Mari about Yūta's failed attempt to get a world title and believed that the fire of the Japanese boxing world would be put out if Takamura's loses his title.
Later, Fujii went to the Kōrakuen Hall to attend Mashiba and Sawamura's weigh-in. The next day, he arrived to the Kōrakuen Hall to watch Mashiba's seventh JBC junior lightweight title defence match against Sawamura. He watched in shock as Mashiba knocked Sawamura out of the ring in the sixth round while the referee had the match paused, causing Mashiba to lose by disqualification. When Fujii heard that the former champion, Mashiba, received a suspension from boxing to a maximum of a year and the JBC junior lightweight champion Sawamura got in a motorcycle accident after leaving the Kōrakuen Hall and was sent to the hospital in critical condition, he went to the Kamogawa gym to inform the gym members.
Fujii and Mari went to the Kamogawa gym to interview Itagaki before his match against Hoshi Hiroyuki. They asked him if Ippo relinquishes his JBC featherweight belt to fight the OPBF champion Miyata, who would be the one to take Ippo's place as the new JBC featherweight champion. Itagaki commented that he will make sure his senpai's belt returns to the Kamogawa gym. As Fujii and Mari left the gym, Fujii mentioned how he wishes that he could see how Ippo would handle the new generation of boxers, and that Itagaki is the only one from the new generation that won't fight Ippo. After Mari pointed out that Ippo is relinquishing the belt, so there won't be a fight between old and new boxers, Fujii believed that that is not guaranteed, adding that while he wants to see Ippo fight at world level, one can't predict what will happen, as fate in the ring can be complex. Fujii noted that two fighters with intense feelings who fail to come to alignment and their match never happens because where one ends up in boxing is unpredictable.
At the Monthly Boxing Fan, Fujii and the rest of the staff were talking about Itagaki's win against Hoshi. Fujii noted that there are only a few candidates that can succeed Ippo, however, Itagaki is far ahead of them. The first thing he and others thought was what would happen if Itagaki fought Ippo, believing that it would be a good match. Interested in the Kamogawa gym's momentum due to Ippo, Takamura, and Itagaki's accomplishments, he decided to go to the Kamogawa gym with Mari to cover a variety of topics to create a special feature on the Monthly Boxing Fan magazine about their development. When they arrive, they decided to pass on it after seeing Aoki chasing Ippo around the gym with Takamura's faeces on his head. Later, Fujii went to the Kamogawa gym and saw Yagi put up the poster for Takamura's upcoming second WBC middleweight title defence match. Fujii deemed it almost like a "Kamogawa gym carnival" since it had Aoki, Kimura, and Itagaki fighting in it as well. After Yagi claimed that it would be one if Ippo and Miyata's match was the semi-final like it originally was supposed to be, Fujii expressed the disappointment of the press and fans that the two sides has cancelled it. Fujii asked when Ippo's next match would be since he hasn't fought since his match against Take, however, Yagi told him that he is still away from the gym.
When Ippo and Jimmy Sisphar's weigh-in arrived, Fujii went to the Kōrakuen Hall to attend it. Afterwards, Fujii noticed how Sisphar was acting made it seem like he is Punch Drunk and wondered if Sisphar's statement of using a knockout victory against Ippo as a message to Miyata meaning that he trying to send a rematch challenge to Miyata. Fujii and Mari assumed that the Kamogawa side doesn't know how Sisphar fights due to the short amount of time the match was scheduled, however, Kamogawa commented that he figured Sisphar is a rushing in-fighter due to the scars.
Fujii went to the Ryōgoku Kokugikan to watch Aoki, Kimura, Itagaki, and Takamura's matches. Fujii watched Itagaki's match against Alex Harker, Kimura's match against Michael Gehon, and Aoki's match against Padawan Yoda where all three Kamogawa gym members won. Fujii watched the main event starring Takamura's second WBC middleweight title defence in his beetle outfit, throwing only the new Beetle's Uppercut many times at Rickey Mouse until he won. Later, Fujii received a call from Ippo and Miyata's father to watch videos of Randy Boy Junior's matches. After Miyata's father realised that Randy is the son of the boxer who ended his career, Fujii noted how shocked he was as well, believing that Miyata having a match against Randy is destiny. After Miyata's father left, Ippo knew that Miyata will go through with the match no matter what anyone says, even if his father lectured him all night at home. Fujii revealed to him that Miyata and his father do not live in the same home, as Miyata moved away from his father's house after he left the Kamogawa gym and his father sold their old house as he does not need anything from the past.
At the Monthly Boxing Fan, as the staff became worried that they won't be able to get the coverage of Ippo's next match that is one month away due to the sudden announcement, Fujii planned to head out to the Kamogawa gym, however, his assistant informed him that Mari already left. When Fujii found out from his assistant that the opponent is the Filipino featherweight champion, Malcolm Gedo, and hears of his record, he thought that it was unremarkable. Believing that Ippo's match won't draw many fans due to Gedo's recent lost against a lower JBC ranker, he was shocked to see the match poster that claimed that the winner would earn two million yen. When the day of Ippo's match against Gedo arrived, Fujii went to the Kōrakuen Hall to watch it. As Ippo and Gedo arrive to the ring, Fujii noted to Mari how there is a slim chance that if he loses, not only the money will be lost, but also his ranking and cheers, making Ippo pressured to win. Fujii watched as Ippo defeats Gedo by knockout in the eighth round.
Fujii visited the Kamogawa gym in hopes on interviewing Ippo. After finding out he is still recovering and away from the gym, Fujii began to leave before being dragged into interviewing Aoki, Kimura, and Itagaki, who are going to participate in the Class A Tournament. They asked Fujii to fill out a power grid on them. Kimura and Aoki's are circular, while Itagaki's is more triangular. After Aoki and Kimura made fun of Itagaki for being unbalanced, Fujii explained that if one imagined the power grid shapes as rocks and is placed in a square filter, the bigger rocks like Takamura would not fall through the filter and would stay in the pro ring, but pointed rocks like Itagaki and Ippo can also stay, even if they are small rocks by putting their best attribute forward. After leaving the Kamogawa gym, Fujii remembered the time when Ippo was partaking in the Class A Tournament, and was interested in Itagaki's chances in the upcoming tournament.
Later, Fujii went to the Otowa gym to watch OPBF interim champion Randy's public spar session, where he watched Randy defeat three ranked fighters from a higher weight class. After Randy's manager, Mr. Sakaguchi wanted a boxer that relies on his feet, Fujii suggested Ippo, but the Otowa coach told him that he isn't a boxer that relies on his feet. Mari suggested to have Itagaki spar with him, which was accepted. Fujii watched as Itagaki was defeated in the second round and learned that Mr. Sakaguchi's goal is to have Randy dethrone the WBA featherweight champion, Ricardo. While Fujii was interested to see Ippo about to fight Randy for one round, Mr. Sakaguchi stopped the spar before it began and the two left the Otowa gym. While Mari thought that Mr. Sakaguchi was annoying, Fujii believed that he made the right decision, as there is no need to have Randy fight a world ranker in a spar if they might face Ippo in an actual match. After Itagaki claimed that boxers who observe and take their distance are in for the worst match up against Randy, Fujii and Mari asked if someone who has more experience could figure out what Randy does. Itagaki answered that no matter how experienced one is, a Switch-Hitter like Randy is a rarity, causing his opponents to not have any sparring options. Fujii concluded that Randy is the worst match up for even the more experienced out-boxer like Miyata. When Imai entered the gym, he revealed that him and a southpaw boxer sparred with Miyata at the same time, which Fujii acknowledged that that is Miyata's strategy of going against a Switch-Hitter and not knowing when a switch will occur.
When Takamura, Miyata, Aoki, Kimura, and their opponents' weigh-in arrived, Fujii went to the Kōrakuen Hall to attend it.
When the weigh-in between Ippo and the Indonesian featherweight champion, Wally arrived, Fujii and Mari went to the Kōrakuen Hall. Fujii was uninterested due to Wally only having a record of three matches against a world ranker, seeing no chance of Wally winning. When Mari claimed that Miguel Zale was the one who picked Wally to be his boxer to train, Fujii could only think about why a famous trainer like Miguel would agree to a reckless fight. When Fujii and Mari entered the weigh-in room, they were shocked to see Wally hugging Ippo and Miguel hugging Kamogawa against their will. Fujii felt his motivation go away as the Wally and Ippo acted easygoing. The next day, Fujii arrived to the Kōrakuen Hall to watch Ippo fight Wally. He watched as Ippo won by knockout in the eight round. Outside the venue, Fujii mentioned to Mari how Wally will most likely be labelled a genius after the match due to him cutting Ippo off from starting his attacks that make him the "God of Wind". While Mari thought it was a typical match for Ippo, Fujii noted that Ippo got hit too much and will probably have to recuperate for a while and it is not clear who will go further in the world stage in the near future. Fujii left while pointing out how he hasn't seen many final scenes where both boxers made the face that Ippo and Wally did after the match ended.
When Aoki, Kimura, and Itagaki's first round of their Class A Tournament arrived, Fujii went to the Kōrakuen Hall to watch their matches. Fujii watched as Itagaki wins against Karasawa Takuzō, Maezono Makoto wins against Fukui Kyōsuke, Aoki wins against Jackal Itō, Kimura wins against Ryūzaki Takeshi, and Iga Shinobu wins against Katsutaka Imae.
Fujii went to the Kōrakuen Hall, where Saeki's Class A Tournament semi-finals match against Makoto was being held. Before the match began, Fujii and Mari noticed Itagaki yelling at Ippo's upcoming opponent, Kojima Hisato while watching a match. Fujii watched Saeki's match against Makoto, where Saeki won by knockout. Later at the Monthly Boxing Fan, Fujii and the staff talked about how Kojima seems to have a grudge against Ippo and how the editorial department will get others interested in Ippo and Kojima's match. Fujii predicted that Ippo won't slip up against Kojima and that Ippo will train in anticipation of Kojima being bigger than he is, since he has already fought Oda, who came from the lightweight class just like Kojima. After interviewing Kojima and the magazine was published, Fujii was interested on Kojima's comment about knowing Ippo's weakness. When the weigh-in and press conference for Takamura's fourth WBC middleweight title defence match against Peter Rabbitson arrived, Fujii went to the Roigal Hotel to attend it.
The next day, Fujii and Mari went to the Ryōgoku Kokugikan to watch Ippo's eighth JBC featherweight title defence match against Kojima and Takamura's fourth WBC middleweight title defence match against Rabbitson. Fujii watched as Ippo won by a one punch knockout in the first round, and Takamura's fourth WBC middleweight title defence match against Rabbitson, which ended in Takamura winning by a one punch knock out in the final twelfth round.
On the day of the Class A Tournament finals, Fujii and Mari went to the Kōrakuen Hall to watch it. As Itagaki's match against Saeki was about to begin, they noticed that instead of shadowboxing, Itagaki and Saeki did footwork before the match began. Fujii watched as Itagaki won by knockout in the fourth round, Kimura's match against a former champion that ended in Kimura's decision loss, and Aoki's match against Iga that ended in Iga's knockout victory in the seventh round. Afterwards, Fujii came across Takamura having a heated conversation with Iga and his trainer, Kurita Baron in the venue, where Iga stopped Takamura from hitting Baron as he told him that people were watching.
At the Monthly Boxing Fan, after seeing the magazine about Volg becoming the IBF junior lightweight champion, Fujii and the Monthly Boxing Fan staff discussed Ippo's upcoming match against the world ranker Alfredo Gonzales, along with Sendō, Miyata, Mashiba possibly moving to the next level, and how the JBC featherweight title is open for boxers like Itagaki to take. Later, Fujii went to the Narita Terminal 1 and witnessed Alfredo's arrival to Japan, seeing him arrive in his training outfit, already in full battle mode. Fujii followed Alfredo to the Otowa gym and watched his public spar, where he dominated his sparring partners. When the day for Ippo's weigh-in with Alfredo and Itagaki's weigh-in for Imai arrived, Fujii went to the Kōrakuen Hall to attend the weigh-ins. The next day as Mari and his assistant left the Monthly Boxing Fan to see Ippo's match against Alfredo, and Itagaki and Imai's match for the vacant JBC title, Fujii stayed in the building to write about how he first met Ippo when he sparred against Miyata, and believed that his fists carries the hopes of Japan. He also wrote how Sendō, Miyata, Mashiba, seem to be outgrowing in the pacific region and that Itagaki, and Imai's match will decide who the next Japanese champion will be, believing that the landscape of the Japanese featherweight class will change tonight. When Fujii went to the Kōrakuen Hall to watch the matches, he proceeded to watch the matches with Miyata. He watched Itagaki and Imai's match, which ended in Imai's victory by knockout in the first round, making Imai the new JBC featherweight champion. He then watched Ippo and Alfredo's match that ended in Alfredo's victory by knockout in the seventh round. Outside the venue, Mari asked Fujii if the hierarchy of the Japanese featherweight class really changed a lot, however, Fujii claimed that it is hard to say, since after Ippo's first loss, he came back with the Dempsey Roll, wondering if despair or hope will come when he comes back again.
Goals to Reach Arc
At the Monthly Boxing Fan, Fujii and the staff were disappointed to find out that the people's honour award for Takamura was retracted. Fujii learned from Mari that Sendō declared his challenge to Alfredo in the ring to Bill Stewart, however, Bill claimed that he wouldn't see Alfredo in Mexico since he isn't his trainer. Fujii noted that the story for the newspaper will go back to who will become the world champion first as he and the staff believed that Sendō or Miyata could be first since Ippo recently lost.
When Fujii went to the Kamogawa gym for a story, he ended up doing mitt practise with Aoki, Kimura, and Itagaki. When Ippo arrived, Fujii revealed how he used to be an amateur out-boxer in the past, and once ran into a prodigy in a city tournament. Fujii claimed that he was defeated by him, and that Aoki's punches were just like the prodigy. After mitt practising with Ippo, Fujii noted that the secret of Ippo's strong punching power is that his fists are big, hard, and flat like a rectangle, making the force more spread out. He explained that Itagaki's more triangle shaped fists have more penetrating damage, pinpoint, precise punches, and they can slip through holes in enemy defences easier. When Aoki made a fist and it looked round, Fujii claimed that round fists tend to be slippery and can roll off target. When Shinoda came to the gym, Fujii began to explain to the gym members of their past. After Fujii explained their story to everyone at the gym, Shinoda informed them that he lost his pro debut match, and only fought in six matches, ending with an average record. Shinoda apologised to Fujii about not being able to fulfil their promise, but Fujii reassured him that it is okay, since he wasn't suited to be a pro boxer. Before leaving, Fujii asked Ippo if he is coming back to fight again. Ippo answered that he plans to.
When Fujii arrived to the Kamogawa gym, he watched Ippo spar against world ranker Nagumo Ryūji and was shocked to see Ippo go down after taking two jabs in the first round.
Fujii went to the Kamogawa gym to watch Takamura's public spar before his WBC and WBA middleweight title defence match. Later, Fujii and Mari went to the Ryōgoku Kokugikan to attend Ippo's return match against Filipino featherweight champion Antonio Guevara and Takamura's WBC and WBA middleweight title defence match against Keith Lycaon. Fujii sat with Sendō, Mashiba, and Miyata in the box seat as Ippo's match against Antonio began. In the first round, Fujii was amazed after seeing Ippo attack with his new Dempsey Roll. Fujii watched as Ippo lost by knockout in the fourth round. With the crowd quiet, Fujii mentioned to Sendō, Mashiba, and Miyata how special a boxer Ippo was to boxing fans, and explained that he has been around boxing long enough to know when boxers make a certain kind of exit, as if they are trying to say goodbye as they fight. As the main event of Takamura's WBA and WBC title defence match against Lycaon began, Fujii watched, and the match ended in Takamura's victory by a one round knockout. Outside the venue, Fujii advised Mari to not go see Ippo and try to get him back to the ring again, since he believed that someone else can make a difference this time.
At the Monthly Boxing Fan, as the reporters talked about Imai's second JBC featherweight title defence victory, and his assistant noted how quiet the crowd was when Imai said that he wanted to fight Ippo, Fujii commented that the crowd was quiet because Ippo was still fresh in their minds, since Ippo was a fighter that embodied the idea that hard work was enough to achieve one's dreams. Fujii thought the sense of loss was probably too hard to handle for them. When other reporters wondered who would have won between Imai and Ippo, Fujii claimed that when Imai talked about Ippo, he used the past tense, knowing that Ippo was gone. He thought everyone should give Ippo some space and let him rest due to the hard matches he has fought.
Fujii attended the weigh-in for Mashiba's second OPBF lightweight title defence match against Iga, where he heard Baron reveal that he knew about Mashiba's three weaknesses that Iga will take advantage of. He later informed Ippo of the information and thought it was just Baron's mindgame.
When Fujii went to the Date gym, he informed Date and Ippo that Sendō scored a down on Ricardo, and that Sendō and Alfredo have a match set up in Mexico in three months, with Ricardo offering to have the winner challenge him for his WBA featherweight title. As talk around the Date gym turned to why Ippo can't come back to the ring, Fujii claimed that Ippo seemed to have retired to take over his family business before anything got worse, which made sense for someone kind like him.
When the WBC super middleweight champion, Keith Dragon came to Japan for his title defence match against Takamura, Fujii went to the Narita Terminal 1 to witness his arrival. Fujii and Mari followed Dragon as he immediately went to the Kawahara gym to train, watching in awe as he punched the sandbag.
Fujii has black eyes, spiky dark brown hair, a thin moustache that later grows into a fuller moustache, and a stubble. His attire is usually a black or brown business suit.
Fujii is one of the most knowledgeable and intuitive; been able to predict events or figure out techniques before most. He also has many connections within most local gyms, as he frequently visits the members in order to gather and share information. In addition to Ippo, he also seems to be friends with Takamura Mamoru and Date Eiji.
- (About a Sparring Match) "You could sell tickets to a match-up like this!"
- (About Boxing) "Like a drug you can't stop taking after your first time, boxing has the same power. That's why so many boxers come back into the ring a second time."
Main Article: Fujii Minoru/Gallery
- A seldom-noticed running gag of the series is Fujii's constant attempts to quit smoking. He changes between cigarettes and nicotine replacement tubes regularly.
- According to Fujii, he was a poor boxer dubbed "The Eternal #2" in a City Tournament.
- When Fujii first appeared in the manga, he was sitting in the back seat of his car with his legs on the front seats as he is reviewing boxer's file while Fujii's Assistant drive him to Kamogawa Boxing Gym.
- His second appearance in his car, Fujii has his feet on the dash board, while his assistant was driving too.