Semi-Final - Ippo vs. Hayami
At school, it is the second marking period, Ippo's teacher asks if it's fine with him that he is staying home and not going to college, as Ippo can go to any college he wants. Ippo decides to not go to college and instead focus on boxing. At the riverbank, Ippo meets Kobashi, who states that he studied Hayami's videos, however he can't find a way to beat him. Kobashi then states that he will continue boxing and hopes that Ippo wins the Rookie King.
At the Kamogawa Boxing Gym, Kamogawa shows him a video of Hayami's match, where his opponent is similar to Ippo's fighting style. Hayami's opponent got beaten to a pulp and then he states in an interview that he never had trouble against in-fighters. Kamogawa explains that during Hayami's amateur days, he got 100% KO against them, and that along with his Shotgun, he also stops his opponents with a short uppercut. Coming up with a strategy that requires dodging the Shotgun, Kamogawa has Ippo train to be more defensive.
At Kōrakuen Hall, Hayami has his match against Yasukawa Kazu. Yasukawa successfully dodges Hayami's attacks until he uses his Short Uppercut into Shotgun, which pummels Yasukawa until he goes down. Aoki then has his match, which he eventually wins with a left hook. Miyata visits the gym to congratulate Takamura for the middleweight belt. Miyata comments that he would counter every punch Hayami would throw at him during his Shotgun. Miyata gets annoyed that Ippo doesn't believe he can win against Hayami, he then leaves saying that he will wait at the finals to settle their score.
Fujii arrives at the Otowa Boxing Gym to talk with Hayami, who was disappointed with Ippo's match against Kobashi, believing the semi-finals will be an easy win. Hearing Hayami's drive to raise Japan's boxing spirit and seeing him train, Fujii believes that Ippo may lose. Discovering that Hayami always uses a short uppercut when an in-fighter gets close, Ippo began daily training in order to counter the short uppercut.
The day of the A-Block semi-finals arrives, Ippo (who bruised up by counter training) and Hayami go to the ring. Before the match starts, Kamogawa warns Ippo to only use the counter once, as Hayami would never throw it out again if he knew what Ippo's aim was. When the match starts, Ippo was expecting Hayami to throw the short uppercut at close range, however Hayami never threw it, wanting to challenge Ippo into an in-fight. When Hayami eventually changes to out-boxing and begins to use a short uppercut, Ippo counters it, resulting in an exchange that affects Hayami's legs. Ippo begins to successfully dodge Hayami's Shotgun and delivers a right body blow. Ippo and Hayami continues to have a close-ranged hitting match until Hayami eventually falls. Ippo wins the match and progresses into the finals.
The Other Semi-Final - Miyata vs. Mashiba
In the waiting room, Miyata, determined to keep his promise to Ippo, gets ready as he is slightly nervous just like Mashiba in the other room. When the match begins, Miyata showcases great speed with Mashiba unable to keep up. Noticing this, Mashiba gets into his Hitman Style and uses Flicker Jabs with a range that causes Miyata trouble. Now knowing the angle and range, Miyata then uses his own Southpaw Hitman Style to Shoulder Block Mashiba's Flicker Jabs, going towards Mashiba and knocking him down. When Miyata was winning in an in-fight, he saw a chance to throw a counter at Mashiba. However, Miyata becomes stunned when Mashiba steps on his foot, causing him to be unable to react to Mashiba's slaughter of punches until he fell down.
After remembering all the times Ippo has stood up and fought back, Miyata stood back up. Due to Mashiba stepping on Miyata's foot, Miyata is unable to do footwork nor put weight into his counter. Mashiba notices this and begins to use the Flicker Jab again. Miyata sees a chance to throw a counter, however Mashiba hits him before he could throw it, causing him to go down. Mashiba wins the match and advances to the finals. After the match, Ippo goes to Miyata's waiting room. However, Miyata's father relays a message outside the waiting room from Miyata to Ippo, saying to forgive him.
Finals - Ippo vs. Mashiba
At the Kamogawa gym, everyone watches the tape of Miyata's fight against Mashiba, Takamura concludes that Ippo's goal is now lost. At the Tōhō Boxing Gym, Mashiba arrives while reporters are in the gym. Mashiba tells the reporters that he is glad Miyata is hospitalised and that he stepped on his foot on purpose. Fujii informs Mashiba that Ippo won't let it by and will come at him with determination. Mashiba laughs at the idea, believing that he will not lose to someone who wants to go to the ring to fulfil a friendship.
At the Kamogawa gym, when Takamura comes back from roadwork he stops Ippo from beating on the sandbag since he was using it since he left for roadwork. Due to this, Ippo is unable to use his fists for two weeks. Ippo then begins training without using his fists for the two weeks. During the two weeks, Ippo went to the Yamanaka Bakery and saw the same girl he saw before, who tells him to stop talking after Ippo talked about how Mashiba cheated against Miyata. Ippo then finds out that Mashiba is her brother, when she wonders why everyone makes a villain out of him. Ippo went to Takamura's place to tell Takamura what happened and to keep it a secret. However, the next day, he tells Aoki and Kimura, angering Ippo. Fujii then enters the gym to tell everyone the story of how Mashiba and his sister, Mashiba Kumi, lost their parents three years ago due to a car crash and that they had to depend on each other since then.
At home, Mashiba tells Kumi that with boxing, if he wins the All Japan Rookie King Tournament he will be ranked 10th in Japan. He continues, telling her that the JBC title will be in his grasp and then the world, being able to make money so that Kumi won't have to worry about anything. At the Kamogawa gym, Kamogawa shows Mashiba's weakness to Ippo, being that his left guard is down when using the Hitman Style. However, since Ippo and Mashiba's arm reach has a difference of 20cm, Ippo has to dash in order to reach him. Ippo then began dash training.
At the Tanaka Transportation, Kumi brings Mashiba his training equipment. When Mashiba walks away without saying thank you, Tanaka gets angry and tells Kumi how he's anti-social. Kumi expresses her worry about her brother boxing as he will continue fighting strong opponents. At his gym, Mashiba has a spar against an opponent similar to Ippo. Mashiba won the spar using his Chopping Right. With Ippo's fist healed after two weeks, he spars with Kimura, who used only fast lefts. Ippo successfully dashes towards Kimura's lefts and won the spar.
At Kōrakuen Hall the East Japan Rookie King Tournament finals arrive with Ippo and Mashiba in the ring. After a quick attack from Ippo, Mashiba quickly switches to his Hitman Style, while Ippo uses his Peek-a-Boo Style. Ippo becomes surprised by Mashiba's range while using Flicker Jabs. Falling for a feint, Ippo begins getting hit by Flicker Jabs and barely dodging a Chopping Right. Ippo continues to have trouble with the Flicker Jabs until he eventually begins dodging and dashing into Mashiba. Before Ippo is able to land a hit, the gong ending round one sounds. Before round two arrives, Kamogawa instructs Ippo to jump towards Mashiba's chest and to aim for his body, while Mashiba laughs at his coach's warnings, telling him that Ippo's power will destroy himself.
In round two, when Ippo pressures Mashiba towards the ropes and attempts to attack, it hits Mashiba's elbow two times. Ippo continuously strikes Mashiba's elbow until Mashiba is unable to lift it. With Mashiba's left arm fallen, Ippo goes for multiple body blows until the second round ends.
When the third round begins, Ippo continues throwing body blows. Kumi, unable to watch her brother in pain, leaves the audience booths until Tanaka convinces her to go back and cheer. As Mashiba is about to be hit in the jaw, he has memories of his sister and begins to lift his left arm back up. Mashiba hits Ippo with a Flicker Jab and then a Chopping Right, causing him to go down. After Ippo gets back up, he hits Mashiba's body with his right three times. Mashiba clinches, however, Ippo is able to throw multiple lefts to the body before breaking the clinch. Ippo then throws an uppercut and a right straight to Mashiba's face, causing him to fall. Mashiba's unable to get up, resulting in Ippo winning the East Japan Rookie King Tournament and becoming the featherweight East Japan Rookie King. At the award presentation, Ippo receives the most talented rookie award.
|Rookie King Tournament: Finals Arc|