Kazuki Sanada (真田一機, Sanada Kazuki) is a semi-recurring character in Hajime no Ippo.
He is a former junior featherweight professional boxer and the former JBC champion of that weight class, before relinquishing it to move up in the featherweights in order to fight Makunouchi Ippo, the new JBC Champion, in the National Champion Road Saga as Ippo's difficult first title defence.
He retired due to preferring to continue his dream as a doctor instead of a boxer in the professional ring. It had a strong impact on the rest of his previously affiliated gym, as it stopped having more people, he was the icon for it. He helped Ippo throughout the series quite a lot.
His surname is Sanada. In Japan, surnames come before given names.
Before Sanada was born, he had his path set by his father to become a doctor. Despite not disliking medicine, Sanada came across the Kinoshita Boxing Gym in an ad and decided to go there to relieve some stress by hitting the sandbag. Six months later, he attempted sparring and got beaten in his first sparring match. After further studying the human body, he returned and successfully defeated his opponents in the professional ring using his knowledge of medicine. After becoming the JBC junior featherweight champion, he went up a class in order to face a man stronger than him as a way of challenging himself.
After the JBC junior featherweight title match between Hayami Ryūichi and Kobashi Kenta, Sanada introduced himself to a nervous Makunouchi Ippo and Mashiba Kumi. however, when they were about to shake hands, they were stopped by Sanada's trainer, Hama Dankichi, due to his beliefs that enemies have no business shaking hands. Later, during a training session, Sanada downed his sparring partner after penetrating his guard with his Tsubame Gaeshi, which Sanada predicted to be able to break Ippo's Peek-a-Boo Style.
While at the Imperial College of Medicine, Sanada was approached by reporter Īmura Mari, who he told that he would not talk about his new technique as instructed by Dankichi. Mari instead interviewed Sanada about why he started boxing despite having a medical career path set for him. After he told her the reason, he revealed that he moved up a weight class to challenge himself by fighting Ippo.
Sanada participated in a public sparring match against a junior lightweight boxer ranked third in the JBC three weeks before the title match in order to demonstrate his skills. When the match began, Sanada displayed the Hien and used his ability to analyse how damaged his opponent was and whether he could continue or not, dodging all his punches. Between a round, Sanada was calmly taking his pulse in order to enter the next round at full speed. Sanada continued to beat his opponent, throwing an uppercut to show his Tsubame Gaeshi to the reporters, however, his opponent fell at the first uppercut, ending the spar.
A few weeks later, while playing video games with his coach's daughter; Kinoshita Tsugumi, Sanada began to reflect on how he he could not cure the worries of the patient's families, and needs to become stronger. He remembered how despite being the champion, he had never been tested and believed that Ippo is the right person to finally prove how strong he is. At the weigh in, Sanada expressed how he wished Ippo would act more prideful about the belt that went from Date Eiji to Sendō Takeshi before getting to him. Walking away from the Kōrakuen Hall after shaking hands with Ippo, Dankichi mentioned to Sanada that his words served to put more pressure on the champion despite Sanada not wanting it to as he wants Ippo to be at his best, otherwise he would not be able to know how strong he really is.
On the day of the match, Sanada entered the ring, and, when Ippo arrived as well, the match began. As soon as the gong rang, Sanada hit Ippo with a right straight that caused him to panic. Sanada took advantage of the situation and attacked Ippo, forcing him onto the ropes and, with his palpation ability he attacked him for five seconds until Ippo recovered from Sanada's right. Ippo attempted to get into his rhythm and went towards Sanada, however Sanada hit him and proceeded to use his Hien to change his jab into a hook. Sanada continued to use his Hien to keep Ippo at bay until the round ended.
The second round began with Sanada being approached by Ippo, who dashed immediately from the opposite corner. When Ippo began his Dempsey Roll motion, Sanada pushed his body on Ippo's chest, stopping the motion. With distance between them, Sanada stopped Ippo from attempting another Dempsey Roll by using his Hien, following up with more punches with his Hien, not wanting Ippo to use the powerful technique. Sanada continued hitting Ippo's Peek-a-Boo Style guard at the ropes until he decided to break it by launching an uppercut that got blocked and then immdiately a second uppercut, using the Tsubame Gaeshi. The second uppercut of the Tsubame Gaeshi slipped through Ippo's guard and hits him, sending his head flying upward. Sanada then became surprised when Ippo recovered and attacked him, sending Sanada back. After Sanada got attacked with multiple punches at the ropes, the two switched positions when Sanada landed a hit. Sanada then used his Tsubame Gaeshi on Ippo's stiff guard, with the second hit hitting Ippo through the guard, making him go down to his knees. After Ippo got up, the second round ends before either could land another hit.
When the third round began, not wanting to let Ippo recover, Sanada rushed towards him and used the Hien. Sanada then used his Tsubame Gaeshi, with the first uppercut hitting Ippo's guard, however the second uppercut could not hit Ippo's face, as Sanada's second uppercut was blocked by the Cross-Arm Block. Sanada countered the block by using hooks as Ippo drew closer. Sanada was then hit by a body blow, causing Sanada to have to commence an in-fight with Ippo due to the blow effecting his legs. Sanada lost the in-fight battle after going down due to several hooks. While downed, Sanada checked the damage on his body and estimated when parts of his body would recover. After the check-up, Sanada got up and clinched when Ippo got close, not wanting to fight close ranged as his eyes had not fully recovered. When the clinch broke, Sanada's hits to Ippo's head shook his superior canal in his inner ear, making the champion lose his balance. When Ippo's balance came back, Sanada threw punches with his Hien, however, since they were weaker, Ippo managed to get close. The round then immediately ended.
In the fourth round, as instructed by Dankichi, Sanada got into an in-fighter's range and got close to Ippo while blocking and dodging punches, delivering body blows at vital points, making Ippo's face blue due to cyanosis. As Ippo began to lose balance from the body blows, Sanada used his Tsubame Gaeshi, but Ippo blocked the second uppercut by putting one of his hands between the attack and his jaw, still causing damage. As Samada continued his attack, he noticed Ippo was at his limit and throws a right, making Ippo start to fall. Ippo barely managed to stop his fall by hanging onto the ropes. When Sanada noticed Ippo's light returning to his eyes and Ippo released a punch that missed, the fourth round ends.
To Sanada's shock, Ippo dashed towards him as the fifth round began and Sanada was relentlessly attacked. Sanada then noticed that Ippo was beginning to use the Dempsey Roll, stopping the motion by pushing his body on Ippo's chest. Sanada was then hit by a liver blow due to Ippo anticipating Sanada's action. As Sanada began to fall, he was hit by a Gazelle Punch. Continuing his knockout pattern he used against Sendō, Ippo used his Dempsey Roll on Sanada until Ippo ran out of energy. Ippo attempted to hit Sanada, who withstood all of Ippo's punches, however, Ippo's right barely grazed Sanada's cheek. Believing that he was now the winner, Sanada launched a finishing right. However, he fell down from the momentum and missed the champion, causing a down. The referee then signalled the end to the match, with Sanada losing the match.
In his waiting room, Sanada satisfied after lasting through the Dempsey Roll, decided to retire and focus on his medical career, thanking Dankichi for his help. Mari urgently informed Sanada that Ippo went to sleep and started snoring. Seeing this as a dangerous symptom, Sanada went to Ippo's room and checked on him. As he checked the pulse, he noticed something that made him react in a way that made everyone worry, but Sanada claimed Ippo was simply asleep due to fatigue but would be fine. When asked why he reacted that way, he answered that despite being unconscious, Ippo held on to the belt so strongly, that no one would be able to take it away from him.
|16||LOSS||13-2-1||1994-04-07||Makunouchi Ippo||Tokyo, Japan||5(10), 2:33||TKO||"FIRST STEP"|
JBC Featherweight Title Match
|15||WIN||13-1-1||1994-03||Unknown||Tokyo, Japan||7(10)||KO||JBC Junior Featherweight 5th Title Defence Match|
Relinquished belt and moved to featherweight
|14||WIN||12-1-1||199X||Unknown||Tokyo, Japan||?(10)||N/A||JBC Junior Featherweight 4th Title Defence Match|
|13||WIN||11-1-1||199X||Unknown||Tokyo, Japan||?(10)||N/A||JBC Junior Featherweight 3rd Title Defence Match|
|12||WIN||10-1-1||199X||Unknown||Tokyo, Japan||?(10)||N/A||JBC Junior Featherweight 2nd Title Defence Match|
|11||WIN||9-1-1||199X||Unknown||Tokyo, Japan||?(10)||N/A||JBC Junior Featherweight 1st Title Defence Match|
|10||WIN||8-1-1||199X||Unknown||Tokyo, Japan||?(10)||N/A||JBC Junior Featherweight Title Match|
|Preceded by||Title||Succeeded by|
|Unknown||JBC Junior Featherweight Champion||Kobashi Kenta|
Sanada has short dark brown hair with bangs going over his forehead. Unless in the ring, he wears black eyeglasses over his black coloured eyes. He also has long eyebrows, and a somewhat large nose.When Sanada first meets Ippo, he wears a white shirt under a dark coloured opened coat, along with black pants and a scarf around his neck. During a sparring session to test his Tsubame Gaeshi and after his match with Ippo, Sanada wears a black shirt. When Sanada did his ring entrances, he wore a robe. When he was in the ring, Sanada wore blue boxing trunks with a yellow vertical stripe at the sides. While at the Imperial College of Medicine, Sanada wears a white business shirt with a blue tie under a white lab coat.
Sanada is known to be confident in himself. He is a very kind man, even to his opponents, as well as incredibly smart. Sanada is eager to challenge himself, moving up a weight class to fight Ippo just for a challenge and wanting to fight him at his best. Sanada admired the JBC featherweight belt even when he was a junior featherweight, admiring the former JBC featherweight champions Date Eiji and Sendō Takeshi, not liking it when Ippo seemed to show little pride of his own belt. He seemed to act strange when Iimura Mari was talking, most likely not wanting to discuss his past.
Being a former Japanese champion, Sanada was a highly skilled boxer. His fighting style focuses on skill and strategy rather than overwhelming strength or speed. Sanada's boxing involves his knowledge of the human body to drive in major attacks at pinpoint precision to stop and breakdown his opponent from the inside rather than attacks to the body that do major external damage. His techniques allow him to drive in major attacks with even the slightest opening in an opponent guard. His understanding of anatomy also allows him to target the 4 vital organs of the body, which would lead to cyanosis.
Sanada himself has no outstanding weaknesses. He lost to Ippo because he was too focused on his strategy of lowering Ippo's stamina. This might be more of a fault of Hama Dankichi than Sanada, since it was Dankichi who instructed Sanada to focus on that strategy. Considering his intelligence, it is possible Sanada would have developed Sawamura Ryūhei's strategy had he focused on countering the Dempsey Roll instead.
- Sanada was modelled after the boxer, Salvador Sánchez. Before being killed in a traffic accident, he wanted to become a doctor.
- The video game system Sanada was playing on with Kinoshita's daughter bears a striking resemblance to the original Xbox, though the controller is a cross between the Xbox's and PlayStation's. The two game cases sitting next to the console read "Megamix 200X" and "Buyo". The fighting game they were playing feature two male characters with similar appearances to that of characters from the [Seint Saiya] anime.