Yanaoka (柳岡, Yanaoka) is a semi-recurring character in Hajime no Ippo.
He was a professional boxer in Japan. During his career, he was known to be a good fighter in the ring, in which eventually he became ranked first in the JBC, giving him the chance against the national champion of that time which was Miyata. He ended up losing fiercely in the seventh round after getting knocked down four times in the match. He later retired, remembering the feeling of being knocked down by him from time to time.
After retiring, he became a trainer at the Naniwa Boxing Club, in which he started training new boxers. He became a first class trainer and second whose skills were even recognised by Kamogawa Genji after his career.
Years later, a few of his trainees got beaten up by a delinquent named Sendō Takeshi (who Yanaoka almost knocked out). After Sendō took part in another rumble, Yanaoka turned him onto boxing as a way to find the strength he hungered for.
Looking for his boxer, Sendō Takeshi, Yanaoka discovered him looking at a video of Makunouchi Ippo's match against Mashiba Ryō. After hearing his boxer talk highly of Ippo, while claiming that the West Japan Rookie King Tournament was boring, he informed Sendō that Ippo is withdrawing due to injuries. This caused Sendō to go to Tokyo to talk to Ippo. After Sendō came back, he practised the Smash with Yanoka. After the practise, a package came in from Ippo, with a note that claimed he may be able to go to Osaka. This caused Sendō to get fired up and continue practising with Yanaoka.
At the Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium on the day of the All Japan Rookie King Tournament, Yanoka informed Sendō that Ippo got beaten by Komori. However, Sendō claimed that he would not underestimate him, but he will still win. When Sendō's match against Ippo began. Yanoka was his second. Before the fourth round could start, Sendō sat unconscious, unable to get back up. Yanoka realised that he was unconscious due to a hit to the temple, but was fighting because of the cheers. Sendō came back to consciousness and asked Yanoka how he lost, but Yanoka told him that it was a splendid fight.
After Date Eiji defeated Ippo and relinquished his belt, the two boxers fighting for the title was Sendō and Alexander Volg Zangief. When the match began, Yanaoka was Sendō's second for the match. The result of the match ended with Sendō winning by decision and becoming the JBC featherweight champion.
Yanaoka was one of Sendō's cornermen in his first title defence against Saeki Takuma where Sendō won by knockout in the first round.
At the ring when Sendō's second title defence against Shigeta Akira was about to begin, Yanaoka warned Sendō about Shigeta's southpaw abilities. After the first round did not go into Sendō's favour, he told him to calm down and warned Sendō to be careful as Shigeta researched him. After the second round, Yanoka was shocked when he discovered that Shigeta must had been a right-handed fighter before becoming a southpaw, but figured it was useless to inform Sendō about it as he is now a southpaw. Sendō then won and defended his title against Shigeta after using his speed he gained though Yanaoka's training method of using ankle weights in the third round. Later, at the Naniwa Boxing Club, Sendō entered and Yanaoka informed him that his training partners had arrived. While Sendō sparred against three sparring partners of a higher weight class, Yanaoka spoke with the Tokyo reporter Īmura Mari. When she mentioned the Dempsey Roll, Yanaoka claimed that they had no tactics against the Dempsey Roll. Noticing how Mari became shocked at witnessing Sendō sparring, Yanaoka told her he is different now and that he was thankful to Ippo and Volg for teaching them how brawl boxing was limited and the reason why he lost in close-ranged combat. Yanaoka figured that the key of Sendō's evolution would be weight shifting, so he had Sendō run and train his lower body. Yanaoka then revealed to her that the match would be a head-on duel, with Sendō taking on the Dempsey Roll and stay standing.
The day before the match, Yanaoka went with Sendō to the Kōrakuen Hall for the weight check. The next day, Yanaoka was Sendō's cornerman for his title defence match against Ippo. After the fourth round, Sendō told Yanaoka that, just as Yanaoka kept his promise, he would prove to Yanaoka that he is Japan's greatest. When round five began, Yanaoka recalled his meeting with Sendō where he found him beating his students in the street and later joined the so he could take him to the Japan's strongest man to prove he is Japan's greatest. Eventually, Sendō lost against Ippo in the seventh round, losing his title. On a train to Osaka, Sendō explained to Yanaoka how he was afraid of going into the other car where his fans were as he felt as if he broke his promise to them. Yanaoka told Sendō to go back to his seat, however, when Yanoka walked to tell him that, he triggered the automatic door, revealing Sendō to the next car where his fans are.
Yanaoka was Sendō's second for his come-back match since his loss against Ippo. After Sendō won, Yanaoka let him know that Ippo came to see him while in the changing room. While Ippo and Sendō talked outside the Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium, Yanaoka went to get Sendō so that they can go to the victory party.
|?||LOSS||?-1-0||197?||Miyata Senior||Tokyo, Japan||7(10)||TKO||JBC Title Match|
Yanaoka has short black hair with multiple bags going over his forehead. He is never seen without his round silver frame eyeglasses. Yanaoka usually wears his gym's shirts and, at the ring, wears a red Dynamite Glove shirt.
- Although it is yet to be revealed in the manga, the anime lists him as "Yanaoka" in the credits. One of the video games also lists his full name as Yanaoka Kazuhiro.