Hajime no Ippo! Fighting Spirit!
Makunouchi Ippo was an extremely shy high school student who never had the time to make friends because he was always busy helping his mother run their family fishing charter business. Because he kept to himself, a group of bullies led by Umezawa got into the habit of picking on him. On one particular day, these bullies decided to give him a rather serious beating, but a middle-weight professional boxer who was doing some roadwork stopped the bullies and took the injured Ippo to the Kamogawa Gym, owned by retired boxer Genji Kamogawa, to treat his wounds. After Ippo awoke to the sounds of boxers training, the boxer who saved him, Mamoru Takamura, tried to cheer Ippo up by letting him vent his frustrations on a punching bag. It was then that they had their first glimpse into Ippo's talent for boxing. After that incident, Ippo gave the situation a lot of thought and decided that he would like to begin a career as a professional boxer, and when he conveys this message to Mamoru Takamura, he gets verbally reprimanded due to the fact that Takamura thought Ippo was taking professional boxing too lightly. However, Takamura felt that he couldn't outright refuse Ippo, especially because of his feat of punching the sandbag much harder than almost anybody else in the gym. Therefore, he challenges Ippo to catch 10 falling leaves from a tree simultaneously after a week of training, fully convinced that Ippo would fail
, Takamura jogs away as he continues his roadwork.
However, after a week of tough training, involving nightly hours, Ippo manages the technique in the nick of time. He waits for the jogging Takamura to come by his usual path, and manages to surprise Takamura by not just catching all 10 of the falling leaves, but only doing it with his left hand. This impresses Takamura greatly, and he informs that the action required to catch all 10 leaves was called a jab, and Takamura invites Ippo back to the boxing gym for introductions. When they got back to the gym, the coach, Genji Kamogawa, was not at all impressed by Ippo's lack of fighting spirit, and therefore, was challenged by Takamura to have a practice spar against a member of the gym. However, Kamogawa decides to give Ippo a severe challenge and tells him to spar with Miyata, a man that's also 16, the same age as Ippo. However, Miyata, who has been boxing from a very young age, is known as a boxing prodigy and is one of Kamogawa gym's future hopes. Takamura gets extremely worried with this prospect, as Miyata's skill is way above the 4-rounder pro boxer. As expected, Ippo loses by KO, but not until Miyata struggles dodging his punches and finally ends the match with his trump card: a counter. The coach Kamogawa decides that he has great fighting sense and spirit and decides to train him.