FAQ/Move List by imac2much

Version: 1.1 | Updated: 08/25/03 | Printable Version

Hajime No Ippo: The Fighting
In-Depth Gameplay Guide
By Jin Kim (goshuJINsama)
v1.1 August 25, 2003

Contact Information

Any comments/questions/contributions can be sent to my email address or AIM 
name.  I'll respond whenever I have the spare time.

E-mail: anjinmito@hotmail.com
AIM screen-name: saiyajin20
Copyright 2003 Jin Kim (goshujinsama)


You should all know the drill by now!  This document is copyrighted Jin Kim 
2003. This guide cannot be duplicated or used in any way unless you give credit
to me. All trademarks and copyrights in this guide are the property of their 
respective trademark and copyright holders. You can always find the latest 
version of this guide at www.gamefaqs.com. Other than that, there isn't much 
else to say, so let's get this guide started! 

Version Histories

     -- A few minor corrections, such as the effects of Shigeta's taunt (thanks
to hopbounce for reminding me).  Also included some background information
about the Smash, the Corkscrew Blow, and the Jolt Counter.


     -- The beginning of this guide! Basically wrote down everything I know 
about this great game.


1. Introduction
2. Basic Gameplay
3. Game Modes
4. Tips and Strategies 
5. Character Specifics
6. Frequently Asked Questions

1. Introduction

Greetings all, and welcome to my in-depth guide to the Gameboy Advance game: 
Hajime no Ippo.  The purpose of this guide is to familiarize you, the reader, 
with the intricacies of HnI's gameplay and characters.  Each character is 
unique and, with maybe a few minor exceptions, warrant their own play styles.  
I will not explain the game's basics in detail, so you may want to check out 
Frogacuda's General FAQ on this game, which can be found at www.gamefaqs.com.
I want to point out aspects of this game that casual observers may not have 
discovered on their own.

This is also my first FAQ attempt, so please let me know of any suggestions you 
may have.

2. Basic Gameplay

The gameplay and controls for HnI are quite simple.  The view is first-person 
much like the famed Punch-Out! games of NES and SNES lore.  The player will see
only his own gloves, while the opponent will be the main object on the screen. 
Your health is shown at the top of the screen: Red damage never recovers 
(except between rounds) while yellow damage slowly recovers until it 
disappears.  The small red marker is your 'Down Limit.' If your damage 
(red + yellow) passes that red marker, you will fall.  If you use Down Avoid, 
you will be able to pass that red marker while that defense is in effect.  After
it wears off, you won't fall immediately, but any subsequent damage while your
health is past the red marker will knock you down.  Although the opponent will 
have the same kind of damage system, you will not be able to see his bar.

The top right of the screen has your spirit bar and number.  The number 
indicates how many full spirit bars you have accumulated, while the bar shows 
how close you are to filling it again.  The left of the screen has the distance
meter and number.  Basically it shows how far away from the opponent and the 
corner you are.

Controls are relatively simple: move with d-pad, punch with B, dodge with A, 
and use spirit moves with R in conjunction with other buttons.  You can move 
toward and away from your opponent with up and down respectively, and also use 
d-pad buttons with B or A to punch or dodge in certain directions.  R+B+d-pad 
uses spirit attacks, while R+A+d-pad uses defensive spirit moves.  Combos are 
possible but vary from character to character.  However, most combos start with
either a jab (quicker but less powerful) or a hook (slower, more powerful,
and sometimes needs to be up-close).

That's the basic gameplay in a nutshell.  If you need more help with the 
basics, I strongly advise you to check out Frogacuda's FAQ.  As for this guide,
it's time to move on to the different game modes.

3. Game Modes

1) STORY:  This is the first mode you will start off with, and how you will 
unlock characters other than Ippo.  You play as Ippo and fight opponents in 
the following order:
  a. Miyata (3 knockdown rule, you can only use Sp. Uppercut R+up+B)
  b. Hayami (2 knockdown rule)
  c. Mashiba (2 knockdown rule, you can now use Liver Blow R+down+B)
  d. Sendo (2 knockdown rule, you can now use Smash R+right+B)
  e. Okita (3 knockdown rule)
  f. Saeki (3 knockdown rule)
  g. Vorg (3 knockdown rule, you can now use Gazelle Punch R+left+B)
  h. Date (3 knockdown rule) If you beat Date, you finish the game! Ippo yells
     out "I did it!! I really did it, Coach!!!"
  i. If you lose, you fight Shigeta (3 knockdown rule, you can now use Dempsey
     Roll R+left->right+B)
  j. Sendo (3 knockdown rule) If you win, you see a picture of Ippo assuming a
     fighting pose with Hachi, and the coach says "You did well, kid."

2) TOURNAMENT:  Ah, the meat of the game.  In tournament mode, you can choose 
any of the ten playable characters.  You can also set certain options, such as
the difficulty, opponent order, stage order, and round amount.  
  a. Everyone has a certain order of opponents normally, but sometimes setting
     this option to random can be fun to mix up the game (besides, it's always 
     fun to fight a level 9 Hayami!)
  b. The difficulty does not change the stats of any character; rather, it 
     changes their AI.  For example, on easy mode the opponent will rarely (if 
     ever) use defensive spirit modes.  Also, they won't get up at 9 with a 
     spirit recover (R+up+A) even if they have enough spirit.  Normal and Hard 
     modes are usually smarter and more aggressive.
  c. Regardless of what character you choose and options you set, you will face 
     9 opponents.  Each opponent will possess a certain level of attack, 
     defense and guard relative to the order you fight them in.  For instance,
     your first opponent will have level 1 attack, defense and guard, while 
     your final opponent will have level 9 attack, defense and guard.  Since 
     level 9 usually has a huge increase from level 8 in all aspects, the final
     opponent will usually be much more difficult than the previous 8 

3) VERSUS:  Another great mode... remember, both you and your friend must have 
a copy of HnI to play against eachother.  You can use your custom characters as
well.  Hm, not a whole lot to mention here.

4) CUSTOM:  Here you customize your own character.  First you choose one of the
ten playable characters.  This character will start off with NO spirit moves 
and level 1 attack, defense and guard.  You can buy spirit moves for him and 
upgrade his stats by using points.  Points are earned in STORY and TOURNAMENT 
mode.  Each match you win earns 50 points, while successfully completing a mode
earns 200 points.  When you customize your character, make sure he has some 
offensive spirit moves, and maybe a few defensive ones if you use those.  Then
I suggest increasing attack before any other stat.  The fastest way to earn 
points is by using a Miyata with level 9 attack.  With this custom character 
you can breeze through tournament mode on easy and floor EVERYONE (even the 
final opponent!) with a jolt counter!  Also remember that level 9 seems to be
MUCH better than level 8 in all 3 stats, so the insane amount of points 
required (1800 for the final upgrade) is worth it.

These are all the main modes that require any explanations or strategy.  Other
menu options include sparring (which is a training mode) and an options menu, 
but these are generally self-explanatory.  Time for the meat of this FAQ: the 

4.  Tips and Strategies

1) Jabs are quick, have range, and inflict ONLY yellow damage (except Shigeta).
This means that all damage caused by jabs will heal as time passes!  Body blows
are the opposite; they inflict solid red damage.  Straights do good total 
damage and create distance.  Uppercuts deal more damage than body blows, but 
inflict more yellow damage than red damage.  Hooks do mostly yellow damage as 
well and deal less total damage than uppercuts, but are easily comboable.

2) As a rule, try to use attacks that inflict the most RED damage to the 
opponent!  Red damage only heals between rounds, so you can gradually wear 
down an opponent with red damage moves.  It is usually difficult to knock a 
tough opponent down three times in one round (if they have good defense), thus
it's better to use red damage than yellow.  The characters most suited to deal
red damage are Ippo, Okita, and Date, since they have good red damage specials
(Liver Blow and Corkscrew Blow).  Other characters should start a round by 
doing some jab-jab-body blow combos to wear the opponent down and occasional 
longer combos to build spirit.  Later, they should go all out and try to knock
the opponent down three times in a round (which should be easier since you 
took the time to wear them down in previous rounds).

3) Learn how to control distance!  Distance is extremely important to some 
characters, especially Saeki.  Most jabs require one space of distance, while
Saeki's requires two and Mashiba's requires three.  Mashiba has a way to make
inside fighters pay (by using his counter), but Saeki must rely on his quick 
walking speed to move in and out of the opponent's range.

4) When a computer-controlled opponent is walking toward you, he is about to 
attack.  Use this knowledge to dodge his attacks (direction and A when he gets
close) or beat him to the jab (if you're using a flicker jab character like 
Saeki or Mashiba).  Also, this is the BEST instance to use a counter, since you
know your opponent is going to attack!  Try not to waste spirit by randomly 
throwing out a counter when you're right next to your opponent and unsure if 
he's about to attack or not.

5) Stuns!  When your opponent is stunned, he is open for a free combo 
opportunity.  Stuns do not only occur with Date's Heartbreak Shot.  If you do
several combos in quick succession (each ending with a special), then the 
opponent will be stunned.  For example, two consecutive combos with Sendo, each
ending with a Smash, will stun the opponent.  Ippo can also stun the opponent 
with two competitive combos: one should end with a Liver Blow and the second 
should end with a Liver Blow -> Gazelle Punch.  Consecutive means there is VERY
little pause between combos.  If you wait too long or get hit or your opponent 
blocks between combos, then the stun will not occur.

6) For combos, the best combos are usually ones that start with 2-3 jabs then 2
hooks and an uppercut. Some people have better combos that start with hooks 
(such as Date and Okita) but that's usually slower. Vorg is an exception: he 
has an extremely fast 5-hit hook combo with good range, so use that a lot. Ippo
has a great 5-hit hook combo or 3-hit hook->body blow combo, but he has to be 
at point blank range to do this. If you're trying to wear the opponent down, 
just do jab, jab -> body blow over and over til your special builds.

7) Also remember to incorporate distancing with combos.  For example, if you 
want to get closer to an opponent, you can do a jab-jab-body blow or jab-jab-
hook-hook to get closer (this is especially useful with Ippo).  If want to 
create distance, end your combos with straights.  Also, characters like Saeki, 
you want to back your opponent as much as you can, so you may want to do jab-
jab-straight-hook-uppercut, which will push the opponent back a couple spaces, 
especially if you end it with a Sp. Uppercut.  Remember: the difference between
a jab-hookx2-upper combo and a jab-straight-hook-upper combo is mostly in 
distancing. The former won't move your opponent (and with some characters 
you'll actually go closer to them) whereas the combo with the straight will 
usually push them back a bit. Keep this in mind when you try to push your 
opponent into his corner.

8) To dodge effectively, try to anticipate when the opponent will attack and 
press A just a little before they start. This is easier when 1) you create 
distance and 2) your guard is red, since usually they will attack relentlessly.
I noticed that sometimes you can start a hook combo faster if you dodge left 
first instead of a normal jab.  I also find that it is easier to hit with a jab
after dodging up.

9) As for defensive specials... There are three total, although not everyone 
has all three (check the character specifics).  G-Cross (R+left+A) is decent if
your guard is red.. however sometimes it's better to leave your guard red. The 
computer will start attacking wildly, and you can easily dodge normally and 
counter with a combo. Down Avoid is worthless in my opinion since it only saves
you a little time, and thus is a waste of spirit. Special Defense (where you 
automatically dodge all attacks) is good but not as fast as normal avoiding. 
Date's Special Defense is different than others, and is actually one of the 
best defensive specials (more on this later). If you are knocked down and can't
get up, you can press R+up+A to get up as long as you have some special meter, 
regardless of how much damage you have.

10) The amount of spirit you receive as you attack depends mostly on the 
strength of your punches and the defense of your opponent.  The more you damage
the opponent, the more spirit you will receive! Also, Spirit Increase (chosen 
between rounds) will also give you more spirit per attack.  Thus, with someone
strong and with spirit increase, you can continually use spirit moves without 
having to conserve, since each combo should net you 2 or more spirit bars.

11) Speaking of Spirit Increase, there are three options you can choose between
rounds.  The amount of times you can use each depend on which match you are 
fighting in story/tournament modes (earlier rounds only offer a few, while 
later rounds offer more).  Feel free to use all three between every round, 
since you cannot carry over the amount into the next match.

12) Remember that counters only work at 0 or 1 space of distance.  That means
you cannot counter flicker jabs (Saeki and Mashiba).  Also, the power of the 
counter seems to increase depending on the power of the attack you just 

5.  Character Specifics

In this section I will dissect each character to show his unique fight style 
and any specific strategies.  I will also provide some background (so you can 
understand how his moves and quotes relate to the manga/anime) and translate 
their quotes.  The background contains many spoilers so don't read if you 
don't want. :P

5.1  Makunouchi Ippo

As the main character of the manga and anime series, Ippo obviously has the 
most background.  He first started as a very timid high schooler who helped 
his mom with her fishing boat business.  He was constantly bullied by Umezawa's
gang because of his 'fish smell' until, one day, a passing boxer saved him from
the bullies.  This boxer was Takamura, who became Ippo's idol and introduced 
Ippo to boxing at the Kamogawa Boxing Gym.  Here, Ippo trained vigorously and 
sparred Miyata (who eventually becames Ippo's biggest rival) then turns pro.  
Once pro, he gradually works his way up the ranks of amateurs, hoping to face 
Miyata in the finals.  After beating the likes of Ozuma, Kobashi, and Hayami, 
Ippo faces Mashiba in the finals instead of Miyata.  Out to avenge his friend, 
Ippo gives his all to defeat Mashiba, breaking his hand in the process.  At 
this point, he meets future friend and rival Takeshi Sendo, who is Ippo's final
opponent before claiming the title of Rookie Champion.

After a spar with current featherweight champion Date Eiji, Ippo is challenged 
by Okita.  Ippo beats Okita, forcing Date to consider Ippo a valid contender.  
Ippo then fights through the class-A tournament in order to earn the right to 
fight Date, defeating Saeki and Vorg in the process.  However, Ippo suffers his
first professional loss at the hands of Date, mainly due to his lack of 
experience.  Date then relinquishes the Japan Championship in order to pursue 
his dream of being World Champion.  Vorg and Sendo fight for the Championship 
belt, with Sendo barely winning.  After extensive training in the mountains, 
Ippo briefly spars Shigeta, then gets ready to challenge the new Japan 
Champion, Sendo.

a) Sp. Uppercut (1 bar, R+up+B): Generic special uppercut that can get tacked 
on to the end of combos.  Does not do much damage, but only costs 1 spirit bar.

b) Liver Blow (2 bars, R+down+B): Ippo's BEST. MOVE. EVAR.  Honestly, if you 
are having trouble with Ippo, just constantly use this move.  Liver Blow does 
an insane amount of red damage (which can't be healed) and only costs 2 spirit
bars!  I believe it is the most damaging move in the game in terms of red 
damage.  He utilizes this with devastation against Mashiba, Vorg, Date and 
Sendo.  Basically it is a powerful punch to the opponent's liver, using his 
left foot as a pivot.

c) Smash (2 bars, R+right+B): Ippo's smash is not really a smash per se.  It is
actually his 'motionless short upper' which he used against Miyata, but 
perfected against Sendo (first fight).  It has more range than his other moves,
plus is quicker than Sendo's Smash.  Use this occasionally if you block a move 
with lag, since it is relatively quick and has good range.  Otherwise, stick to
the Liver Blow.

d) Gazelle Punch (3 bars, R+left+B): Ippo trains his lower body in order to 
'spring up like a Gazelle' against Vorg.  This punch is a hook thrown from a 
crouching position upward into the opponent's chin or body, kicking up with the
legs.  In the game, it does a sweet amount of yellow damage (but not much red 
damage).  Even better, you can combo it from a Liver Blow!  I believe this is 
the only special that can be comboed from another special.  The Gazelle Punch 
was used by Floyd Patterson.

e) Dempsey Roll (4 bars, R+left->right,B): Ippo's trademark move! The Dempsey 
Roll is the perfect combination of offense and defense.  Ippo ducks down before
each hook, which he then unleashes with the full weight of his body, one after 
another.  In the game, it starts off painfully slow.  However, if you can last 
until Ippo starts moving, he will actually dodge any other attack (until he 
reaches the opponent), then slam 8 incredible punches into the opponent's head!
The best time to use this is a) at the beginning of a round (if the opponent 
does not move and is not Saeki, they will get hit!) and b) after a stun.  
Against a level 9 opponent, use the two combo strategy (with Liver blow and 
Liver Blow->Gazelle Punch) to stun the opponent, then immediately use the 
Dempsey Roll.  Unfortunately, the Roll doesn't do too much red damage, but it 
still does the most yellow damage for 4 spirit bars in the entire game.  

The Dempsey Roll was inspired by Jack Dempsey's aggressive fighting style.
Dempsey was known as the 'Giant Killer' and tended to dodge and roll to avoid
bigger fighters' slow long punches, then hit the opponent's face with several
power punches in quick succession.  En route to gaining his heavyweight
championship, he knocked the champion down over 11 times, breaking several of
the victim's bones in the process.

f) Defensive Moves:  Ippo has a G-Cross (2 bars) and Down Avoid (4 bars).  I 
rarely use these, and you probably should save your spirit for Liver Blows.

Select Ippo: What does it mean to be strong?  (He asks this question while 
  fighting Sendo)
Liver Blow: It's not over yet!
  (against Sendo): Sendo-san!!  (he uses this move several times to break 
    Sendo's Ribs)
Gazelle Punch: If I can just beat this person... (He also says this against 
Dempsey Roll: GOOOO!!!
Down Avoid: It doesn't hurt... it doesn't hurt! (or) I can't fall like this!
Getting up: What the heck am I doing?!
In between rounds: Coach: "Go for it, kid!"
Win 1: I did it!  (Ippo's typical cheer after winning a match)
Win 2: I did it! I really did it, coach! (Ippo says this after becoming the 
  Japan Featherweight Champion)
Win 3: Coach: "You did well, kid."

Ippo is the king of red damage.  He has above average power and defense and is
one of the few people to have a hookx5 combo.  You want to mainly use jab-jab-
bodyblow-Liver Blow at first, then when you get in close use hookx3-bodyblow-
Liver Blow.  Remember he needs to be RIGHT next to his opponent to use his 
hooks... if you dodge then try to use a hook from a space away the opponent 
can usually counter you.

Overall, Ippo is a good beginning character.  Easy combos, good offense and 
defense, nice specials.  Just make sure to keep close to your opponent!

5.2  Miyata Ichiro

Miyata has trained with his father ever since he was a little kid.  Miyata's 
father was a great outboxer whose career stopped after someone broke his jaw 
with a lucky punch.  Later in the manga, you find out that his jaw was broken
when he was trying to use a Jolt Counter... since he couldn't pull it off 
right, the opponent got in the life-shattering punch to his jaw.  Miyata swears
to prove that his father's boxing style is superior by using it himself.  He 
uses a textbook outboxing style, and has incredible reflexes.  Also, he is able
to read his opponent in order to use devastating counters.

Miyata is 1-1 with Ippo in sparring matches.  Ippo also considers Miyata a 
close friend and rival, although Miyata is rather worried of Ippo's intentions
(he thinks that Ippo is a little too friendly actually, if you get my drift). 
He promises to meet Ippo in the amateur tournament finals, but he loses to 
Mashiba due to cheap tricks.  He later transfers to other parts of Asia to join
the Pacific Boxing Association, in order to become stronger than Ippo.  He 
learns how to use the incredible Jolt Counter, which he uses to defeat Jimmy 
Sisfer in Thailand.  He later becomes the PBA champion, and in the manga has 
yet to challenge Ippo in a professional match.

a) Sp. Uppercut (1 bar, R+up+B): Generic special uppercut.  However, it 
Miyata's only offensive special that he can tack on to the end of combos.  It's
better if you save your spirit for his counters however.

b) Counter (2 bars, A+B): A great counter.  This is Miyata's trademark move 
until he learns the Jolt Counter.  It does great red and yellow damage, 
especially for just 2 spirit bars.  Just make sure you get it to work! (check 
the strategies for help)

c) Jolt Counter (4 bars, R+A+B): The absolute most damaging special in the 
game.  A level 9 Miyata can floor the last opponent in Tournament mode with 
just ONE of these suckers!  No other character can do this!  Basically, a Jolt 
Counter is a counter where Miyata shifts his weight to the ball of his leading 
foot.  He then uses the entire weight of his body to punch at the exact moment 
that the opponent punches.  Save your spirit for this if possible, it will 
probably do enough damage to earn you a full 2-4 spirit bars back!  Remember 
counters do more damaging depending on the strength of the attack you 

Every good boxer knows the importance of counterpunches.  However, after
reading the description of the Jolt Counter (weight on balls of feet, lean
forward and dodge the opponent's blow, then throw the right over their guard),
I have the feeling the actual punch was modeled off of Michael Spinks'
trademark move, the 'Spinks Jinx.'  This was a long right straight punch that
required Spinks moving in toward his opponent then hitting the face over the
victim's guard.  Although not always used as a counterpunch, the description
closely matches the Jolt Counter.  Also, if you see pictures of Spinks using
the Spinks Jinx as a counter, they look extremely similar to the picture of
Miyata using the Jolt Counter on Jimmy Sissfer.

d) Defensive moves:  Don't use G-Cross: it costs 4 spirit bars for Miyata and 
is useless.  Special Defense allows him to automatically dodge moves and only 
costs 2 bars, but I find those 2 bars more useful for counters. However, 2 bars
is actually not that much compared to everyone else's special defense, so if 
you're worried you're taking too much damage, use this. Down Avoid is 5 bars, 
so don't use that.

Select him/Special Defense: Don't get cocky.
Counter: Gotcha!
Jolt Counter: How's this?!
Down Avoid: Sh*t...
Getting up: That guy is waiting for me... (referring to Ippo)
  (Against Ippo) I can't lose like this!
Between rounds: You've really done it now...
Win: Watch me prove myself. (or) I've proven myself.

Miyata is definitely one of the best and most underrated characters in this 
game.  His normal punches lack power and he has below average defense, but his
counters more than make up for it.  Use the first round to wear your opponent 
down if you think you need to, and build enough super for 3 jolt counters in a
row.  Take advantage of his quick jabs (I believe he can also chain 3 of them 
in a row) as well.  Then unleash all 3 jolt counters; there's no way the 
opponent can survive that!  Plus, don't ever use down avoid.  If you're about 
to be knocked down, use special defense instead since that only costs 2 bars. 
I don't find sidestepping (right+right or left+left) useful except in versus 
mode (this really messes up human players' timing).

5.3 Vorg Zangief

Vorg, a Russian native, is the Amateur World Champion.  However, the amateur 
ring is much different than the professional ring: they use helmets, bigger 
gloves, and are judged by points and techniques.  For this reason, Vorg has 
much better technique and comboability than most other boxers.  He is aiming 
for the Japan World Championship in order to support his ailing mother in 

At first he does not enjoy boxing at all, and only uses it as a means to make 
money and become stronger.  However, during his fight with Ippo, he realizes he
does truly enjoy boxing and competing with strong opponents.  Vorg possesses 
good speed, strength, defense, and comboability, and also has a very 
distinctive finishing move called the White Fang.  This move is an ultra-quick 
combination starting with a short uppercut and ending with a chopping overhead.

He eventually loses to both Ippo and Sendo, and thus returns to Russia (for the
moment).  Later he returns to Japan to help Ippo train for Ryuhei Sawamura.

a) Sp. Uppercut (1 bar, R+up+B): Generic special uppercut.  I almost never use 
this for Vorg, because I'd rather save his spirit for his White Fang and 
occasional defensive maneuvers.

b) White Fang (4 bars, R+right+B): Now this is great!  Technically it is 
actually 2 hits which uses 2 bars each, but since you can't separate them, it 
really is a 4 bar move.  The extra hit helps break through the opponent's guard
if needed, but I don't suggest you use a 4 bar move to break someone's guard. 
The White Fang does great yellow damage and decent red damage.  Tack it on to 
the end of his 5 hit hook combos to inflict major yellow damage and knock the 
opponent down!

c) Defensive moves:  Vorg's G-cross and Special Defense both cost 3 bars, while
Down Avoid costs 4.  I usually don't use any of these because Vorg is an 
offensive fighter, but he has all three in case you need them.

Select/Special Defense: I shall be the winner.
White Fang: With this... you're finished!
Down Avoid: This isn't the end!
Getting up/Between rounds: At home.. my mother is waiting!
Knocks you down: It'd be best if you stay down.
Win: Mother...

Take advantage of Vorg's incredible combos! He has the best combo in the game 
with his hookx3-bodyblow-hook combo.  It's the only 5 hit combo with a body 
blow in the game! Plus, his hooks are quick and have a range of one space (as 
opposed to Ippo, who also has a 5-hook combo but needs to be right next to the 
opponent).  His jabs are also fast, but his hooks are much better since they do
more total and red damage.  Also, use his hookx3-body blow-hook combo 
repeatedly to both wear down the opponent and build spirit extremely quickly.  
Then let loose with several White Fangs in a row (each at the end of a combo of
course).  Remember that Vorg relies more on yellow damage than most other 
characters, so try for three knockdowns.

5.4  Hayami Ryuichi

When Hayami was an amateur, he was hailed as a boxing genius and "The Next Big
Thing."  He won the inter-high boxing tournament in Japan and was favored to 
win the amateur tournament as well.  He has decent footwork and outboxing 
skills but, more importantly, can throw consecutive punches incredibly fast.  
These quick punches are called Shotgun.

However, Ippo manages to counter Hayami's trademark Short Upper (which isn't 
used in this game), which then makes the genius become weak on his legs.  Ippo
then manages to weave through all of the Shotgun punches and lands a great 
uppercut which floors Hayami.  Later Hayami moves down to Jr. Featherweight and
fights Kobashi for the vacant Jr. Featherweight Championship Belt.  Kobashi 
lands an uppercut on Hayami's chin, which was never the same after being hit by
Ippo's dynamite punch.  He then loses again... but despite losing, he is still 
extremely popular with the media and fans.

a) Sp. Uppercut (1 bar, R+up+B):  Generic Special Uppercut.  Waste of a bar, 

b) Left Shotgun (1 bar, R+left+B): An extremely underrated move.  When used in
combos, this move only hits once for pathetic damage then pushes the opponent 
back several spaces.  However, if the opponent is blocking, it hits up to 5 
times and usually breaks his guard.  Since it only costs 1 bar and hits 5 
times, it's great to use after a combo to almost definitely break the 
opponent's guard.  After that, you can combo at will since the opponent is 

c) Right Shotgun (2 bars, R+right+B): A decent special move that hits 5 times 
for good red and yellow damage.  However, it usually doesn't do too much damage
due to Hayami's weak power.  It is still the best use of Hayami's spirit.

d) Defensive moves: Hayami can use all three defensive moves: G-cross and Sp. 
Defense cost 3 bars while Down Avoid uses 5 bars.  I find these are too 
expensive to be useful.

Select: You're an amateur.
Left Shotgun: Don't mess with me.
Right Shotgun: It's too early to get cocky! (literally "You shouldn't be taking
  it easy yet!")
Down Avoid: The winner will be me!
Special Defense: You bastard...
Getting up: I can't lose like this!

Hayami is probably one of the worst characters in the game along with Saeki.  
It is still quite possible to win with him, but you need to play extremely 
carefully.  Hayami has low offense, defense, and speed.  You'll want to break 
the opponent's guard then attack relentlessly.  Since he has no spectacular 
combos, you may want to just do several jab-bodyblow combinations to wear the 
opponent down.  After a few rounds of this, let loose with several shotguns to
try to knock the opponent down three times and win by TKO.

5.5  Okita Keigo

Okita was the Japan Rookie Featherweight Champion the year before Ippo won the
tournament.  He idolizes the current Featherweight Champion Date Eiji and 
joined the same gym.  In the past year, he accumulated a good deal of 
experience, learned tactics and moves from Date, and rose to the #5 ranking in
Japan.  He challenges Ippo because he is jealous that Date chose Ippo over him
as his sparring partner.

Okita in the manga uses several feints to trick Ippo.  He can also use Date's 
trademark move, the Corkscrew blow.  This move uses the entire body to add 
additional spin to the punch, drastically increasing its power.  However, 
because of this extra windup, it is also easier to see coming and can only be 
used effectively at midrange.  He eventually loses to Ippo because, according 
to Date, there is a difference between someone trying to copy a person (Okita)
and someone trying to surpass a person (Ippo).

a) Sp. Uppercut (1 bar, R+up+B): Same as everyone else's generic 1 bar upper.

b) Corkscrew Blow (2 bars, R+right+B): This is an incredible move, and one of 
the best 2 bar moves in the game.  It does a great amount of red damage, but 
also does good yellow damage, so it's actually better than Ippo's Liver Blow. 
In the manga, Corkscrew Blows were easy to predict and block, but in the game,
they can easily be added to the end of combos... so do it!

The Corkscrew Blow is indeed a real move.  It was used by Charles 'Kid' McCoy,
who held the World Heavyweight Championship title in 1897.  He was known as a
hard puncher with a killer right, often using his 'Corkscrew Twist' at the end.

c) Defensive Moves: Okita doesn't have a special defense.  Instead, he only 
has G-cross (3 bars) and Down Avoid (4 bars).  Again, nothing special.

Select: Date-san...
Down Avoid/Between Rounds: I won't fall down no matter what...
Getting up: I won't lose!!
Knocks you down: You're ten years too early... (common Japanese phrase meaning
  you need to train 10 more years to compete with him... he says it to Ippo in
  the anime)

Honestly, I cannot see any reason to use Okita.  He is not a bad character, and
you can easily use him to beat the game thanks to his Corkscrew Blow and above 
average offense and defense.  His punching and walking speed is average, and he
has a nice hookx3-uppercut-straight combo which you can end with a Corkscrew. 
However, I can't find ANYTHING making him different/better than Date! He is 
basically a slower Date with less moves.  Date has so many advantages over him
(fast jabs, faster combinations, Heartbreak Shot, a VERY effective Special 
Defense) that I see no reason to use Okita.  Everyone else in the game is 
unique in some way except this guy.  Overall, he is still better than Saeki and
Hayami, so if you don't like Date, I guess you can use this scrub :P

5.6 Date Eiji

Japan Featherweight Champion!  Date is the oldest and most experienced boxer in
this division.  When he was young, he quickly rose the ranks to become the 
Japanese Champion, but lost against the World Featherweight Champion.  After 
this traumatic loss (along with some family problems) he quit boxing until 
several years later, when his wife helped him realize that he isn't himself 
unless he is boxing.  Now he boxes to show the world and his son who he truly 

Date becomes Ippo's goal after a sparring match.  In their eventual fight, Date
becomes enraged as Ippo continues to pound on him, and shows Ippo what true 
determination is.  Ippo keeps on fighting, but doesn't realize how much he hurt
Date, since Date uses several methods to either dissipate the pain or hide the 
pain.  Eventually, Date manages to connect with a Heartbreak Shot to stun Ippo.
Just as Date is about to finish Ippo off, Ippo's coach throws in the towel, 
resulting in Ippo's first professional loss.  After this grueling match, Date 
believes he is ready for the world stage, and leaves Japan in order to fight a 
rematch with the World Champion.

a) Sp. Uppercut (1 bar, R+up+B): Generic 1 bar Uppercut.

b) Corkscrew Blow (2 bars, R+right+B): Like I mentioned previously, the 
Corkscrew Blow is one of, if not THE, best 2 bar special move in the game! It 
inflicts both great red and yellow damage, which will both hurt and wear down 
the opponent.  Tack it onto the end of every combo!

The Corkscrew Blow is indeed a real move.  It was used by Charles 'Kid' McCoy,
who held the World Heavyweight Championship title in 1897.  He was known as a
hard puncher with a killer right, often using his 'Corkscrew Twist' at the end.

c) Heartbreak Shot (4 bars, R+down+B): This punch is actually a Corkscrew Blow 
that hits a certain position above someone's heart.  Supposedly it temporarily
stops the victim's heart, resulting in a stun.  In this game, it does about the
same amount of damage as a Corkscrew but also stuns the opponent.  I don't 
recommend using an extra 2 spirit bars just to stun the opponent, since it's 
not hard to land combos anyway.

d) Defensive Moves: Date has the best defensive move in the game! His G-cross 
(3 bars) and Down Avoid (4 bars) are nothing special, but he has a VERY unique 
Special Defense that only costs 2 bars! In the anime, he is able to predict an 
opponent's punches, then twisting with the hits to dissipate the damage.  He 
does the same in this game (he even looks different when getting hit), and any
combo that hits him does ridiculously low damage.  Since this only uses 2 bars,
use this whenever you're in a jam or if your guard breaks.

Select: Let's go, pops. (He says this to his coach whenever he becomes serious)
Corkscre: Damn you..
Heartbreak: You piece of sh-t!
Down Avoid: I'm not going to go down.
Special Defense: Doesn't hurt at all.
Win: This is the real me.  (Referring to his true boxing self)

Date is probably the best all-around character in the game.  He has above 
average offense, defense, and walking speed.  Plus, he some of the fastest 
jabs in the game (possibly tied with Shigeta).  These fast jabs allow for easy
combos since you will almost always beat the opponent to the jab.  He also has
a nice 5 hit combo with good range (hookx3-upper-straight) and can finish this
combo with the awesome Corkscrew Blow.  If that wasn't enough, he has the best
defensive special in the game with his unique Special Defense that takes all 
the bite out of any hits he may take.  It also lasts a good amount of time for
only 2 spirit bars.  Plus, if you have spirit to spare, you may want to use 
Heartbreak Shot to stun the enemy for another immediate combo.  Basically, you
can't go wrong with Date.

5.7  Mashiba Ryo

Mashiba had to take care of his sister Kumi by himself when their parents died
in a car accident.  Since he truly does care for his sister, he took up boxing
to provide a better life.  He also enjoys boxing because "there are no 
favorites here."  He is generally a very cold and almost sinister man who will
try to win at all costs.  He is compassionate toward his sister, but quite 
menacing to EVERYONE else.

Mashiba uses a very unique style that is copied from Thomas "The Hitman" 
Hearns.  Tommy Hearns used his incredibly long arms and reach to throw quick 
snakelike jabs which were dubbed "Cobra Jabs" or "Flicker Jabs." He went on to
win or at least compete evenly with incredible opponents like Roberto Duran, 
Sugar Ray Leonard, and Marvelous Marvin Hagler.  Mashiba also uses the flicker
jab, and is thus dubbed "The Hitman."  In the rookie tournament, Miyata uses 
his quick reflexes to counter Mashiba's flicker jabs.  Later, he eventually 
uses dirty tricks to beat Miyata.  Because of this, Ippo trains vigorously to
exact revenge for his good friend.  Mashiba eventually loses to Ippo in the 
tournament and moves up to Jr. Lightweight division.  He later becomes the 
champion in this division and makes several successful defenses, even against
Ippo's friend and gymmate Kimura.

Mashiba's relationship with Ippo in the manga is actually quite humorous.  Both
Ippo and Mashiba's sister Kumi like eachother, but they can never seem to hit 
it off due to Mashiba's constant interference.  He becomes somewhat less 
"sinister" but still is always hard to talk to.

a) Flicker Jabs (0 bars, B):  These aren't spirit moves, but deserve special 
recognition anyway.  These jabs cover THREE spaces of distance, and are thrown 
relatively quickly.  They also combo into eachother VERY quickly and up to four
times!  Plus, since you are far away, your jabs and straights cannot be 
countered.  The only downside is that each jab only does YELLOW damage, so they
will not do any permanent damage.

As noted in the above section, Mashiba's flicker jabs are modeled after Tommy
Hearns' flicker/cobra jabs.  Hearns also preferred to keep a low left guard in
order to throw quick hard jabs.

b) Sp. Uppercut (1 bar, R+up+B):  Generic uppercut, absolutely NO use to 

c) Flicker Jab Flurry (2 bars, R+left+B):  A very good special that throws a 
flurry of flicker jabs from a distance.  This is the only offensive special 
that can be comboed after Mashiba's jabs or straights.  All other special moves
require Mashiba walking toward the opponent after the jabs or straights since 
he is so far away.  Does a decent amount of damage, but nothing spectacular.

d) Chopping Right (3 bars, R+right+B):  Devastating overhead blow that does 
great red and yellow damage.  The only downside is that you have to be close 
to pull this off, and thus it cannot be comboed from his jabs or straights.  
You can combo it from any other punches, but his best combo up close with this
move would be hookx3-chopping right.

Hearns had the most feared punch of his time in the Middleweight and Welter-
weight divisions: his overhand right.  It was thrown straight, long, and hard,
and felled many victims, most noticeably Roberto Duran.  This is often heralded
as one of the cleanest knockouts in boxing history: after Hearns scored a few
of his trademark rights on Duran's chin, Duran was suspended in the air
momentarily before falling flat on his face, much like a tree being cut down.

e) Elbow Block (2 bars, R+A+B):  This does miniscule damage, especially for a 
counter.  However, it is quite useful, since it is Mashiba's best way to keep 
the opponent away.  In the manga, Mashiba uses his elbow to break Ippo's fists
whenever he gets in close.  This was supposed to negate Ippo's power and give 
Mashiba room to use his flickers.  This does the same in the game: when elbow 
countered, the opponent is sent a few spaces away from Mashiba and stunned for
a small amount of time.  The stun is long enough to throw a flicker jabx4-
straight combo, preferably ending with a Flicker Jab Flurry.

f) Defensive Moves: Mashiba has crap for defensive moves, he doesn't even have
G-cross! The only one he has is Down Avoid, which costs 4 bars.

Select: I'll end this quickly...
Down Avoid: Damn you...
Getting up: There's no way I'll lose!!!
Knocks you down: Just keep sleeping.
Between rounds: If I lose, this will all be for nothing!
Win: Kumi: "Congratulations, brother!"

Mashiba is probably the most unique fighter in this game, and is also probably
one of the better characters.  Try to keep the opponent away with jabs and 
straights.  Opponents usually have a tough time getting in close to a 
well-played Mashiba, and if they do, just use elbow block to push them back 
out, since his walking speed is rather slow.  Mashiba is also the only fighter
who can combo multiple straights (straightx3 combo), so use that often.  
Jabx4-straight is good for breaking guard, but remember that his jabs only do 
yellow damage.  After you break their guard, constantly throw straightx3.  
These are difficult to avoid, plus they push the opponent back so they will be
FOUR spaces away from you!  The only special you should use is Flicker Jab 
Flurry.  If the opponent does get in and you manage to dodge a punch, counter 
with hookx3-Chopping Right (if you use hookx3-straight-Chopping Right, they 
will be able to block or dodge the Chopping Right).  Be fast, since even his 
hooks are rather slow.  Overall, a good unique character.

5.8  Saeki Takuma

With the nickname "Speed Star," Saeki is definitely the fastest character in 
the game and anime.  His walking speed is incredibly fast and most of his 
punches come out rather quickly too.  However, he uses flicker jabs, which 
causes his jabs to be a bit slow but also have good range.  Saeki participates
in the class-A tournament and was Ippo's first opponent.  Ippo barely beats 
Saeki by taking advantage of Saeki's predictable rhythm.  Later, Saeki 
challenges the new Featherweight Champion Sendo, but loses in the first round.

a) Flicker Jab (0 bars, B):  Saeki's flicker is somewhat different than 
Mashiba's.  First, it covers two spaces of distance instead of Mashiba's three.
Next, it's actually quite faster than Mashiba's.  Third, he is able to combo 
any punch afterward! This means he can do jab-jab-bodyblow or jab-jab-hook-
hook-uppercut, whereas Mashiba could only combo with other jabs or straights.

b) Sp. Uppercut (1 bar, R+up+B):  Generic  special uppercut, and unfortunately,
this is Saeki's only offensive spirit move.  You'll probably use this only 
because he has no better moves to use spirit on.  One good thing about this 
move is that it will push the opponent away several spaces, allowing you to 
control the distance again.

c) Defensive Moves:  Saeki can use all three defensive moves: G-cross (4 bars),
Special Defense (the dodging kind, 2 bars), and Down Avoid (5 bars).  If 
anything, the only one you should use is Special Defense since it is relatively
cheap at 2 spirit bars.

(Saeki uses the suffix 'ze' after his phrases, making most of his dialogue 
  very much like slang)
Select: Let's make this sweet..
Special Defense: I'll just increase my speed...
Getting up: My legs are still good!
Knocks you down/Win: That was a decent thrill.

Saeki uses the most skill to use well.  He is probably one of the worst 
characters in the game, but you can still win with him, especially against 
human opponents.  The thing to remember is that he can walk forward and 
backward INCREDIBLY fast, so you need to learn how to control your distance.  
Plus, his jabs and many other punches can hit at TWO spaces of distance, giving
him unequalled range except compared to Mashiba.  He can also combo from his 
jabs (which Mashiba can't really do) for combos such as jab-jab-body blow to 
wear the opponent down.  If you are getting cornered, you may want to do a 
combo ending with a Sp. Uppercut to push the opponent away.  If playing against
the computer, remember to punch right when they walk within range, because they
will be trying to attack you and your jab has more range.  Also, Miyata, 
Shigeta and Mashiba will not be able to counter any of your punches if you are 
more than one space away!  Saeki has an incredibly difficult time against 
Mashiba however...

5.9  Shigeta Akira

Shigeta is only in the manga/anime for a short period of time.  He briefly 
spars Ippo for three rounds before challenging Sendo for the Featherweight C
hampionship.  He fights as a southpaw although he is right-handed.  This causes
his jabs to be much more powerful than normal jabs.  Although he does not have
the reflexes of Miyata, he is able to counter most orthodox fighters with a
right hook, since a southpaw's right hook is faster than an orthodox fighter's 
right straight.

Shigeta's biggest downfall was his arrogance.  At several points in his title
bout, he almost defeated Sendo, but instead taunted him.  This caused Sendo to 
become furious and use his newly trained legs to catch up to the southpaw. 
Enraged, Sendo did not let up on his flurry of blows against Shigeta, and after
the match Shigeta was not able to fight in the professional ring again.

a) Sp. Upper (1 bar, R+up+B): Generic special uppercut that seems to do more 
damage than most other Sp. Uppers.  May want to use it after combos since it 
is cheap and his only offensive special move.  Also he sounds really cocky when
you use it :P

b) Cross Counter (2 bars, R+A+B): A very good counter, about the same as 
Miyata's regular counter.  Good red and yellow damage.

Shigeta counterpunches differently than Miyata.  Miyata counters by dodging and
punching at the same time.  Shigeta uses his Southpaw style to counter, because
his Right Cross will hit an opponent using a Right Straight, since his right
hand is closer to the opponent's face.  This type of counterpunch is regularly
known as a 'Stop Counter' since it stops the opponent's punch by hitting them
first, much like outjabbing an opponent.

c) Taunt (2 bars, R+down+B): Shigeta raises his arms in the air much like 
during his fight against Sendo, and says 'Kon na mon desu ka?' ('Is that all 
you've got'?)  He remains open to counterattack for several seconds, but if 
successful, the opponent's spirit drops by 5 bars.

d) Defensive Moves: Shigeta has a G-cross (3 bars) and Down Avoid (5 bars).  
His defensive moves are rather expensive so try not to use them... use counters

Select: Come and get me!
Uppercut: Get off me, you scrub!  (He says this when Sendo keeps clinching)
Counter: Eat this!
Taunt: Is that all you got?  (Memorable taunt against the worn out Sendo)
Down Avoid/Between rounds: Not bad... (literally: Truly strong (sarcastically))
Getting up: I can't lose like this...
Knocks you down: Get serious!

Shigeta is a very fun character to use.  You will want to focus your fight 
style on his jabs.  His jabs are very quick and cause red damage, unlike anyone
else's jabs.  He can also chain three of them together!  His jabx3-body blow 
does a great amount of red damage that cannot be matched by many other 
characters.  Other than that, fight normally, occasionally using counters and 
Sp. Uppers if you have the spirit (which you should).  Taunting is useless 
against the computer but quite funny against human opponents (especially at 
the beginning of the round when you're at opposite corners).  Overall, an above
average character with good offense, defense, and good jabs.  The only problem 
is his lack of offensive spirit moves.

5.10  Sendo Takeshi

Sendo is probably the most well-developed character in the Hajime no Ippo anime
other than Ippo himself.  He is known as 'Naniwa's Rocky' because his fans 
liken him to the famous Rocky of the Rocky movies.  However, Sendo is striving 
to be like the real Rocky that the movies were based on: Rocky Marciano. 
Rocky Marciano's real-life boxing style was basically, "Who could deal the most
damage?"  Marciano rarely cared about defense, and instead took as many punches
as he gave, but likewise gave just as good as he got.  Marciano is credited as 
having the most intense training regimen of anyone in the boxing world and 
ended up retiring with an incredible record of 49-0.  Sendo wishes to emulate 
Marciano by focusing on exchanging blows rather than defense or clinching.  
Because of this, he prides himself on his strong arms and punches.  He started
boxing to become strong and protect people who he cared about, much like his 
father who died saving people trapped in a fire.  Because of all of this mixed
upbringing, Sendo has a caring yet brash personality and wants nothing more 
than to fight and defeat strong fighters.

Sendo considers Ippo the strongest man in Japan next to him after watching 
Ippo's fight with Mashiba.  He pressures Ippo into fighting him for the Japan 
Rookie Championship.  Sendo loses that match by falling unconscious, but 
neither he nor Ippo consider that finish to be convincing: and thus a rivalry 
was born.  Sendo eventually gains the Japan Featherweight Championship by 
defeating Vorg, and immediately calls out for Ippo.  Both fighters train 
vigorously out of mutual respect, and finally face off for the second time in 
Korakuen Hall.  There can be only one winner!

a) Sp. Uppercut (1 bar, R+up+B): Generic special uppercut, you won't be using 
this much, if at all.

b) Smash (2 bars, R+left+B): The smash is based on a real punch, known as a 
3/4 uppercut. Many boxers use this move because it is usually unexpected and 
thus difficult to dodge or block.  However, the smash has a large windup and 
recovery time due to its 'all-or-nothing' nature, so if it is dodged, the 
fighter is wide open for a counter.  In this game, there is no
large windup or recovery to a smash as opposed to any other special moves, so
you can just tack them onto the end of combos.  All of Sendo's smashes do 
mostly yellow damage with minimal red damage, so you'll want to go for a 
technical knockout instead of wearing the opponent down.  Also, none of his 
smashes are as quick as Ippo's smash at the release, so don't use this to 
counterattack after blocking a punch.  Sendo's regular left smash is probably 
the best damage relative to the spirit used, so use this generously.  However,
since the amount of spirit gained back is proportional to the damage given to 
the opponent, Sendo should always have spirit to spare.  If this is the case 
(especially after using a Spirit Up between rounds), feel free to use his other
more powerful Smashes.

The Smash was a famous move used quite often by Razor Ruddock in the early
1990's.  It was known for its insane power and unorthodox methods and was also
known as the 'Hookercut.'  To this date, no one else uses Razor's half-hook,
half-uppercut punch, because no one else can use it as effectively.  The Smash
was responsible for several knockouts, especially a dramatic knockout of
Michael Dokes in 1990.  Razor hit Dokes clean in the head with a Smash and
nearly took his head off.  Unfortunately, Razor never earned a Championship
title because he could never beat Tyson or Lennox Lewis.

c) Ultra-Low Smash (3 bars, R+down+B): Sendo only uses this smash in his first
fight against Ippo.  It is stronger than his left smash but requires much more
windup.  Still, you can use this at the end of combos.

d) Deadly Right Smash (4 bars, R+right+B): An incredibly powerful spirit moves,
Sendo uses a smash with his right dominant hand. A couple of these will 
probably down any opponent.

e) Defensive Moves: Sendo has a G-cross (3 bars) and Down Avoid (4 bars).  
However, just like his idol Marciano, you shouldn't worry too much about 
defense, and instead just pound the opposition with Smashes.

Select/Knocks you down: Alright!
Smash: Fine with me! (literally means something like "I've had enough!")
Low smash: Don't get cocky!
Right smash: You freaking idiot!
(against Ippo): Makunouchi!!!
Down Avoid: There's more!
Knocks you down (against Shigeta): This is what I've got.
Between rounds: I'm going to become even stronger!
Win: I've won!!!

Sendo is a very solid character with above average offense, decent defense, and
slow speed.  All of his combos and spirit moves do mostly yellow damage instead
of red damage, so you'll want to build spirit and then let loose with several
smashes in a row.  To aid to this strategy, two immediate combos ending with 
any smash will end up stunning the opponent!  This allows for another combo 
ending with yet another smash.. I doubt that many opponent can stay standing 
after that.

Since Sendo is slow both in walking and fist speed, you'll want to stay close 
when you can.  Stick with basic combos like jab-jab-hook-hook-uppercut-smash 
and hookx3-straight/upper-smash.  He doesn't have the comboability of Ippo or 
Vorg, but likewise his individual punches hurt more (in total damage, not in 
red damage).  As far as I know, there isn't much difference between his smashes
other than damage caused.  However, I think each one sends the opponent back a
different distance (Ultra-Low Smash sends the opponent back farther than Left
Smash, and the Right Smash sends them back the farthest).  Because of his 
outstanding power, Sendo is an easy character for a beginner to use.

6. Frequently Asked Questions

No one has asked me any questions yet. I will update this as people ask or 


Treasure/ESP - Thanks for this superb GBA boxing game!

Morikawa Joji - The author of the great manga series 'Hajime no Ippo.'  Thanks
for a hilarious and captivating story!

CjayC and www.gamefaqs.com - The absolute best gaming site OMG EVAR!! Honestly,
thanks for your dedication and effort to make this site possible.

Copyright 2003 Jin Kim