"In the end... the duel between me and Makunouchi won't end until
one of us stops breathing!" - Sendou

Match 1 - Ippo Makunouchi vs Ichirou Miyata
Place: Kamogawa Gym / Match Type: Spar / Length: 3 Rounds / (Manga Vol 1 Ch 2-4)

Ippo's first match ever! After going through training exercises with Takamura, Ippo's finally put to the test in a real spar match with a much more skilled fighter. This match was to prove if Ippo was the prodigy student that Kamogawa was looking for. A very nervous Ippo took a pounding in the first round, getting knocked down twice, but survived the round. Ippo would soon retaliate against Miyata in the second. A barrage of Ippo's jabs shot out like a cannon and caught an overly arrogant Miyata by surprise! Unfortunately Miyata's years of experience and cat-like quickness was able to dodge nearly all of the attacks. Ippo's raw power finally got through Miyata's guard, and left Miyata wide open for an attack!

GONG! The sound of the bell rang, and the disappointed gym members did not get to see what they wanted. The start of the third round began, and Ippo quickly began where he left off. Miyata, now understanding what to expect, used his great footwork to avoid Ippo's jabs, and this time fought back. A volley of jabs planted Ippo square in the face, and was then followed by a nasty hook to Ippo's jaws. Ippo hit the mat and was in shock at what just happened. Because a blow to the jaw disrupts your brain, it is nearly impossible to control your body after you take a hit, even if you are completely conscious. Ippo, pounding on his legs to move, finally does so and wills himself into a fighting position. Miyata greets Ippo's heroics with a quick right hook that drops Ippo to the floor once again. Ippo once again gets back on his feet to continue the match.

Miyata, now pissed off more then ever, takes out his frustrations on Ippo. However, Ippo's determination of not going down is simply too strong. This infuriates Miyata more so, and he finally gets serious. Ippo finally sees an opening, but is countered by a right hook at full speed. Miyata's specialty, the counter, is a destructive defensive maneuver that can quickly change the momentum of a fight. Instead of simply blocking or throwing warning punches, Miyata uses a counter punch to use his opponents' energy to backfire on him. As the opponent goes head on during his attack, a counter will take that energy, and add its own destructive power to create a very strong blow. Ippo has finally reached his limit, and is knocked unconscious from Miyata's counter punch.

Ippo's lost was not a total defeat, as this was only a sparring match. Genji Kamogawa, the gym's owner, has now found a student that has the heart and motivation to become something big. The Kamogawa gym has found a new member, Ippo Makunouchi!
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