"The difference between winning and losing is like Heaven and Earth" - Kimura

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

Three months after their first spar, Ippo and Miyata were ready to duke it out once again. After months of grueling training, Ippo's motive this time was to compete evenly with Miyata. Instead of training to avoid Miyata's counter, the intrepid Ippo decided to take it head on instead. Kamogawa trained Ippo to strengthen his body, and also taught him a new devastating weapon: the uppercut. Fuji, a boxing reporter from "Monthly Boxing Fan" magazine, was there to witness to exciting fight between two non-pros. The ref would be none other then Takamura, and the prize for winning would be pride.

Takamura, the referee for Ippo's rematch with Miyata, gives the rules and some nice hand gestures as well!
Standing face to face in the middle of the ring, Fuji could only laugh at how pathetic the new comer Ippo looked. However, looks can be deceiving as the bell rang, and Ippo quickly dashed forward to attempt a vicious barrage of jabs and straights. Miyata, with a smirk on his confident face, showed Ippo that his three months of training did not go to waste. Miyata's footwork dazzled the crowd, and Ippo only struck air. Ippo was not frustrated by this, and quickly remembered the images in his mind of Miyata's fights. The images allowed Ippo to catch up to Miyata as he could now predict his movements. Like a starving dog chasing meat, Ippo would not allow Miyata to escape. A fast hook flew from Miyata's right, but the endless hours of imagining Miyata's shadow along with his second's training, Ippo was able to instinctively duck underneath it. A wide open Miyata was struck by Ippo's one-two combination, and for the first time Ippo had hit! Not only that, Miyata hit the floor in shock.

The spectators were stunned by what just occurred, but no one was more shocked then Ippo himself. Miyata rose and the battle commenced once again. An overconfident Ippo dashed out from his corner and attempted another one-two combination. Both struck air, and Ippo lunged forward but was met with Miyata's ferocious counter. What had knocked Ippo unconscious before was nothing more then minor damage this time around. The months of training prepared Ippo for a serious fight, and that is exactly what he wanted. Ippo, now back up, pressed forward to create an in-fight situation between him and Miyata, who was typically an out-boxer. Now in Miyata's uncomfortable zone, Ippo went on the attack and landed many hits. Ippo lunged forward once again with his right straight, and Miyata had him exactly where he wanted. Miyata's counter begun the motion, but the months of training to stop the counter was put to use as Ippo purposely moved forward to take the counter, which would cut the damage in half. Ippo, still with his head in Miyata's right glove, unleashed a catastrophic right hook that hit perfectly, blowing away Miyata to the canvas.

Miyata, a bit dazed now, got back on his feet to continue perhaps the longest first round this author has ever seen! Ippo, more confident then ever in his strength, went on the attack and attempted his first upper cut in a match. The motion was perfect, but Miyata saw this coming and barely dodged Ippo's fist. Miyata then hammered Ippo into the ground with a complete follow-through counter. 8 long seconds passed as Ippo struggled to get to his feet. Shocking everyone in the crowd, Ippo gets into his fighting pose, and the bell for the end of round one rang. Ippo started the second round as if he had not been knocked down twice in the first. Now with the pressure getting to him, Miyata was forced to clinch Ippo to slow down his attack. This occurred throughout the round, and so began round 3.

Miyata's goal for the second round was to recover from the damage placed on him during the first. Mission accomplished as Miyata came out from his corner with fresh legs. The out-boxing techniques of Miyata were showcased as Ippo could not lay a finger on Miyata. Miyata's agile movements allowed him to jump in, land his attack, and jump back out before Ippo could react. Many body blows commenced, and were finally followed up with a number of straights that were blocked by Ippo's bloody face. Ippo, perhaps confused by the beating he was taking, could only think of how much he enjoyed this fight since Miyata was serious. Three months ago, this would never have happened. The three months of training were enough to allow Ippo to fight evenly with someone he admired. A determined Ippo slowly rose to his feet, and the third round came to an end.

Kamogawa cleaned out the blood on Ippo's face, and could only stand in awe at what Ippo would tell him next. "I have not used it yet," said Ippo. Ippo went into his fighting pose and a confused Kamogawa left the ring. Takamura started the round, and Miyata exploded out of his corner to suppress Ippo near the ropes. Ippo could only endure the endless amounts of jabs and straights that Miyata threw because there were no openings. Finally a chance came, and Ippo dashed towards Miyata. Miyata felt a uppercut coming, and dodged to his left. However, Ippo's plan was not an orthodox uppercut, but a compact motionless one! His right came flying towards Miyata's jaw with very little motion. The punch had missed, and Miyata flew towards Ippo to retaliate. Just as Miyata was close to Ippo, his legs gave out and he fell to the mat.

No one in the arena knew what was going on. Miyata, still on the ground, chatted to Ippo calmly as if there was nothing to fear. However, the short uppercut Ippo threw did hit. One centimeter struck the tip of Miyata's chin. Five seconds passed, and Takamura continued the count. Miyata could not control his legs and could only beg Takamura to let him fight although he could not get up. Miyata's struggle was finally over as Takamura had counted to ten. The fight was over; Ippo had won his first fight.

One centimeter was the difference between winning and losing. One centimeter was the difference between Miyata staying in the Kamogawa gym, and him leaving to the Kawabara Gym. Miyata did not have much to say to Ippo after his loss, except that they both had one win and one loss, and they should finish their battle at the Western Japan Rookie Champion!
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