The story centers around the life of a young boxer named Ryuuji Takane and his sister Kiku, who is his coach. Ryuuji and his sister both inherited their father's talent for boxing with Ryuuji inheriting his strength and techniques while Kiku picked up his talent for analysis and strategy. In the past, their father was a famous boxer. Ryuuji and Kiku went away from home to train and become famous in order to help their lonely mother. On the way to stardom, they have to defeat the strongest challengers all over the world.
In Ring ni Kakero 1, the characters are briefly introduced, telling the story from the moment Ryuuji and Jun Kenzaki (his eternal challenger and supposedly best friend) fight for the National Boxing Title and having both achieved stardom. Ryuuji's sister then tells the story from the beginning which starts from when Ryuuji is the finalist in a local youth championship and had to compete against Kenzaki, the latter winning after an almost tie and K.O. one-to-one fight.
Afterwards, most of the series tells about Ryuuji being the successor of Kenzaki (as the latter was terribly injured and almost crippled), who competes in the Japan National Boxing Championship, where he encounters strong and deadly opponents, including Ishimatsu Katori (a comic relief, but also a strong fighter), Takeshi Kawai (who specializes in the upper jab technique; he is also a pianist and also likes to cheat) and Kazuki Shinatora (who specializes in the Rolling Thunder technique; he is a former kendo practitioner, who retired when he challenged his father due to his cruel training).
Ryuji has also fought opponents from the United States (Black Shaft) and France (Napoleón Baroa). He once fought an opponent named Führer Skorpion, who ordered a fellow member of the Boxing Team to "follow" (i.e.: spy on) Kenzaki and Ryuuji, as possible threats to the World Championship.
Later on, the story arc about the Jr. Japan team facing Black Shaft's team was adapted into an anime, with Ryuuji, Jun, Ishimatsu, Kazuki and Takeshi represented Japan. Black Shaft had no intention of taking Japan seriously in a boxing match so he recruits Mick, leader of the New York branch of the Great Angels (originally portrayed in the manga as the Hells Angels, a real life biker gang). He also recruits Monster Jail, a deathrow inmate, and Miss Charnel, a mysterious woman boxing champion known for her unhealthy obsession with her own beauty that knows no bounds (even in the ring), to the point where she savors reducing the "pretty" faces of any opponent she faces in the ring into mush. She also has hypnotic powers that she casts upon her opponents to leave them as sitting ducks for her attacks and high-speed punches and fancy footwork. Black Shaft also recruits N.B. Forrest, also known as the emperor of the south and in the manga, a member of the Ku Klux Klan. The second season ends with Team Japan being targeted by a mysterious group called the Shadow Clan.
The Shadow Clan capture Kiku, in an attempt to provoke them to find out their current skills. Ryuuji goes off and fights quite a few members and is able to save him. The Jr. Japan Team then fight off against the 5 strongest members of the Shadow Clan led by Jun's older brother, Shadow Jun. Shadow Jun then fights off against Ryuuji, which ends in a draw since Jun wasn't concerned with fighting his older brother. Shadow Jun becomes a recurring character later in the manga.
Continuing in the manga, the Jr. Japan Team enter the Jr. World Tournament to get a shot at the current world champions, Team Greece. The first opponents are Jr. Italy Team, led by Don Juliano who rules the Mafia. Secondly, they fight Jr. Face Team led by Napoleón Baroa. Then at last, they fight against the Jr. Germany Team led Führer Skorpion and his assistant Helga who are able to reflect their opponent's attacks back at them. Surprisingly, Ryuuji doesn't fight the last match, as Kenzaki unleashes his Galatica Phantom against Fuhrer Skorpion.
After winning the Jr. World Championship. Team Japan then takes on the Best Team in the world, Team Greece led by Apollon. Each member represents the 12 olympic gods of Greece, and are out to fight Team Japan, but not before a few of the leaders of the other teams of the world join them. Team Japan is then joined by Napoléon Barona, Führer Skorpion, Krüger Helga, and Shadow Juhn. The leader of the gods is Zeus, who helps Team Japan take on the organization known as Asura, whom Kawai temporarily joins.
After Asura is defeated, the members of Team Japan retire, and Kenzaki decides to pursue a Pro Boxing Career now that he is 17. Kenzaki fights the current world champion, Jesus J. Christ who uses the strongest technique in the World, the "Neo-Bible". But before this match happens, Kenzaki is confronted by Katori on the way to the title fight, whom is enraged because of Kenzaki acting distant toward Kiku as of late. Kenzaki manages to come out on top, but thanks Katori for giving him his fighting spirit. Despite his injuries, Kenzaki manages to come out on top against Jesus Christ.
Later, Ryuuji also enters the pro ring, and then after a year of successful title defenses, Kenzaki issues a challenge to Ryuuji to end their rivalry. The fight results in a brutal death match, to where Ryuuji manages to defeat Kenzaki but during this match, Ryuuji and Kenzaki's bodies had reached their limit, and were on the verge of death. After Ryuuji wins, he falls over and is unable to stand. However, Kenzaki and Kiku are to get married on that same day (with Kiku wearing her mother's wedding dress) and wanting to show Kiku the victor, Kenzaki helps Ryuuji over to the Church where Kiku is waiting. But when they arrive, Ryuuji is unable to stand and falls over to his sister's arms. The rest of Team Japan and Shadow Jun rush to the church, but then find Ryuuji lying down...dead with a smile and the very title he won on his waist... next to both Kenzaki and Kiku who proudly smile at him. The ending was a tribute to the ending of Ashita no Joe.
The main techniques of Ryuuji are his Left-Right Jabs, his stubborn courage (similar to that of Seiya when fighting and never giving up) and his special techniques: "Boomerang Hook", "Double Boomerang", "Boomerang Square", "Boomerang Telios" and "Winning the Rainbow". Ryuuji and Kawai were the finalists of the tournament.
27 years after the first chapter debuted, the manga was finally adapted into an anime series by Toei Animation which premiered October 6, 2004 and was broadcast on TV Asahi. This covered the first story arc of the manga. Since Ring ni Kakero 2 was being serialized in Super Jump at this time, the anime was titled Ring ni Kakero 1 in order to distinguish it from the more current manga (the original manga was later republished under the anime title).
After B't X, Kurumada created Ring ni Kakero 2, which was published in Super Jump (a seinen magazine). Ring ni Kakero 2 tells the story of Kiku and Jun's son, Rindo Kenzaki who is now raised by Katori Ishimatsu after losing both of his parents. The manga ended in 2009 after 26 volumes.
- Ryuuji Takane (高嶺 竜児, Takane Ryūji?)
- Voiced by: Masakazu Morita
- Kiku Takane (高嶺 菊, Takane Kiku?)
- Voiced by: Rie Tanaka
- Jun Kenzaki (剣崎 順, Kenzaki Jun?)
- Voiced by: Ryōtarō Okiayu
- Ishimatsu Katori (香取 石松, Katori Ishimatsu?)
- Voiced by: Takeshi Kusao
- Kazuki Shinatora (志那虎 一城, Shinatora Kazuki?)
- Voiced by: Hideo Ishikawa
- Takeshi Kawai (河井 武士, Kawai Takeshi?)
- Voiced by: Hiroshi Kamiya
- Futaba Shinatora (志那虎 二葉, Shinatora Futaba?)
- Voiced by: Fumiko Inoue
- Takako Kawai (河井 貴子, Kawai Takako?)
- Voiced by: Mami Kingetsu
- Catherine (キャサリン, Kyasarin?)
- Voiced by: Mai Aizawa
- Black Shaft (ブラック・シャフト, Burakku Shafuto?)
- Voiced by: Takehito Koyasu
- Führer Skorpion (フューラー・スコルピオン, Fyūrā Skorupion?)
- Voiced by: Ryō Horikawa
- Krüger Helga (クリューガー・ヘルガ, Kuryūgā Heruga?)
- Voiced by: Hiro Yuki
- Napoléon Baroa (ナポレオーン・バロア, Naporeōn Baroa?)
- Voiced by: Toshiyuki Morikawa
- Don Juliano (ドン・ジュリアーノ, Don Juriāno?)
- Voiced by: Takaya Kuroda
- Shadow Juhn (影道 殉 (シャドー・ジューン), Shadō Jūn?)
- Voiced by: Takahiro Sakurai