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Boxing films share a similar arc, typically climaxing in a big bout that decides everything — at least everything relevant to the hero’s fate. This does not always means triumph, as fans of the “Rocky” series know, but even in defeat the hero usually inspires respect and sympathy, at the very least for surviving a contest of a brutality that non-boxers can only imagine.

The challenge for a director is to film that big bout — and the ones leading up to it — not just as a record of a sporting contest, but as part of a story. Some rise to the challenge with blood-splattered realism, such as Martin Scorsese with his 1980 classic “Raging Bull,” while others evade it with cartoony excess, such as Fumihiko Sori with the 2011 film “Ashita no Joe (Tomorrow’s Joe).”

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