The Ring’s 2022 Awards Nominees: Fighter of the Year
The Fighter of the Year honor is the most prestigious and the oldest of The Ring’s annual
awards. The first recipient was Gene Tunney, who received the award in 1928, the year the reigning heavyweight champion retired from boxing.
Light heavyweight champ Tommy Loughran won the award in 1929 and repeated in 1931. Other repeat Fighter of the Year winners during the first 50 years of the publication include, Barney Ross (1934, which he shared with Tony Canzoneri, and 1935), Joe Louis (1936, 1938, 1939 and 1941), Ray Robinson (1942 and 1951), Ezzard Charles (1949 and 1950), Rocky Marciano (1952, 1954 and 1955), Ingemar Johansson (1958 and 1959), Muhammad Ali (1963, 1972, which he shared with Carlos Monzon, 1974, 1975 and 1978), and Joe Frazier (1967, 1970 and 1971).
This year’s nominees are:
Dmitry Bivol. The Ring’s No. 1-rated light heavyweight, who defended his WBA title against reigning undisputed super middleweight champ and then-P4P King Canelo Alvarez and undefeated (44-0) light heavyweight contender Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez, exhibiting boxing brilliance en route to unanimous decisions.
Kenshiro Teraji. The skillful but gutsy junior flyweight veteran who avenged the only loss of his pro career with a crushing third-round KO of Masamichi Yabuki and a WBC/WBA title-unifying seventh-round stoppage of domestic rival Hiroto Kyoguchi, which earned him The Ring championship.
Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez. The young junior flyweight contender leapfrogged the flyweight division to outpoint junior bantamweight veteran Carlos Cuadras, for the vacant WBC 115-pound title, which he defended twice against former WBC/Ring champ Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (TKO 8) and tough Israel Gonzalez (UD 12).
Naoya Inoue. The Japanese star blitzed Nonito Donaire in two rounds, adding the future hall of famer’s WBC 118-pound belt to his Ring, WBA and IBF titles, and then consolidated all of the major bantamweight titles by hunting down elusive WBO strapholder Paul Butler to an 11th-round TKO, which made The Monster one of boxing’s few undisputed champions.
The winner of Fighter of the Year (and all of the 2022 awards) will be announced on Friday.