Naoya Inoue named Japan’s best boxer for record-breaking sixth time
The Japanese Boxing Commission and the Sportswriters Club held their annual awards ceremony at the Tokyo Dome Hotel on Wednesday. The showpiece award, the 2022 Japanese Fighter of the Year, went to bantamweight champion and pound-for-pound star Naoya Inoue, who won the award for a fifth consecutive year and a record-breaking sixth time overall, surpassing Japanese greats Yoshio Shirai and Yoko Gushiken.
Inoue definitively stopped old rival Nonito Donaire in two rounds to claim the WBC bantamweight title and retain his Ring, IBF and WBA belts in June. “The Monster” then became the undisputed bantamweight champion by defeating WBO titlist Paul Butler in 11 rounds.
The IBF/WBA middleweight unification between Gennadiy Golovkin and Ryota Murata was awarded Fight of the Year honors. Golovkin stopped Murata in nine rounds.
Kenshiro Teraji won the Technique award. The 31-year-old regained his WBC junior flyweight title by emphatically taking revenge on Masamichi Yabuki (KO 3) in March, then added The Ring and WBA titles to his collection by stopping countryman Hiroto Kyoguchi (TKO 7) in November.
The Valuable Victory award was given to Junto Nakatani, who stopped Ryota Yamauchi (TKO 8) in a WBO flyweight title defense in April. He then stepped up to junior bantamweight and bested Mexican veteran Francisco Rodriguez Jr. (UD 10).
Junior featherweight prospect Yoshiki Takei, who notched three TKO victories in 2022, won The Rookie award.
Featherweight Reiya Abe, who holds the Japanese title, was awarded special dispensation with the Efforts award.
Trainer of the Year was awarded to Teraji’s coach, Kenta Kato.
WBO junior bantamweight beltholder Mizuki Hiruta won female Fighter of the Year.
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