The Japanese Boxing Commission and the Sports Writers’ Club recently held their annual awards ceremony in Tokyo.
The showpiece award, the 2021 Japanese Fighter of the Year, went to bantamweight champion and pound-for-pound star Naoya Inoue, who received 32 of 37 votes to win the award for the fifth time. This is a joint record he holds closely with Japanese greats Yoshio Shirai and Yoko Gushiken.
Inoue outscored Michael Dasmarinas in three rounds to retain his Ring Magazine championship and the IBF and WBA titles in June. With rare opportunities, due to COVID-19 measures in his homeland, “The Monster” ended the year by defeating unprecedented Thai fighter Aran Dipaen in eight.
The 28-year-old Inoue was also named Knockout of the Year for his destruction of Dasmarinas.
Masamichi Yabuki, who was sacked by longtime reigning WBC junior flyweight title runner-up Kenshiro Teraji, has been awarded Battle of the Year honor.
Kazuto Ioka won the Technique Award. The four-weight world title holder defeated the solid mandatory challenger Francisco Rodriguez Jr. (UD 12) and Ryoji Fukunaga (UD 12) won.
The valuable victory award was given to Kenichi Ogawa, who singled out Azinga Fuzile to claim the vacant IBF junior lightweight title.
The OPBF 140-pound title holder, Koichi Aso, received special release from the Efforts Award.
Highly acclaimed bantamweight prospects Ryosuke Nishida won The Rookie Award.
WBA flyweight belt holder Naoko Fujioka won the Female Fighter of the Year and was also involved in the Female Fight of the Year against Sulem Urbina.