Naoya ‘Monster’ Inoue becomes 1st Japanese boxer to win ‘Fighter of the Year’ awards
By Ryan General
January 19, 2024
Naoya Inoue, known as “Monster,” has become the first Japanese boxer to receive both the Sugar Ray Robinson Award and The Ring magazine’s “Fighter of the Year.”
About the Sugar Ray Robinson Award: On Jan. 19, Inoue’s Ohashi Boxing Gym announced that the 30-year-old boxing star had been awarded the Sugar Ray Robinson Award, regarded as the sport’s most prestigious annual honor. Formerly the Edward J. Neil Trophy, the Sugar Ray Robinson Award recognizes the “Fighter of the Year” as chosen by the Boxing Writers Association of America. Notable past winners include Rocky Marciano, Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson and Manny Pacquiao, who won the award three times (2006, 2008 and 2009).
“I understand the association has a 98-year history, and I feel the size and gravity of receiving this award,” Inoue (26-0, 23 KOs) was quoted as saying. “I want to take on 2024 as diligently as I can.”
About The Ring magazine award: The Ring magazine announced on Jan. 5 that it awarded Inoue with the “Fighter of the Year” title for his remarkable 2023 campaign. Selected by the magazine editors, the award highlights fighters who showcase exciting performances or make significant impacts on the sport. The feat makes Inoue the first Asian boxer to earn The Ring’s “Fighter of the Year” honor since Pacquiao, who won the recognition in 2006, 2008, and 2009.
Stellar 2023 campaign: Inoue cemented his dominance by capturing the undisputed WBA, IBF, WBC and WBO super-bantamweight titles with victories over Stephen Fulton and Marlon Tapales last year. This marks a repeat of Inoue’s 2022 achievement, where he unified all four major titles in the bantamweight division before subsequently vacating them to climb to super-bantamweight.
The only other boxer to be undisputed world champion in two weight classes in boxing’s four-belt era is American Terence Crawford.
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