Earlier today the annual Japanese boxing awards took place at the Tokyo Dome Hotel.
As previously reported unified Bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16) [井上 尚弥] won the Best fighter award and the Best Fight at event, but was unable to attend due to illness. That however leaves the question "who else won awards?"
The Best Skill award was won by WBO Super Flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka (25-2, 14) [井岡一翔], who became the first Japanese male 4-weight champion in the summer, stopping Aston Palicte. He then defended the title at the end of the year against Jeyvier Cintron, putting in a very different type of performance against Puerto Rican challenger.
Like Inoue, Ioka also didn't attend the event.
The special award saw Ryota Murata (16-2, 13) [村田 諒太] pick up the honours, after reclaiming the WBA Middleweight title and then defending it just before Christmas. He explained his next bout isn't yet decided, though reports are suggesting a May or June date is likely. Murata also picked up the KO award for the year.
The Effort award was won by Yuki Nagano (17-3, 13) [永野祐樹], who won the award for what he did in 2019 despite recently losing the Japanese Welterweight title.
The Newcomer award was win by Junto Nakatani (20-0, 15) [中谷 潤人], who is now reportedly set to fight for the WBO Flyweight title in Spring.
As previously mentioned Naoya Inoue won the best fight in a world title fight, for his sensational bout with Nonito Donaire in the WBSS final. As for none-world title bout, that award, unsurprisingly, went to the brilliant war between Yuki Beppu [別府優樹] and Ryota Yada [矢田良太] for the WBO Asia Pacific Welterweight title. For fans who haven't seen that one, we genuinely implore you to give a watch!
There was a double award for female fighter Tenkai Tsunami (27-12-1, 16) [天海 ツナミ] who not only took the women's MVP award, for the second year running, but also the women's fight of the year for her bout with Naoko Fujioka [藤岡 奈穂子].
The excellent player award, which is given to every Japanese fighter who holds a world title at some point during the year, saw Inoue, Ioka and Murata receive the honour along with:
Kosei Tanaka (15-0, 9) [田中恒成]
Kenshiro Teraji (17-0, 10) [寺地 拳四朗]
Ryosuke Iwasa (27-3, 17) [岩佐 亮佑]
Hiroto Kyoguchi (14-0, 9) [京口 紘人].
The trainer award was given to Mr Kato from the Misako gym, who has been responsible for training Kenjiro Teraji.
There was also a number of special awards given out. These went to:
Kohei Kono (33-12-1, 14) [河野 公平]
Ryoichi Taguchi (27-4-2, 12) [田口良一]
Tatsuya Fukuhara (21-7-6, 7) [福原 辰弥]
And Hitoshi Misako
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Earlier we reported the death of Hitoshi Misako, the former fighter who went on to establish the Misako Gym and lead three of their fighters to world titles. the Misako held their first show following Mr Misako's death and as part of the event held a memorial ceremony for him.
The event saw Koichi Wajima, one of the three men Mr Misako lead to a world title, along with Mr Misako's eldest son, take to the ring for the ceremony before the bell was rung 10 times.
Although Mr Misako, who passed away on August 1st, isn't a notable name outside of Japan his role in setting up the Misako gym has been huge for Japanese boxing and the gyms long relationship with Fuji TV, who are the Diamon Glove series of shows, has been a key part of the Japanese domestic scene. His success with the likes of Wajima has helped build the Japanese scene to what it is and he certainly deserve a lot more attention from hardcore followers of the Japanese scene than he's had.
It was confirmed that Mr Misako's funeral will take place tomorrow, August 9th, from 6PM to 10PM local time.
For the second time in less than a week we've sadly got to report the death of a notable figure in Japanese boxing.
The sad news today is the death of Hitoshi Misako (31-14-5, 6), who had notable success as both a fighter and a promoter.
Born in 1934, in Niihama, Ehime, Mr Misako would have a notable professional career, which began when he was just a teenager before becoming a promoter and a key figure in the governing of the sport in Japan.
As a professional fighter Mr Misako fought from 1950 to 1958. As a professional he debuted at the age of 16 and he went on to claim both the Japanese and OPBF Flyweight titles, both in 1955. He scored notable wins over the likes of Speedy Akira and Tanny Campo, whilst also facing the likes of Leo Espinosa and Pone Kingpetch. Although his career lasted less than 8 years as an active fighter it was a solid one with 50 fights squeezed into it and he was, at one point, ranked#4 in the world at Flyweight.
Following his in ring career Mr Misako opened the Misako gym in 1960 and lead 3 fighters to world titles, the first of those being Koichi Wajima, in 1971, before following up that success with Tadashi Mihara in 1981 and Tadashi Tomori in 1982.
As well as running the Misako gym until 2014, when he passed it on to his son, he would also go on to hold the position of the Chairman of the Japanese Professional Boxing Assocation.
Sadly Mr Misakao passed away yesterday, August 1st, at the age of 85. His death comes only days after that of former OPBF Super Featherweight champion Yukio Katsumata, who passed away in late July at the age of 84.
We're sending our thoughts to those at the Misako gym and the family and friends of Mr Misako.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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