By Joe Koizumi
Photo by Sumio Yamada
An award ceremony took place at Tokyo Dome Hotel on Friday in Japan. WBC bantamweight champ Shinsuke Yamanaka was named Boxer of the Year for his three successful defenses all within the distance last year.
In the beginning of the ceremony sounded ten gongs to be dedicated to the late WBC president Jose Sulaiman who passed away last week before all attendants (JBC commissioner Yuko Hayashi, promoters, managers, trainers, boxers, press people, etc.). We really appreciate his great contributions to the improvement of boxing to make it safer so that your sons may participate in boxing. May his soul rest in peace.
Other awardees are as follows:
Technique Award: Takashi Uchiyama (WBA super-feather champ)
Valuable Victory Award: Takashi Miura (WBC super-feather champ)
Fighting Spirit Award: Akira Yaegashi (WBC flyweight champ), Kazuto Ioka (WBA light-fly champ)
Award for Efforts: Katsunari Takayama (IBF mini fly champ)
Knockout Award: Shinsuke Yamanaka
Rookie Award: Ryota Murata (ex-Olympic gold medalist; 2-0, 2 KOs; OPBF top middleweight contender)
Fight of the Year: Takashi Uchiyama vs. Daiki Kaneko (Uchiyama came off the canvas to retain his WBA 130-pound throne on December 31)
Female Boxer of the Year: Naoko Fujioka (newly crowned WBA super-fly champ by jumping up three categories)
Female Fight of the Year: Naoko Fujioka vs. Naoko Yamaguchi (Fujioka dethroned Yamaguchi on November 13)