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Naoya Inoue (17-0, 15 KOs), 25, a three-division world titlist and a reigning secondary bantamweight titleholder, was named Japan’s boxer of the year for 2018 in a pick made by the Japan Boxing Commission in conjunction with the Japan Professional Boxing Association and Japan’s Sports Writers Club on Friday. Inoue, one of boxing’s pound-for-pound best, won both of his 2018 bouts by first-round knockout. He crushed Jamie McDonnell to win a bantamweight belt in May followed by an October destruction of ex-titlist Juan Carlos Payano in the World Boxing Super Series quarterfinals. “I’m happy to be able to respond to people’s expectations with my best performance,” Inoue said.

Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer160d ago