Men's Club World Champs 2023 - News.

2023 Asian club champions Suntory Sunbirds (source:

2023 Asian club champions Suntory Sunbirds (source:

Suntory Sunbirds Osaka became the first-ever Japanese club to win the Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship on Sunday and earned the right to represent their continent at the 2023 FIVB Volleyball Men’s Club World Championship in India. Grupa Azoty ZAKSA Kedzierzyn-Kozle defeated Jastrzebski Wegiel Jastrzebie-Zdroj in Saturday’s all-Polish final of the CEV Champions League, as both teams qualified to represent Europe at the Club World Champs in December.

Suntory have never played at the Club World Championships before. In fact, Japan has been represented at the competition by different clubs only three times, at the first two editions in 1989 and 1990, and most recently, by Panasonic Panthers Hirakata in 2013.

In Sunday’s final of the continental championship, held over eight days in Manama, Bahrain, the club from Osaka produced a 3-1 (28-26, 25-23, 23-25, 25-17) victory over Indonesia’s Jakarta Bhayangkara Presisi, with a 31-point match high from Russian super star Dmitriy Muserskiy, and became the first non-Iranian team to win the competition since 2015. The Iranian streak saw its end the previous day, when Suntory delivered a 3-1 (25-22, 23-25, 34-32, 25-17) upset of Shahdab Yazd to knock the Iranian champions out of contention for the title. Qatar’s Police Doha also stunned Shahdab by 3-1 (24-26, 25-16, 25-20, 25-19) in the third place match to win the bronze.

Muserskiy was named the competition’s Most Valuable Player (MVP). Setter Makasi Oya (Suntory Sunbirds), opposite Amir Ghafour (Shahdab), outside hitters Alain Junior de Armas (Suntory Sunbirds) and Mohammadjavad Manavinezhad (Jakarta Bhayangkara), middle blockers Belal Nabel Abunabot (Police) and Hendra Kurniawan (Jakarta Bhayangkara), and libero Fahreza Rakha Abhinaya (Jakarta Bhayangkara) made up the tournament’s Dream Team.

Grupa Azoty ZAKSA Kedzierzyn-Kozle claimed their third consecutive Champions League title. However, they have used the opportunity to participate in the Club World Championships only once before, back in 2017 when the event was held in Poland and they finished fifth. Jastrzebski Wegiel also have one appearance at the competition. In 2011, they claimed the silver medals.

In Saturday’s hard-fought Champions League final played in Turin, Italy, ZAKSA squeezed out a 3-2 (26-28, 25-22, 25-14, 28-30, 15-12) victory over Jastrzebski with a 23-point match high from their outside Bartosz Bednorz, which included three kill blocks and an ace, while French opposite Stephen Boyer led the opponents’ scorers with 20 points.

Reigning club world champions Sir Safety Susa Perugia of Italy and Türkiye’s Halkbank Ankara, who lost the Champions League semifinals to ZAKSA and Jastrzebski, respectively, earlier in the season, shared the third place in the final standings.

The MVP award went to ZAKSA’s American middle David Smith, who impressed with four kill blocks, two aces and seven spikes at a 78% success rate in the final. The fans voted setter Micah Ma'a (Halkbank), opposite Nimir Abdel-Aziz (Halkbank), outside hitters Alessandro Michieletto (Itas Trentino Trento of Italy) and Martin Atanasov (Ziraat Bankkart Ankara of Türkiye), middle blockers David Smith (ZAKSA) and Mert Matic (Halkbank), and libero Gabriele Laurenzano (Trentino) into the All-Star Team of the Champions League.