Quite often when we do research for one thing we stumble on something that's just weird and very different to what we were looking in to. We were recently researching the career of Koji Arisawa for a piece that will go up later this year, likely in or around December, and stumbled on Masayuki Koguchi (19-7, 3). More specifically we stumbled on the event that made Koguchi a well known name in Japanese boxing in the early 00's.
Koguchi had began his boxing career in 2000 and like many lesser known fighters he had very mixed success early on. He would lose his second professional bout and would also lose to Kazuyoshi Kumano in the 2002 Rookie of the Year. He really wasn't much of known fighter heading into the end of 2005, but that all changed on December 13th 2005.
Aged 28 at the time and sporting an 8-4-2 (2) record Koguchi was really still just an under-card fighter, often fighting on cards featuring the more well known Koji Arisawa, the man we were researching when we stumbled on Koguchi's story. On December 13th 2005 Arisawa fought for the final time, in an easy bout against Pichitchai Kawponkanpim to go out on a win.
Prior to Arisawa's bout Koguchi was facing Daichi Shibata and during the bout the wig Koguchi was wearing to cover his baldness began to come off his head. After the wig coming undone several times his cornerman removed it from the fighter between rounds 4 and 5. The incident lead fans into a sense of shock, and then loud laughter filled the arena as they realised what had happened whilst Koguchi continued the fight with his bald head on show.
Koguchi ended up winning the bout, stopping Shibata in 7 rounds, but the results was barely a footnote compared to the hair wig incident.
Following the bout Koguchi was cautioned by the JBC, as fighters weren't to wear anything other than gloves above the waist. He was given a "severe caution" but it was accepted that the wig had no impact on Shibata and the result wasn't over turned, though the two men would go on to have a rematch the following year.
Following the incident Koguchi was contacted by a number of TV shows, wanting to feature him and interview him, as well as hair growth companies wanting to sponsor him. Despite not being a particularly successful fighter he had suddenly become the man of the moment in Japanese sport.
When speaking about the whole wig situation in 2019 Koguchi revealed that he wanted to "look good" explaining why he wore it to fight in. Later on however he fought with out them, likely realising the the JBC wouldn't let him get away with it again.
Whilst Koguchi didn't fight in a wig after the the incident he did begin to wear various wigs as part of his ring walk and threw them into the crowd, often to great crowd reactions.
Following Arisawa's retirement Koguchi would go on to have his most successful run in the ring. He would headline a number of shows and even managed to secure a Japanese Super Featherweight title fight in 2009, which he lost to future world champion Takashi Miura.
Outside of the ring Koguchi got married in 2012, and works in the transportation industry. At the moment he still dreams of opening a boxing gym of his own in the future, but that dream does seem rather unlikely to come true.
Thinking Out East
With this site being pretty successful so far we've decided to open up about our own views and start what could be considered effectively an editorial style opinion column dubbed "Thinking Out East" (T.O.E).