K-1 WORLD MAX 2024: Stoyan Koprivlenski Defeats Living Legend Buakaw on His Way to Winning the K-1 World Max 2024 Title

Jul 07, 2024
Stoyan on the attack. Photo: K-1 Japan Group
The Bulgarian top contender takes home the belt after an impressive night in Tokyo.

After a 14-year hiatus since its last event in 2010, K-1 World MAX made its return yesterday at the Yoyogi 2nd Gymnasium in Tokyo, Japan.

The spotlight was on Buakaw, who was vying for his third World MAX title, coincidentally on the same date he won his first title 20 years ago. However, it was not meant to be, as Stoyan Koprivlenski delivered the performance of his career, defeating the Thai in the first round and ultimately claiming the K-1 World MAX 70 kg championship.

The attending media was curious if that's the last time we have seen Buakaw in the K-1 ring. "I will have to think if I will fight in K-1 again. I want to fight in many promotions in Japan. K-1 will get bigger in the future, but right now my main promotion is Rizin. I want to thank everyone for not forgetting Buakaw. I will continue to train hard in Thailand. I might be older and different Buakaw now, but I can still fight. I will fight anyone. Thank you everyone for your support."



After grueling battles with Buakaw and Silva, Stoyan Koprivlenski entered the final bout more battered than his opponent, Akimov, who had won both of his previous fights by knockout. Despite this, Stoyan set the pace of the fight, landing clean knee strikes to Akimov’s body. He followed up with a barrage of punches, sending Akimov to the canvas.

Photo: GONG

Although Akimov managed to get up after an eight-count, he had no time to recover as Stoyan's relentless punch combinations earned him a knockout victory and the K-1 World MAX crown.

Photo: K-1 Japan Group

At the post-fight press conference, when asked about his next opponent, Stoyan simply responded that he wants the belt, setting up a title fight with the K-1 Super Welterweight champion, Ouyang Feng. K-1 Producer Carlos Kikuta confirmed that this would be the next fight for both fighters and K-1 aimed to match them up after Ouyang Feng recovers from his injuries.



In a highly anticipated non-title match-up between reigning and former champions, Kongnapa started strong, pushing Yuki Yoza back with powerful left hooks. He maintained a fast pace, throwing looping hooks and straight punches that pierced through Yoza's guard. However, Yoza responded with effective leg kicks and jabs, eventually prying Kongnapa open. 

A flying knee from Yoza to Kongnapa’s body brought him down, and although Kongnapa tried to retaliate, Yoza sealed the deal with a left hook that secured a knockout win.

Addressing the crowd after his win, Yoza called on K-1 to bring in even tougher international fighters.



Tough luck for 'Team World'. All four Japanese fighters advanced to the second round of the -55 kg tournament, which will take place on September 29. Scoring big knockouts on the opposite sides of the brackets, Akihiro Kaneko and Kumura Masashi are poised to be the favorites again.

Reigning Super Bantamweight champion Kaneko adressed his participation in the tournament after his knockout win.

"I'm sure there are some people who wonder why I'm participating in this tournament when I'm the champion, but I'm participating because I'm the champion. Only truly strong people become champions, and I want to show everyone the strength of spirit that we have as Japanese people."


K-1 WORLD MAX 2024

70 kg Tournament – Final – Main Event

Stoyan Koprivlenski def. Viktor Akimov – KO at 2:07 of R1

Yuki Yoza def. Kongnapa Weerasakreck – KO at 2:30 of R1

Shintaro Matsukura def. Alexandru Amaritei – Unanimous Decision

Viktor Akimov def. Sergio Sanchez – KO at 1:33 of R3

Stoyan Koprivlenski def. Raphael Silva – Unanimous Decision

Kaneko Akihiro def. Kan Meng Hong – KO at 0:57 of R3

Masashi Kumura def. Antonio Orden – KO at 0:56 of R1

Riamu Masamoto def. Angelos Martinos – KO at 0:40 of Extra Round

Rui Okubo def. Zhendong Zhao – Unanimous Decision


Kacper MuszyΕ„ski def. Zhora Akopyan – Unanimous Decision

Viktor Akimov def. Romano Bakboord – KO at 0:06 of R2

Raphael β€˜Dengue’ Silva def. Darryl Verdonk – Unanimous Decision

Stoyan Koprivlenski def. Buakaw Banchamek – Unanimous Decision

Sergio Sanchez def. Petros Freitas – KO at 2:25 of R2 


Yokoyama Tomoya def. Guilherme Monteiro – KO at 1:43 of R1

Takumi Terada def. Shoki Kaneda – Majority Decision 

Yuta Matsuyama def. Naoki Yamamoto – KO at 2:07 of R2

Kira Matsutani def. Yoo Jung Jung – Unanimous Decision 

Koji Ikeda def. Koki Tomimura – TKO at 2:05 of R2