K-1 WORLD MAX: Liu Ce Scores Knockout of the Year Contender Against Sina Karimian To Claim Belt, Fighters Shine in Event Mired With Controversy

Mar 22, 2024
Liu Ce after winning the title. Photo: K-1 Japan Group
It was a tough choice to pick which fights to highlight among a number of meetings between elites.

K-1 WORLD MAX went down this Wednesday with the opening round of the 2024 K-1 MAX -70 Grand Prix being held at the Yoyogi National Gymnasium. Despite a number of pullouts, which cost the tournament the likes of Davit Kiria and Jordann Pikeur, it still proved to be an entertaining affair. 

However, the event suffered from several strange decisions on the part of the judges, which handed wins to undeserving victors and led to extension rounds when none were perhaps needed.

RISE CEO Takashi Ito made it clear that this could potentially mark the final collaboration between K-1 and RISE, citing several reasons.

If you've missed it, the preliminary portion, as well as the K-1 vs RISE part is available free of charge at Triller TV, while the K-1 MAX portion is available for purchase on the same platform.



Darryl Verdonk, Ouyang Feng, Viktor Akimov, Kacper Muszyński, Zhora Akopyan, Romano Bakboord, and Dengue Silva were the seven fighters who managed to overcome their opponents and who will take part in the one-night tournament final on July 7, joined by a yet to be announced wildcard. Bakboord and Muszyński were the surprises on the evening, as they upset favorites Stoyan Koprivlenski and Thananchai Sitsongpeenong respectively, while Akimov provided the most stunning stoppage of the opening round.



Liu Ce did what most kickboxing fans expected him to do against Sina Karimian  - he stopped the Iranian in highlight reel fashion to capture the K- 1 Cruiserweight championship. Ce thrice knocked Karimian down prior to laying him out flat with a right hook in the second round. The contest could've been stopped earlier in fact, as Karimian was knocked for the fourth time prior to the stoppage, which would've led to an automatic technical knockout victory. However, the referee judged Ce to have landed the strike after a break had been called, which resulted in the knockdown being nullified and Karimian being brutally knocked out shortly afterwards.


K-1 Featherweight champion Taito Gunji earned perhaps the best victory of his career, as he took out RISE Featherweight champion Keisuke Monguchi. The fight was ruled a decision draw after the first three rounds were contested, despite Gunji appearing to have done enough to have his hand raised, which led to an extension round after which the K-1 representative was named victor by split decision. It extended his win streak to 13 consecutive fights and raised the question of what Gunji will do next, having beaten every notable name at his weight.




Darryl Verdonk def. Hiromi Wajima – KO at 3:00 of R1

Ouyang Feng def. Pascal Schroth – Unanimous Decision

Viktor Akimov def. Rei Nakajima – KO at 1:45 in R2

Liu Ce def. Sina Karimian – KO at 2:03 in R3

SAHO def. Antonia Prifti – Unanimous Decision

Kacper Muszyński def. Stoyan Koprivlenski – Unanimous Decision

Zhora Akopyan def. Taras Hnatchuk – Unanimous Decision

Romano Bakboord def. Thananchai – Extra Round Split Decision

Dengue Silva def. Riku – TKO at 1:57 in R1


Taito Gunji def. Keisuke Monguchi – Extra Round Split Decision

Koyuki Miyazaki def. Miyuu Sugawara– Extra Round Unanimous Decision

Yuki Egawa def. Hyuma Hitachi – Extra Round Split Decision

Shoki Kaneda def. Daiki Toita – TKO at 2:13 in R2

Yuta Matsuyama def. Andrei Haraguchi – Unanimous Decision


Hayato Suzuki def. Koya Urabe – Unanimous Decision

Masashi Kumura def. Luca Cecchetti – Majority Decision

Hirotaka Asahisa def. Rémi Parra – Unanimous Decision

Meison Usami def. Yasuhito Shirasu – KO at 2:37 in R1

Panchan Rina def. Koto Hiraoka – Majority Decision

Kwon Jangwon def. Yusuke Ando – KO at 1:47 in R1

Fumiya Osawa def. Yutaka – Unanimous Decision

Rui Okubo def. Kazuki Miburo – Unanimous Decision


Daichi Kimura def. Yu Fujikura – Unanimous Decision

Kengo Murata def. Takumi Shima – TKO at 0:52 in R1

Ryunosuke def. Kuto Ueno – Unanimous Decision