11 July 2024

Thailand’s best-known Muay Thai boxer, Buakaw Banchamek, was defeated by Bulgarian Stoyan Koprivlenski in a three-round bout at the K-1 World MAX Championship, held in the Yoyoi 2nd gymnasium in Tokyo on Sunday night.

Last night’s fight was Buakaw’s attempt, at the age of 42, to return to K-1 World MAX, in the under 70kg weight category, since he won the championship in 2004 and 2006.

Last night’s bout was in the first round of the eight fighters’ marathon tournament. The winners of the first round proceed to the semi-final, after which the two finalists meet to decide the championship.

The rules forbid the use of elbow and knee jabs while pulling the body of the opponent.

During the second round, Buakaw took a kick to his chin, forcing him to pause momentarily. This prompted the referee to give an eight count.

In the third round, Buakaw was warned by the referee about using his knee. After three thrilling rounds, the Bulgarian boxer was unanimously voted the winner.

After the fight, Buakaw said that he was unable to dodge the Bulgarian’s kick to the chin but would consider fighting in the K-1 again.

“I want to fight in Japan. K-1 will get bigger in the future but, right now, my main promoter is the Rizin Fighting Federation. I want to thank everyone for not forgetting Buakaw and I will continue to train hard in Thailand. I might be an older and different Buakaw now, but I can still fight. I will fight anyone,” said the Muay Thai legend.

Meanwhile, Koprivlenski advanced the semi-final and final rounds of the championship, in which he knocked out his Russian opponent Akimov, winning the K-1 World MAX crown.