Buakaw Banchamek (Kunlun Fight)

Who is Buakaw’s Opponent at the K-1 World MAX on Jul. 7?

The kickboxing legend Buakaw Banchamek will soon be back in action. Thailand’s Buakaw will soon face Stoyan Koprivlenski on Jul. 7 in the opening round of the K-1 World MAX Grand Prix 2024. Let’s take a closer look at Bulgaria’s Koprivlenski and the rest of the roster.

Who is Buakaw’s Next Opponent?

Thus far in 2024, Buakaw has had a few changes in opponents. He was booked to have a blockbuster boxing match against the legendary Manny Pacquiao. But, this fight fell through and was cancelled with no clear reason given.

The K-1 World MAX 2024 tournament began with 14 fighters on Mar. 20, but only the seven winners moved to the next round. This left one spot open for a wild card. Fans speculated on who it could be. K-1 revealed that it was the Muay Thai and kickboxing icon. Buakaw was paired up against the WLF and K-1 champion Ouyang Feng. However, the Chinese-born striker had to withdraw from the Grand Prix due to a rib injury. Instead, “The Sniper” Stoyan Koprivlenski was brought in.


Stoyan Koprivlenski is a dangerous and highly skilled striker in the 155-pound division. After an impressive win streak, he had two shots at kickboxing gold. He dropped two split decision losses, in highly contentious matches, against the RISE champion Kaito Ono and GLORY champion Tyjani Beztati.

Despite the losses, Koprivlenski’s stock remained high due to how competitive these matches were. Next, he avenged a loss to Sorin Caliniuc before jumping intot he K-1 MAX tournament. There, he suffered a decision loss to the unranked Kacper Muszynski, of Poland. This was a great shock in the kickboxing world as Koprivlenski was a favorite to reach the final of the grand prix. But, the Bulgarian striker will get a second chance on Jul. 7.

As a student of Mike Passenier, “The Sniper” employs a Dutch-style of kickboxing. He covers up on defense and attacks in combinations ending with low kicks. Another signature of Dutch-style and Koprivlenski is the constant aggression, this striker is always in exciting matches. The 30-year-old striker throws heavy hooks, mixing body and head punches, then ends with a strong low kick. The Bulgarian athlete also uses an inside leg kick and jab when at a distance.

The 42-year-old Buakaw changed the landscape of kickboxing when he won the 2004 K-1 World MAX Grand Prix. Since then, he’s collected various titles in kickboxing and Muay Thai since then plus fought the best of multiple generations of strikers. Now, 20 years after capturing K-1 gold, Buakaw is looking for the repeat. But it will be no easy task getting past the highly skilled Koprivlenski.

Whoever wins the above match will then face the winner between Dengue Silva and Darryl Verdonk. Brazil’s “Scorching Big Mosquito” Silva has won roughly half of his matches by way of knockout. The Dutch Verdonk is a former Enfusion world champion.

The other side of the bracket will see Russia’s Viktor Akimov takes on the Dutch-Surinamese Romano Bakboord. Akimov earned his place with a knockout win in HOOST CUP. Bakboord qualified for the tournament by upsetting the Muay Thai world champion Thananchai Sisonpeenong.

The Grand Prix will also see Poland’s Kacper Muszyński face Zhora Akopyan, of Armenia. Muszynski is a now a potential favorite to reach the final with his impressive win over Koprivlenski. Akopyan is a former IFMA world champion.

This will be a one-night 8-man tournament, the winner will need to fight three times in one evening to earn the kickboxing world title. In addition to the tournament, the Jul. 7 fight card will also see pound-for-pound ranked kickboxer Yuki Yoza face former K-1 champion Kongnapa Weerasakreck, of Thailand. K-1 Champion Akihiro Kaneko will meet Kan Meng Hong. Additonally, Masashi Kumura will welcome Muay Thai striker Antonio Orden to K-1.