Malignaggi on bare-knuckle boxing: ‘I kind of liked the adrenaline rush and it was different, but I am done’

UFC veteran Artem Lobov defeated former boxing world champion Paulie Malignaggi via unanimous decision in the main event of the most talked about bare knuckle fight to date in Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship “BKFC 6: The Line is Drawn.” The 154-pound fight was a perfect storm of drama as Malignaggi’s longstanding “beef” with UFC mega-star Connor McGregor led him to facing McGregor’s stable mate and friend Lobov in Lobov’s second straight BKFC fight.

Brooklyn’s Malignaggi and Lobov, came to blows in the ring after several months of back-and-forth animosity between them on social media and in person. Both fighters showed their own strengths throughout the fight by trying to strategically outperform the other in what was a close battle in front of a sold out crowd of 4,500 enthusiastic fans from Florida Expo Hall in Tampa live on pay-per-view.

Malignaggi and Lobov showed their resistance to engage immediately, with Malignaggi confusing Lobov with his defense and foot speed. As the fight evolved, Lobov continued to come forward and pressure Malignaggi and although Maliganggi landed jabs and check hooks, it only seemed a matter of time before Lobov’s pressure got the best of him. Lobov continued to throw punches at closer range, which allowed the Russian Irishman begin to dominate. By the third round Malignaggi was cut and on his heels as the momentum had swung to Lobov.

As the action increased in rounds four and five, Lobov began the aggressor and scored the more effective punches. In the end, the judges scored the contest for Lobov 48-47 unanimously.

“This was an emotional fight for me,” said Lobov. “I started more on back foot than usual, but still pressed and stalked him. Even though many people talk a lot about fighting and Paulie had a lot to say, he showed up to fight so I respect him for that. The feud is over and we move on. I am happy I was victorious tonight and I can focus back on my family and my son. It’s all about him now.”

“I am not sure what the judges were looking at, but I felt like he walked into a lot of my jabs and check left hooks,” said Malignaggi, who may have broken his hand during the fight. “Maybe it’s beneath me, but I thought I would give it a shot, give him a shot. Maybe I was wrong. I am 38 years old so I am not interested in campaigning or competing in Bare Knuckle against this loss. I kind of liked the adrenaline rush and it was different, but I am done.”

Photo Credit: Phil Lambert

 

Malignaggi: ‘This fight ends with Lobov’s face falling off’

Former two-division boxing world champion Paulie “The Magic Man” Malignaggi shared insights from his training camp as he prepares for his anticipated grudge match against UFC veteran Artem “The Russian Hammer” Lobov that headlines Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship (BKFC) action on Saturday, June 22 live on pay-per-view from Florida State Fairgrounds Expo Hall in Tampa, Fla.

The televised portion of the can’t-miss night of fights will begin at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT and will also see former UFC veteran Chris Leben in his second BKFC attraction, as he takes on longtime MMA veteran Dakota Cochrane. Plus, the finals of the BKFC Lightweight Tournament will pit Reggie Barnett against Johnny Bedford in a showdown for the BKFC Lightweight Championship.

Here is what Malignaggi had to say from training camp at the 5th Street Gym in Miami:

1) How has training camp has been going in California, New York and Miami?

“My training camp has been really good. We started in New York, went to California for a few weeks, then back to New York, and now Miami. It’s been a traveling training camp and that’s what’s made it fun. It can become tedious being in the same spot and doing the same things over and over again. We’ve tried different things, while also sticking with our basics. I’m up to par both mentally and physically.”

2) Did you do anything special to prepare for Lobov and your bare knuckle debut that you may not have done during training for your boxing matches?

“To prepare for Artem I hit the punching bag a lot more, because Artem is basically a punching bag with legs. I wanted to get used to that and get my fists accustomed to it. We’ve also done some other things to be prepared specifically for my bare knuckle debut.”

3) What will this last week entail heading into fight night next Saturday?

“We’re just making our final preparations now and doing the final overview of our game plan. We’re already sharp and we’re maintaining it. We’ll make a full-on decision soon about the approach we’ll take into the fight.”

4) How do we expect your fight against Lobov to play out stylistically?

“This is going to be a painful night for Artem. This is a world-class fighter against a punching bag with feet. He’s going to be very stubborn, but he’s going to get hit nonetheless. I think you’re going to see that I’m a different class of fighter. I’ve been a champion and I’ve been in the ring with many champions. He doesn’t have that experience. You’ll see what difference that makes on fight night.”

5) What would a victory at BKFC 6 mean for your professional fighting career?

“This would be another feather in my hat to get this win. I’m taking part in a new kind of combat and it would show that I can be successful and victorious in anything I put my mind to.”

6) What’s your prediction for how this fight ends?

“This fight ends with Lobov’s face falling off. I’m going to cut him up. I hope he lasts, because I want to beat him down round after round.”

Photo/courtesy: BKFC

Malignaggi: ‘As I train, I realize that my hands are like razor blades’

Former boxing world champion Paulie “The Magic Man” Malignaggi and UFC veteran Artem “The Russian Hammer” Lobov went face-to-face Monday at a heated press conference in New York to officially announce their Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship showdown the headlines action on Saturday, June 22 live on pay-per-view from Florida State Fairgrounds Entertainment Hall in Tampa, Fla.

Also squaring off Monday before they battle on BKFC 6 were UFC veteranChris Leben and longtime Bellator standout Brennan Ward. Televised coverage on June 22 will begin at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. and also featureReggie Barnett against Johnny Bedford in a showdown for the BKFC Lightweight Championship.

Here is what Malignaggi had to say:

“I’ve always been known as one of the toughest guys in boxing. Lobov is known as a punching bag with a loud mouth.

“If I had it my way, I’d knock him out in the last round. I want to pummel him from start to finish. He’s going to come out trying hard, and then he’s going to get gun shy. He’s going to hesitate to even take a step.

“I’m always looking for my next challenge. I wasn’t planning on this, but it was sold to me, and it appealed to me. Artem is a punching bag and I usually hit that for free.

“I never lie, because I don’t have to fear anyone. You only lie because you’re afraid. Why are Lobov and his team lying? You know why. I don’t care what they think. I’m going to put this guy out next month.

“As I train, I realize that my hands are like razor blades. Get a good look at Lobov’s face, because next month I’m going to make it look like a road map with lines all over it.”

Photo: BKFC