Malignaggi v Lobov: Accusations, scuffles and spitting ahead of June 22

Ringside 21/05/2019


Paulie Malignaggi enters the world of bare-knuckle boxing over the summer after deciding on a return to fighting. Opponent Artem Lobov has accused the former champion of simpley seeking out money.

A highly anticipated grudge match between former boxing world champion “The Magic Man” Malignaggi and UFC veteran “The Russian Hammer” Lobov will headline Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship (BKFC) action on Saturday, June 22 live on pay-per-view from Florida State Fairgrounds Entertainment 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 Bellator standout Brennan Ward. Plus, the finals of the BKFC Lightweight Tournament will pit Reggie Barnett against Johnny Bedford in a showdown for the BKFC Lightweight Championship.

“Coming off of our epic battle on April 6 between Artem Lobov and Jason Knight, the momentum is incredible coming into BKFC 6,” said BKFC Founder and President David Feldman.

“With the feud that Paulie and Artem have already, this promises to be super exciting. This is bare knuckle and everything changes when they fight bare knuckle.

“So, whatever plans you have can go out the window quickly. That’s what makes this so exciting and why I am so excited for this fight.

“I think we will have a lot of eyes on this event and we are very happy to be hosting this in Tampa, one of the best fight markets in the country. I truly can’t wait for June 22.”

The event will be broadcast across the United States and Canada, exclusively on pay-per-view through MultiVision Media, Inc., on all major television distribution outlets for $39.99. It will also be available worldwide via stream to all in-home and out-of-home connected devices at FITE-TV and www.bareknuckle.tv.

Tickets for “BKFC 6” will be available starting Thursday, May 16 exclusively at www.bareknuckle.tv. Florida will become the latest state to host a BKFC event after previous contests have been held in Wyoming and Mississippi, plus an event that took place in Cancun, Mexico.

Malignaggi vs. Lobov will see the much-discussed rivalry between Malignaggi and MMA star Conor McGregor come to a head when Malignaggi squares off against one of McGregor’s teammates and friends in Lobov. Prior to Lobov’s BKFC debut in which he defeated Jason Knight in April, Malignaggi and Lobov exchanged words and nearly came to blows at a media day in New York. With the June 22 fight date set and buzz continuing to grow, they will soon settle the conflict in the ring.

“I’m very excited to make my BKFC debut and for this fight to take place in Florida. Bringing BKFC to another state is only going to help this sport grow faster and attract more attention to bare knuckle fighting,” said Malignaggi.

“It’s no secret, Artem and I have some bad blood between us. I don’t like him and I’m looking forward to sinking my fists into his face. June 22 can’t come soon enough. Fans are going to really enjoy this one as the biggest BKFC card yet. It’ll set the stage for even bigger and better events as more fighters realize that they can make a good living and have a great career in this discipline of combat sports.”

“I’m really looking forward to this fight,” said Lobov. “Paulie has been doing a lot of talking. He hasn’t been able to keep his mouth shut, but on June 22 I’m going to silence him.

“He’s an old boxer who’s coming off of the couch. He’s only doing this because he didn’t manage his money better, so now he has to take a fight against me, ‘The Russian Hammer.’ I expect to maul Paulie in there. He doesn’t know what he’s in for. I’m going to introduce him to some things that he’s never seen before and this is going to be a real fight.”

Press conference:

Former boxing world champion Paulie “The Magic Man” Malignaggi and UFC veteran Artem “The Russian Hammer” Lobov went face-to-face 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.
During arguments, Malignaggi apparently spat at Lobov sparking a scuffle.
Also squaring off Monday before they battle on BKFC 6 were UFC veteran Chris 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 feature Reggie Barnett against Johnny Bedford in a showdown for the BKFC Lightweight Championship.
The event will be broadcast across the United States and Canada, exclusively on pay-per-view through MultiVision Media, Inc., on all major television distribution outlets for $39.99. It will also be available worldwide via stream to all in-home and out-of-home connected devices at FITE-TV andwww.bareknuckle.tv.
Tickets for “BKFC 6” are available tomorrow at 10 a.m. ET exclusively at www.bareknuckle.tv. Florida will become the latest state to host a BKFC event after previous contests have been held in Wyoming and Mississippi, plus an event that took place in Cancun, Mexico.
Here is what the press conference participants 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.”
“I feel I have the upper hand in this fight. With age, it’s easier to get knocked out. He’s never hurt anybody in the ring, so it’s going to be a bad matchup for him.
“I see me stopping him. He doesn’t want it anymore. In order to be a fighter and really compete, you have to have the fire. His fire is long gone.
“My strategy is to come in there and shove my fist down his throat. It’s personal now with the way he’s been talking and acting. I’m going to put him away.
“Paulie likes to hide behind the jab and feint. He never lets his hands go. He just hides and tries to make it to the end of the fight.
“I’m going to let it all go in that ring on June 22. I’m going to be the ‘Russian Hammer’ from the start until the finish. I want to meet him in the ring and put him away like true warriors do.
“I never wrap my hands. Not when I spar, not when I hit the bag or anything. It’s made them tougher. They may not look pretty, but they do a lot of damage.
“It’s game over for Paulie. I heard he’s known as the ‘Magic Man’, but I just hope he doesn’t disappear before the fight.”
“Bare knuckle is definitely an exciting sport. It’s all of the good stuff. Two guys going toe-to-toe. It’s what I do best and it puts me in a dangerous position to hurt my opponents. When I first saw BKFC I felt like this sport was made for me.
“You can’t really cover up without the glove as a shield in bare knuckle, so it changes how you defend. But it also changes how you hit and where your range is at.
“I think this sport was made for me and it’s going to show in the fight. We’re both heavy hitters. Brennan will be my toughest BKFC opponent to date and I’m not taking him lightly. I’m riding a resurgence and it’s not going to stop.
“I’m pulling out all the stops and doing everything I can to prepare. Because on June 22, I’m knocking him out.”
“Training camp has been going great. I’m really excited because I’ve been waiting to do a bare knuckle fight for a while. I knew right away that this was for me.
“I think I have a great skillset for bare knuckle. I’m quick and quick on my feet. I’m strong and have heavy hands. I’m able to brawl or box.
“It’s basically a normal training camp for me, but with more boxing than ever. I’ve always boxed a lot anyway, so it’s something that’s come natural for me.
“I’m a different fighter than who Leben has fought in BKFC. This sport is so well-suited for me. I just want to brawl. I wasn’t as into the other disciplines in MMA, so when BKFC came around, I was ready to sign on.
“I think I’m going to be a force to be reckoned with at BKFC. I’m going to find a nice home and do work in the ring.”
DAVID FELDMAN, BKFC Founder & President
“This event is getting the kind of coverage it truly warrants. This is going to be a stacked pay-per-view event from top to bottom.
“The main event here is a highly anticipated battle. This is the biggest bare knuckle fight in history.
“We’re really happy with what we’ve been able to build. If you’ve seen any of our events, you know that it’s non-stop action from the start. We’re proud of what we’ve delivered to fight fans.
“People originally said that Artem had no chance against Paulie, but once they saw Artem in his first BKFC fight, fans can see that this might be tougher than anticipated. This is different than boxing and different than MMA. Getting hit with that bare knuckle is different than anything you’ve experienced before.
“I’m so excited to bring this fight to Florida and bring this fight to their fans. June 22 live on pay-per-view, this is one you surely do not want to miss.”
BRIAN RICCO, Executive Producer & Distributor
“We’re very excited to be on our sixth BKFC show in less than a year. Everything has been amazing. We’re expecting a big fight between two great fighters and we’re looking forward to bringing this event to fight fans around the world.”


A two-time, two-division boxing champion, Malignaggi joined BKFC earlier this year and plans to show off the skills that made him a world champion at 147 and 140-pounds. Representing his hometown of Brooklyn, New York, Malignaggi faced top competition and big stars such as Miguel Cotto, Zab Judah, Ricky Hatton, Shawn Porter, Danny Garcia, Amir Khan and more throughout a career that spanned sixteen years. He put on title-winning performances against Lovemore Ndou and Vyacheslav Senchenko while also defeating Judah, Juan Diaz and Pablo Cesar Cano amongst his notable wins. He has not fought since 2017, but remains a staple of the of the combat sports world through his renowned work as a color commentator and analyst.

A 32-year-old fighter from Russia, Lobov defeated Jason Knight by unanimous decision in an exciting brawl to make his BKFC debut successful in April. Lobov made his name on Season 22 of The Ultimate Fighter as part of Team McGregor, where he worked his way to the finals of the tournament before losing to Ryan Hall. Now fighting out of Ireland, where he continues to train with McGregor, he challenged Cub Swanson in a UFC main event in 2016, after picking up victories over Chris Avila and Alex White. While he lost his last three UFC bouts by decision, he owns 13 professional MMA wins.


Originally from Portland, Oregon and now training out of Chula Vista, California, Leben first emerged onto the scene in the inaugural season of The Ultimate Fighter before going on to become a WEC Middleweight Champion. A veteran of over 20 UFC events, his career includes a five-fight win streak that led to a challenge of Anderson Silva. Leben will be opposed by New London, Connecticut’s Ward, a 30-year-old veteran of 15 Bellator events, including a victory in Bellator’s Season Nine Middleweight Tournament.

A pro boxer with a 6-2 record, the 32-year-old Barnett has earned his spot in the Lightweight Tournament Final with a victory over Rusty Crowder in April. Fighting out of Chesapeake, Virginia, Barnett will face Forth Worth, Texas native Bedford to capture the first BKFC Lightweight Title. Bedford punched his ticket to the final with an April triumph over Abdiel Velazquez.