Things are starting to heat up in the Sunshine State just in time for summer as Paulie Malignaggi and Artem Lobov will have an opportunity to settle their differences on June 22 with nothing protecting their hands when they go to toe to toe in the first-ever sanctioned bare-knuckle fight to take place in the state of Florida. The event will air live on pay-per-view from the Florida State Fairgrounds Entertainment Hall in Tampa. Malignaggi, the former boxing world champion and former UFC veteran Lobov truly don’t like each other. The war of words began immediately after this fight was announced and spilled over into their press conference in New York City last week.
THE SHOW MUST GO ON
Contrary to what had been circulating in some media outlets after the press conference to announce the fight, the fight will, in fact, be bare-knuckle and is enthusiastically endorsed and approved by the Florida State Athletic Commission.
Acting Communications Director Patrick Fargason said, “The Florida State Boxing Commission is thrilled to issue a license to the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship for their upcoming pay-per-view event in Tampa on June 22. The Commission is always looking for ways to bring new business to the state which will have a positive impact on Florida’s economy. Accordingly, the Commission is always looking to expand its reach to welcome more promoters to the state of Florida.”
Malignaggi and Lobov will wear the following glove that protects the wrist and upper part of the hand, but clearly has the knuckles exposed, allowing it to be an authentic bare-knuckle contest. The glove will mitigate the risk involved with breaking the hand itself but will not obstruct the bare knuckles.
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, and 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.”
BKFC6 | June 22nd | LIVE from Tampa, FL
Former boxing world champion Paulie Malignaggi will take on former UFC star Artem Lobov to settle the score in a true test of Boxing vs. MMA only on Pay Per View!
Tickets available now: https://t.co/1SmsWhc9du
— Bare Knuckle FC (@bareknucklefc) May 25, 2019
“If I had it my way, I’d knock him out in the last round. I want to pummel him from start to finish.” –@PaulMalignaggi
BKFC6 | JUNE 22 | Tampa, FL pic.twitter.com/xuQxwoOmWs
— Bare Knuckle FC (@bareknucklefc) May 24, 2019
— Bare Knuckle FC (@bareknucklefc) May 20, 2019
The televised portion of the 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. Former two-division, three-time boxing champion Randall Bailey will be a special attraction on the undercard.
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.
Malignaggi is expected to finish training camp in South Florida beginning next week with the event just three weeks away. Lobov is in Ireland putting the finishing touches on his training in preparation of the schedule five, two-minutes per round fight.