Artem Lobov Wants To Hurt Paulie Malignaggi Extra Hard
What do you get if you combine a former UFC fighter, a former boxing world champion, a bare knuckle fighting contest and a huge amount of bad blood? You get one of the most eagerly anticipated fights of the year.
This Saturday night in Tampa, Florida, Artem Lobov will welcome Paulie Malignaggi to the world of bare knuckle fighting. Lobov made his bare knuckle fighting debut nine weeks ago at BKFC 5. The 32 year old beat Jason Knight by unanimous decision, in an absolute war.
Fast forward nine weeks and Malignaggi is just days away from making his bare knuckle fighting debut, in the main event at BKFC 6. And to say there’s bad blood between the two, would be the understatement of the year.
The bad blood between the two originates from when Malignaggi and Lobov’s close friend and training partner Conor McGregor, sparred two years ago, in the lead up to McGregor vs Floyd Mayweather. And that bad blood has more than spilled over into the lead up to this fight. Last month Malignaggi spat at Lobov and threatened to urinate in his mouth.
Earlier this week, Malignaggi said that Lobov had has no respectable boxing ability and would beat him to a pulp. Now Lobov is saying that Malignaggi is no challenge for him. As ‘The Russian Hammer’ told The Mac Life.
“It ticks all the boxes for me except one. I always seek the highest challenge, the biggest challenge. I always look to truly challenge myself. When I was in the UFC I challenged some of the biggest guys in the world. When I was fighting in Europe I did the same. Anywhere I was, I always seek the hardest challenge. I win some, I lose some but I always take the hardest challenge.
“This is not the case this time. This is personal. This is about settling a score. This is about punishing someone that’s done a lot of wrong. Somebody that’s been running his mouth a bit too much, somebody that’s been behaving like an animal, not like a human. Somebody that’s been so disrespectful on so many levels. I have to make this right, that’s what this is about.
“Fighting Paulie Malignaggi in bareknuckle is not a challenge for me. He hasn’t got a clue what he’s in for here. He’s just preparing for a boxing, twelve-round fight. It’s not that.”
Lobov feels that living in Ireland, gives him the perfect opportunity to train to his potential.
“Ireland is a great place for boxing. If you want to become a boxer, Ireland is absolutely incredible. If you look at Russia, Russia is a great place for boxers but Russia is so big. You could be living in Moscow and there is another really good guy on the other end seven times zones away from you. You are never going to spar that guy, it is very hard. Ireland is very compact so I get an opportunity to train with everybody here.
“I spar guys like (Olympic silver medalist, 12-0 pro) John Joe Nevin, everybody. Go on to my Instagram, these guys are the royalty of boxing.”
“My prep is just like I am doing for every competition, just like I always do because I have a blueprint. Why change it? I know exactly how to get ready for a bareknuckle fight, so I’m keeping that. But when I’m in there with him, that’s when it will change. The intent is different. Normally I’m just there to provide great entertainment for the crowd. I always fight until my last breath of air. I always give everything I have in there but this time it’s a little bit different.
“I want to hurt this guy extra hard. I want to punish this guy extra long. I want to play with this guy as much as I want. I want to get him for everything that he has said. I want to get him for everything that he has done, not just for me but for everyone around the world.”
BKFC 6 goes down this Saturday night at the Florida State Fairgrounds, in Tampa, Florida.
Who do you think will walk away with the ‘W’?