Former Ultimate Fighting Championship featherweight Artem Lobov is set to make his second appearance in the squared circle this Saturday when he toes the line against world champion boxer and Showtime analyst Paulie Malignaggi at BKFC 6 in Florida.
Malignaggi, who is 36-8 as a professional boxer, will be making his Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship debut against his nemesis. The beef between "The Russian Hammer" and the "Magic Man" dates back to 2016 when Malignaggni sparred with Lobov's friend Conor McGregor as part of the Irishman's preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather.
After some cantankerous media day encounters in the lead-up to BKFC 6, the animosity between Lobov and Malignaggi escalated into a rapid boil. The Russian and the Brooklyn-native faced off once again today in the final press conference before the big showdown at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa, Florida.
Lobov spoke to the media after squaring off with Malignaggi and revealed that some of his sparring partners have been Olympic caliber boxers. "I didn't take this lightly. I still, even though I knew that the fat man off the couch is coming in to face me, I prepared for the best version of Paulie. I've been sparring guys that are Olympic medalists. Paulie never won an Olympic medal. You know, 'cause everybody [has] been telling me about the speed and this and that, so I wanted to get guys that are faster than him. I did just that, and I was holding my own. I was doing just fine. So, like I said, I am ready to beat him in a boxing match."
Lobov continued by offering some insight into his game plan for besting his 38-year-old foe. "But this is not boxing. All I have to do is grab him once and this is game over. If people [are] talking about, 'Oh, he will be able to avoid the clinch,' have a look at any boxing fight. You will see there is [a] s---load of [clinching]. Any boxing fight has loads of clinch, but then the referee comes in and separates them. There will be no referee saving his a-- here" declared Lobov.
BKFC 6 goes down on June 22 at 9 p.m. E.T. from Tampa, Florida, and will air live on Fite.TV.
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