Former boxing world champion Paulie “The Magic Man” Malignaggi and UFC veteran Artem “The Russian Hammer” Lobov continued their heated rivalry Thursday at the final press conference before their highly anticipated grudge match that headlines Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship (BKFC) action this Saturday night 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 features Chris Leben taking on Dakota Cochrane, plus the finals of the BKFC Lightweight Tournament pitting Reggie Barnett against Johnny Bedford in a showdown for the BKFC Lightweight Championship. These fighters were in attendance for today’s event and faced off against their opponent at the Harley Davidson of Brandon.
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. Additionally, fight fans in the U.K. can watch “BKFC 6: The Line is Drawn” exclusively on Premier Sports for only £9.99 on Sky, Virgin TV and the Premier Player.
Tickets for “BKFC 6: The Line is Drawn” are available now 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 Thursday:
“This is the biggest fight of his career and he only got here because he started with me. I’m going to finish it on Saturday.
“I’m going to pummel this guy like he stole something. I’m going to teach him some manners. I’ve only been talking because of what his crew started.
“I don’t think there’s a lot to say that hasn’t already been said. This guy is so nervous he’s not going to know what to do when the bell rings.
“This is a growing sport and it was a pleasant surprise to find out the fight would be here in Florida. I have a second home here and spend a lot of time in the state. It feels good to be competing here.
“I’m not impressed with Artem’s last fight in BKFC. I thought he blew the fight. I thought everyone would realize how bad he is. I’m definitely not second-guessing myself after seeing that performance.”
“The talk is over for me. I’ve said everything I have to say. I just want to get in there with this man on Saturday night and show the world what happens when you run your mouth the way Paulie has.
“He’s coming off the couch and he’s only here for the money. It’s the truth. Unfortunately for him, he bit off more than he can chew. He’s going to make a nice paycheck, but I’m going to make two holes in his head and go home happy.
“I want to whoop this guy so bad. I actually liked my last opponent and you saw what happened to him.
“Number one, I just want to hurt this guy. I don’t know how much he’s going to be able to take at 40-years-old. He doesn’t have the fire burning in his chest.
“It’s great to be here for this event and I’m thankful for everyone who made it happen. I’m going to put on a spectacular performance Saturday night.”
“My opponent is aggressive and a quick starter. I’ve seen him start and finish fights fast, so I have to be ready for that.
“At the last minute we had to switch opponents, so hats off to the Dakota [Cochrane] for stepping in. I have seen him do this before as the replacement. I saw him do it to Johny Hendricks and I fought right after that fight. I know what this guy is capable of.
“Cochrane definitely poses some interesting threats. He’s not what I was training for. He’s nothing like my last opponent because he has a different style. He hits a lot harder and comes forward. I am going to have to rely a lot on what I think are my veteran abilities to make these adjustments and go out there and perform Saturday night.
“We both go hard and leave it all in the ring and I think this is going to be one to watch for sure.
“All you have to do is look at the tape and watch me fight. I don’t need to talk about my opponent, because everyone knows what I’m going to do Saturday night. You’re going to see more of the same in that ring.”
“Being a last-minute replacement is not a big deal for me. I’ve taken last-minute fights a lot in my career and done well, so this is nothing new.
“I’m going to come out and fight hard. Bare knuckle is super interesting to me. I think I was built for it, so I appreciate the opportunity.
“It’s going to be a hell of a fight. He’s going to throw hard and I’m going to throw hard. So, let’s see who comes out on top.
“Leben has size and power and I’ll be ready for it. I know what he’s capable of and we’ve used the time we had in camp to be at our very best for it.”
“I’m going to be the first lightweight bare knuckle champion in history. That’s it. It’s that simple. That’s my mindset.
“The only advantage Johnny has over me is his size, but I have everything else in my arsenal that’s going to make this my night.
“I want to thank David Feldman for this opportunity. I’ve been here since the tryout in Philadelphia. I wasn’t given my spot, I earned it. I’ve been through this tournament, I’ve shown up every time and never had one lackluster performance.
“I have never made any excuses for my performances and everyone knows what they can expect from me on Saturday night. I just hope Johnny Bedford is ready for it too.”
“Barnett can’t finish anybody. It doesn’t matter how much time he has, he doesn’t hit hard and I’m too tough.
“I’m not too worried about what Barnett brings to the table. I’m too big and too strong for him.
“We’re fighting for a pretty big title, the first of its kind. That belt is coming back with me to Texas, I can promise you that.
“I’m really excited about this. This has been a fight that has been in fruition for a year now. Reggie and I both fought on the first BKFC card. We went together collectively to make this tournament happen and here we are a year later.
“We are going to find out who the baddest man at 135-pounds is. I put my work in, he put his work in. The talking is done. I’m ready to put on a show Saturday night and leave it all out there for sure. The fans are going to win on Saturday night.”
DAVID FELDMAN, BKFC Founder & President
“This is boxing vs. MMA, fighting in the middle ground. Who will win? Is it the pure boxer in Malignaggi, or the rough, tough guy in Lobov? We’re going to find out on Saturday night. Make sure you tune in to this epic event.
“We’ve been working really hard and our team has been working really hard this past year and now one year later, we’re the most talked about sporting event around. The combat sporting event of the summer of 2019 is Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship.
“This card is truly stacked from top to bottom. A lot of promoters say they have a great card, but every fight on this card can be the fight of the night.
“To be able to be here in the state of Florida, promoting an event of this magnitude really says something about the vision we have and the team we have surrounding us. We’re happy about that.
“With this fight, we have two guys that genuinely have dislike for each other and they each think they have a good reason to have that dislike. The whole world is watching right now to see how it plays out.”
“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.”
BKFC Returns Saturday, June 22 Headlined by Malignaggi vs. Lobov Grudge Match Live on Pay-Per-View
A highly anticipated grudge match between former boxing world champion Paulie “The Magic Man” Malignaggi and UFC veteran Artem “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, 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.”
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.