After bad blood, lots of pre-fight trash talk and a months-long feud, in the end it was Artem Lobov who had the final say in his Bare Knuckle FC 6 main event opposite Paulie Malignaggi in Tampa, Florida on Saturday night.
Lobov was awarded the judges’ decision (48-47 x 3) after five two-minute rounds on bareknuckle boxing. Unlike the pre-fight speculation to the contrary, Lobov didn’t rush forward after the opening bell but instead sat back in boxing range with the former two-weight world champion in what was essentially a traditional boxing match.
Malignaggi offered numerous feints for which Lobov refused to bite and while he was the quicker fighter of the two, his fleet-footedness didn’t translate to effective strikes. Lobov most likely won the first round in what was the first signal that this wasn’t to be a repeat of the blood n’ guts brawl against Jason Knight back in April.
— Oscar Willis (@oscarswillis) June 23, 2019
Malignaggi found his feet in the next two rounds. He said after the fight that he think he broke his hand in the second, something which likely hampered him, but it was Lobov who was much the more comfortable fighter when inside as he landed punishing blows to Malignaggi’s body — an effective strategy, given the American entered the fight at the heaviest weight of his career.
The next two rounds were close but Lobov was clearly the aggressor. While both fighters were bloodied, it was Malignaggi who was left sporting a particularly deep gash on his left eyebrow as the fight wore on.
In the end, ten minutes of fighting appeared to settle some old scores as both men embraced and engaged in what appeared to be a deep conversation. Hands were shook but, thankfully for Lobov, his was the one that was raised.
Remember when Artem Lobov has a victory over an IBF and WBA champion in a fight where all you can do is punch each other?
— Tommy Toe Hold (@TommyToeHold) June 23, 2019
This the best day of my life pic.twitter.com/TfQlR7sQkq
— Coach Kavanagh (@John_Kavanagh) June 23, 2019