Former boxing champion Paulie "The Magic Man" Malignaggi (pictured) and UFC veteran Artem "The Russian Hammer" Lobov went face-to-face Monday at a heated press conference in New York to promote their bare knuckles fight on Saturday, June 22nd, a pay-per-view event from Florida State Fairgrounds Entertainment Hall in Tampa, Fla. [NOTE: What the press release does not tell you is that Malignaggi spit in Lobov's face]. Also squaring off Monday before they battle on BKFC 6 were UFC veteran Chris Leben and longtime Bellator standout Brennan Ward. The June 22nd show will also feature Reggie Barnett against Johnny Bedford in a showdown for the BKFC Lightweight Championship. Here is what the press conference participants had to say Monday:
"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 22nd. 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."