The highly anticipated bare-knuckle grudge match between Artem Lobov and Paulie Malignaggi has a locale.
Lobov and Malignaggi will fight at a Bare Knuckle FC event June 22 in New Hampshire, promotion president David Feldman confirmed Thursday with MMA Fighting. Feldman said an exact venue or city has not yet been set, but Manchester is in the running. Malignaggi first mentioned the location in an interview Thursday with Helen Yee from LV Sports Network. The last three Bare Knuckle FC events have been in Mississippi after the inaugural show in Wyoming last year.
Lobov set up the rivalry matchup with Malignaggi by beating Jason Knight by unanimous decision at Bare Knuckle FC 5 earlier this month in Biloxi, Miss. That matchup had the provision that if Lobov won, he’d fight Malignaggi in June.
Malignaggi, the former two-division boxing world champion, has been going at it with Lobov on social media and in interviews for months. The feud stems from Malignaggi’s short stint as Conor McGregor’s sparring partner ahead of McGregor’s boxing match with Floyd Mayweather. Malignaggi and McGregor, Lobov’s longtime friend and teammate, had a messy split that continues to boil over publicly.
Days before Lobov’s fight with Knight, Lobov and Malignaggi got into a scuffle at a Bare Knuckle FC media day in New York. Malignaggi slapped Lobov in the face during a staredown. Lobov said at the time there would be no retaliation.
“I need Paulie,” Lobov told MMA Fighting. “I need him wrapped up in bubble wrap. I need him there on June 22, that’s when the provisional date has been set. That’s when I need him. That’s when we get to go at it. Then, we’ll see what happens.”
On The MMA Hour with Luke Thomas earlier this month, Malignaggi was unequivocal about his plans for Lobov in the matchup.
“I’m gonna use his face like a dartboard,” Malignaggi said. “It’s not about winning and losing here, because it’s not even a question that I’m gonna win the fight. It’s about how bad I can hurt this guy. For me, if I don’t hurt him to a degree that there’s something permanent there, it’s not a win for me.”