Artem Lobov and Paulie Malignaggi entered the BKFC 6 ring as two of the most heated rivals in combat sports. As is so often the case, however, the pair seem to have much more favorable views of each other after strafing one another for five rounds.
Speaking at the BKFC 6 post-fight press conference, Lobov stated that he respects the former boxer Malignaggi for showing up to his infamous sparring session with Conor McGregor, and to this bare knuckle scrap.
“I said this before, for me I will always respect the fighter that shows up,” Artem Lobov stated, seemingly ending his beef with Malignaggi (via MMA Fighting). “Paulie showed up to the spar. If you were to offer the same thing to many other boxers, they probably wouldn’t show up to the spar but he did and he did a full 12 rounds twice and he showed up again today.
“I take my hat off to him. He’s always been a fighter and he still is.”
While Paulie Malignaggi feels that he should have earned the judges’ decision in Tampa, he also admitted that he now feels a degree of respect for his former nemesis. It’s amazing how a few rounds of face-punching can defuse even the most incendiary rivalries.
“I think when fighters fight each other there’s sort of that soul searching of themselves and you kind of have to dig deep,” Paulie Malignaggi said of Artem Lobov at the post-fight press conference. “Maybe this wasn’t (Jason) Knight vs. Lobov, this wasn’t the all-out war that Knight vs. Lobov was, but I had to dig deep and I got left one-handed so I had to stay calm in the line of fire and Artem had to dig deep because he had to chase me trying to land the shots that he couldn’t land and he had to still go for it and try to win the fight. You still gain that respect for one another, nonetheless. And I think we have that.
“I still don’t agree with everything that he did, but I’m sure people aren’t going to agree with the way I responded to everything too. So respect to Artem. He’s got a newborn baby, so he’s probably going to benefit from this and do well for himself.”
Are you surprised to see Artem Lobov and Paulie Malignaggi being so cordial after BKFC 6?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 6/23/2019.