Firas Zahabi breaks down the grudge match between the former two-weight world champion boxer Paulie Malignaggi and MMA star Artem Lobov.
Artem’s bare-knuckle career kicked off with an absolutely bonkers showdown against UFC veteran Jason Knight at BKFC 5 about seven weeks ago – a fight he was able to edge out slightly on the scorecards.
Malignaggi, on the other hand, will debut in the sport in this bout – his first inside the realms of combat sport since his 2017 TKO loss to Sam Eggington.
In a recent in-depth breakdown of the fight posted to the official YouTube of Tristar Gym, head-coach Firas Zahabi gave his take on the showdown between the pair of heated rivals ahead of their meeting at BKFC 6 on June 22.
“I think that everybody is grossly underestimating Artem Lobov.
“One, Paulie Malignaggi is not a KO puncher. He’s not a hard puncher. Two, Artem has a head like a brick. He’s got a great chin. He’s very robust. He’s gonna keep moving forward.”
“Three, He’s got brittle hands. Paulie’s very likely gonna break his hands. Artem has been fighting with MMA gloves, 4 oz gloves, his entire career.
“His hands are far more resistant, far more robust and far more trustworthy in a bareknuckle fight, in my opinion, than Paulie’s hands. If Paulie’s a better boxer, it won’t matter if his hands are broken.” (via Bloody Elbow)
As far as the strategical aspects of the fight itself are concerned, the famed Tristar coach stressed his belief that the MMA background and general hard-nosed grit and pressure that Lobov possesses will play a much larger role in this fight than many people believe.
“Next. I think the pace of the fight is gonna be in Artem Lobov’s favour. The pace of the fight is going to be very anaerobic. Artem’s gonna jump on him. He’s gonna make it into a sprint and Paulie might be surprised about that.
“Paulie does not have 12 rounds to hide behind a jab. He does not have 12 rounds to sneak in a body shot, wait for Artem to slow down, and then kind of pick him apart.
“Lastly, I think there’s gonna be some clinching in this fight. Artem is just going to pick him up and slam him, and throw him on the ground. Artem has nothing to lose. If Artem trips him, tosses him on his head … he’s just going to get a warning from a ref.
“Those are my arguments for why Artem Lobov is gonna put up a great fight. I think this fight is very very tough to call.”
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena