Former -division international titleholder Paulie Malignaggi is making a hoop return of sorts more than two years after he retired from boxing after a 16-year profession.
Malignaggi, 38, has signed a two-yr agreement to fight inside the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship, with his first bout to take location in June, in all likelihood in Manchester, New Hampshire.
BKFC founder and president David Feldman announced the signing on Thursday, giving the fledgling promotion its first call boxer to go over to its shape of the fight, which is primarily fought below standard boxing guidelines, however, as the name says, without gloves and with entirely uncovered knuckles.
“I did not have a whole lot of choice to come back lower back and container, so something had to tickle my fancy. This did,” Malignaggi advised ESPN. “This is thinking outside the field. Before boxing, I changed into a whole lot of road fights. In avenue combat, you’re wearing your bare knuckles. This is a form of similar to road combat. However, I can use my boxing talent set.
“When I observe BKFC there may be a niche there and money to be made and a vacuum in skills, and I feel if I get in there there’s loads of harm I can do.”
Malignaggi stated he will continue calling boxing fits for Showtime, where he has worked as an analyst for many years, whilst he moves into competing in BKFC. Feldman founded BKFC in 2018, and it is regulated in three states — Wyoming, Mississippi and New Hampshire — with others in the works.
“BKFC could be very just like boxing, specially boxing policies, and I like my fashion in those fights,” Malignaggi stated. “I sense like I have a variety of blessings. Yeah, you need to fear about your arms, but this sport is gaining popularity and developing little by little. A guy like me is precisely what the health practitioner ordered. They wanted a boxer with a call, and I even have a call and I can combat. Once people do see it and get a look they may love it, and I can convey extra eyeballs to the game.
“I’ve been signed up to bring greater interest to the game, and I can try this and I could make a name for myself.”
Feldman said he believes Malignaggi is the sort of call fighter who will draw people to at least sample the game, which has been on pay-in keeping with-view to this point, though Feldman said he is close to a deal with a network for non-pay-in line with-view exposure.
“The organisation become lacking that legitimate world elegance boxer, and in talking to Paulie, he expressed some hobby, so I reached out to speak to him a little further about it,” Feldman stated. “Paulie is an established boxer and he has a large personality. He is the perfect healthy for us.”
Malignaggi (36-8, 7 KOs), of Brooklyn, New York, gained junior welterweight and welterweight world titles and confronted numerous big fighters, inclusive of Miguel Cotto, Ricky Hatton, Zab Judah, Amir Khan, Adrien Broner and Danny Garcia. But after an 8-round knockout loss to Sam Eggington in March 2017, he retired.
After he retired he briefly lower back to the hoop to assist UFC famous person Conor McGregor prepare for his boxing suit with Floyd Mayweather. They had a infamous sparring consultation wherein McGregor claimed to have knocked Malignaggi down. It brought about Malignaggi’s acrimonious exit from the camp and awful feelings due to the fact. Malignaggi makes no mystery that he would really like to combat McGregor, no longer just in a sparring consultation.
Artem Lobov, a pal and training accomplice of McGregor’s, is making his BKFC debut on April 6. If Lobov is successful he may want to loom as Malignaggi’s June opponent, giving the fight a integrated storyline. But Feldman stated Lobov won’t always be Malignaggi’s opponent.
“It makes experience to get that fight going, specially because of his situation with McGregor, but we ought to see what takes place with Lobov on April 6,” Feldman stated. “Paulie didn’t signal with us to combat Lobov. He signed with us to bring a few popularity and his persona to us. If it’s Lobov, fine, however we are also speakme approximately different men.”
Said Malignaggi of the potential Lobov fight: “I do not have time to waste on paupers. He’s not the actual deal. He’s a hanger on. I don’t want to waste my time with him.”
He said he would like to trap McGregor to BKFC.
“It’s now not MMA and it is now not boxing,” he stated. “Maybe with two-minute rounds he may not quit. He quits whilst he fights, so I’m looking to provide him an possibility to meet me kind of within the center. He quits all of the time, but with -minute rounds this is probably extra up his alley and the thrashing he’s taking will be short and sweet. … I want the real deal. Not that Conor is the real deal, but he does sell a whole lot of tickets.”
Malignaggi will combat within the BKFC’s junior middleweight department, which has a weight limit of 155 kilos (one over the restriction for the boxing division with the identical). The BKFC fights consist of -minute rounds as hostile to 3 in conventional boxing, and fights are 5 rounds, with identify fights seven.
That Malignaggi is going to compete in fights with out gloves may surprise many due to the fact he had such a lot of hand injuries in the course of his profession, but he believes he may be best.
“I felt like a whole lot of the ones issues were solved,” he stated. “I gotta be sincere — I do not see everyone on my stage on this game.”