Former two-division boxing champion Paulie Malignaggi has ended his two-year-long retirement to join the new Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship, expecting to make his debut for the organization in June.
The organization, which is placing Conor McGregor’s longtime training partner and former UFC fighter Artem Lobov atop its April 6 pay-per-view card in Biloxi, Miss., “is the new wave in combat sports,” Malignaggi, 38, said in a news release.
“I’ve accomplished some big things in my boxing career, and I look forward to what this next phase brings. After a long boxing career, it’s easy to miss the limelight and the rush that combat brings. I look forward to getting back in action and the new challenge.”
Malignaggi, of Brooklyn, N.Y., a previous junior-welterweight and welterweight world champion who last fought March 4, 2017, serves as a Showtime boxing analyst.
He fought the likes of four-division champion Miguel Cotto, former 140-pound champions Adrien Broner, Amir Khan and Ricky Hatton, former two-division champion Danny Garcia, and he defeated Zab Judah in 2013.
Malignaggi also has a connection to McGregor, be it far more divisive. The pair sparred during McGregor’s preparation for his novelty 2017 boxing match against Floyd Mayweather Jr., and argued after a video showed McGregor knocking down Malignaggi.
That feud will likely fuel the tension toward a showdown between Malignaggi and Lobov.
“At this time in our company’s growth, we needed to add a legitimate and well-established world-champion boxer to our roster, and I believe with Paulie’s ability and personality, we’ve done just that,” Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship founder and President David Feldman said. “Paulie is the perfect fit for us.”