Sportskeeda analyst Kieran Herring (@KHerringMMA) recently caught up with Artem Lobov (@RusHammerMMA) to talk about his sensational BKFC win over Paulie Malignaggi in June, free agency in combat sports and a potential boxing match with Amir Khan.
Congratulations on the victory over Paulie Malignaggi last month. How have you celebrated in the weeks since the win and how is your recovery going?
With the recovery, there wasn’t much to recover from. You’ve seen the fight, we’ve all seen the fight, and there wasn’t much of a fight. I won pretty comfortably, in bare-knuckle you have to come forward and I did just that. So it was an easy decision win for me.
As for the celebrations, I just went on holiday with my family and I go away again tomorrow to Italy. After that I’ll be back training, staying in shape and staying ready as always.
The win over Paulie undeniably put you at the very top of the game when it comes to bare-knuckle fighting, do you feel like you have any unfinished business in that discipline? If so, do you have an opponent in mind for your next fight in BKFC?
I have unfinished business everywhere – I just want to fight. Of course money talks, so wherever the best offer is that’s where you will see me next. It could be in bare-knuckle, it could be boxing, I don’t mind. I love fighting – the tougher the challenge the better it is for me and of course, the bigger the pot the better it is as well. Those are the two things that matter to me and will decide where I’m going to go next.
Brave CF President Mohammed Shadid said last week that you were invited to the exclusive Brave 24 in London with a view to starting discussions over a potential boxing match with Amir Khan. Can you give us any details on where you are with those discussions?
Yes of course, they are excited. They like doing big things and that would be exactly what this is. When you put an MMA fighter against a boxer it means the whole world will be watching because you get both fan bases involved and I think it would be a great fight.
They mentioned Amir Khan but to be honest it could be anyone [in boxing]. I know Brave are excited to work with me and so am I, so we will see what the future holds. They’re going to continue talks on their side and as soon as we have some news we will let the world know.
As things stand, do you expect Amir Khan to step and take this fight?
Yes. To be honest, money talks - If the offer is right then he will take the fight. I don’t see why he wouldn’t, he is at the stage of his career where he has made some money and achieved a lot in boxing already – so why not have some fun fights as well?
So you currently expect your next fight to be a traditional boxing match?
As I said all doors are open, I am in a very unique position. I’m a fighter that the world knows and I don’t happen to be exclusively signed to anyone – I’m allowed to fight in all disciplines and that puts me in a very good position.
You have been a great example of the benefits of free agency in combat sports. Do you expect other fighters may begin to follow suit and test free agency in the future?
I don’t know, I think you need to be at a certain level to be able to do that. So far it has been working well for me and I hope it continues that way.
Your career has recently hit a crossroads in terms of the disciplines you fight in. Do you have a vision of where you would like your career to go in the long term?
I love all of them. I love MMA, I love boxing and I love bare-knuckle. Ideally I’d love to compete in all three, they all present different challenges. But as I say, money talks, so wherever the best offer is – that’s where you’ll see me.
When can we expect to see your next fight?
I’m planning to return at the end October or the beginning of November. Nothing is set in stone just yet but that is when I want to return.Published 31 Jul 2019, 14:43 IST