by James Slater – This one, as anyone who saw the first fight between bare-knucklers Artem Lobov and Jason Knight, will not be pretty. Lobov, last seen hammering out a decision win over Paulie Malignaggi in his second bare-knuckle bout, has healed up after that fight, which took place in June, and he is ready to go to war again with Knight, who he defeated via five-round decision in April. Lobov must be a fast healer.
The carnage on display in Biloxi seven months ago was genuinely horrific, with both men busted up gruesomely. Cuts above and below the eyes, cracked bones, damaged hands and ugly swellings were the order of the day; and there was plenty of blood. The crowd loved the fight, as did those paying fans who wanted to be there when Lobov and Malignaggi went at it (in a less X-rated affair than Lobov Vs. Knight but still bloody enough, and it took place less than five months ago).
Now these two tougher than tough (some would say crazier than crazy) warriors will take part in slice and dice, the sequel. The action in fight-one was frenetic, with both men prepared to throw everything at one another, caring not that their hands had zero protection (save for a thin bandage). We can expect more of the same this tonight at the same venue: the Mississippi Coast Coliseum. For as long as the skin and bone of both men can take the raw punishment, the fight will rage. Because as tough as both of these two are, a KO seems unlikely. A TKO, the fight stopped due to certain parts of the face of the loser hanging off aside, the return will also go the limit.
Critics of bareknuckle boxing point to the damage five two-minute rounds can produce, and point they do at the barbarity of this, possibly the hardest of combat sports. But the fans of bare-knuckle boxing love what they see and they want to see more blood, more guts and yet more blood.
They will get it tonight.
Who wins? Lobov was knocked down in fight-one, he got up and returned the favour and then the Russian warrior and the hard-man from the deep south of the USA took turns putting permanent scar tissue on each other. It was a close fight, with both men feeling they had done enough to win. The feeling here is, Lobov will win another close one on the cards. As long as his face holds up, as long as Knight’s face holds up.
And to think, there is already talk of a trilogy between these two!