Returning from retirement, two-time boxing champion Paulie Malignaggi has signed with Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship, where he will make his bare knuckle debut in June.
Via their official press release on Thursday, BKFC announced that Malignaggi (36-8, 7 KOs) has signed an exclusive deal with the promotion. In June, he will compete with the organization for the first time, at a location to be announced.
BKFC Founder and President David Feldman was elated about the signing, stating, "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. Paulie is the perfect fit for us."
Malignaggi was equally excited about this move, saying, "BKFC is the new wave in combat sports. They're doing great things and I'm very excited to be a part of this organization." He continued, "I've accomplished some big things in 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 of fighting for BKFC."
The 38-year-old former professional boxer Malignaggi competed at the super lightweight and welterweight divisions, twice capturing titles. He first won the IBF light welterweight belt by beating Lovemore Ndou by unanimous decision in 2007, defending it twice before dropping it to Ricky Hatton. He later won the WBA World welterweight title in 2012 by knocking out Vyacheslav Senchenko in the ninth round, defending that strap once and then losing it by split decision to Adrien Broner.
After his 2017 retirement, Malignaggi served as a short-term sparring partner for Conor McGregor prior to the Irishman's boxing match with Floyd Mayweather. After they concluded their arrangement, the two feuded frequently over social media. According to Helen Yee of NBC Sports Radio, the promotion is considering a matchup between Malignaggi and McGregor teammate Artem Lobov if Lobov makes his successful debut against Jason Knight at BKFC 5 this April.