Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (27-0-1, 24 KOs) the undefeated unified WBO, WBA and IBF Light Heavyweight World Champion will take on his first IBF mandatory contender Nadjib “Irondjib” Mohammedi (37-3, 23 KOs) on Saturday, July 25 at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada and televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing.
Tickets priced at $300, $200, $100, $50 and $25, not including applicable tax and service fees, go on sale Wednesday, May 27 at 10 AM PT and will be available at all Las Vegas Ticketmaster locations (select Smith’s Food and Drug Centers and Ritmo Latino). To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000. Tickets also are available for purchase at mandalaybay.com or ticketmaster.com.
The Russian Wrecking Ball – Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev – is headlining in the storied fight town for the first time. The charismatic and unbeaten knockout artist boasts three current world title belts, 2014 Fighter of the Year honors from numerous publications and an astounding 89% knockout-to-win ratio. After capping off his impressive 2014 campaign with a unanimous decision win over the legendary Bernard Hopkins to unify the WBA and IBF belts with his WBO belt, he began 2015 with a thrilling eighth round knockout of former world champion Jean Pascal in Montreal. The Krusher is on his way to becoming one of boxing’s next big superstars.
Kovalev, the 32-year old from Chelyabinsk, Russia now residing in Fort Lauderdale, FL and Los Angeles, CA, said, “I am very excited to return to ring on July 25 and fight for Vegas fans. I love fighting on HBO and am happy for this next opportunity.”
Egis Klimas, Kovalev’s manager, added, “We are so happy to be back in the ring with HBO and Main Events’ help. This show will be televised live on HBO. Another good thing is Sergey will be able to fight in mega boxing city Las Vegas and start building as his home base fighting town. Thanks to people at Mandalay Bay for giving this opportunity to us.”
In the opposite corner, the IBF’s number one contender, Nadjib “Irondjib” Mohammedi will challenge Kovalev with his awkward and aggressive style. He earned this title shot with an exciting win over Anatoliy Dudchenko by TKO in an IBF elimination contest in June of last year. Mohammedi elected to wait as Kovalev unified the belts with Hopkins then took a voluntary defense against Pascal while he added some serious fire power to his corner – world renowned trainer Abel Sanchez. Sanchez, who trains middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin and previously worked with Kovalev.
Nadjib, 30, is from Gardanne, Bouches-du-Rhone, France and trains in Big Bear Lake, California. He will be making his Las Vegas and HBO debuts. When asked about his mandatory fight with Kovalev, he said, “My turn has come to show the world who I am. I let this Kovalev beat some guys but now I will show you he ain’t no Krusher. I am smarter. I am faster. I am the next generation of light heavyweight real champions!”
Main Events CEO Kathy Duva, who promotes both pugilists, said, “This will be a great fight. Sergey had a little trouble with Jean Pascal’s awkward, aggressive style in March. Nadjib will bring a similar style to the ring on July 25th. He also has Abel Sanchez in his corner, who might have some inside knowledge about Kovalev. The Krusher will try to do what he does best – Krush him. We know for sure that this will be an all-action night at Mandalay Bay, where Main Events is very happy to return.”
“Fans who appreciate underdogs, respect Sergey Kovalev,” said Peter Nelson, Vice President, programming, HBO Sports. “As an amateur and professional, the unified light heavyweight champ has spent his entire life as an underdog, beating the odds as he does his ring opponents: with total domination. Now a new underdog, Nadjib Mohammedi, seeks to shock the boxing world and dethrone the light heavyweight king. July 25 in Las Vegas will be a great event.”
“This light heavyweight fight at Mandalay Bay will be a sensational matchup,” said Richard Sturm, President of Entertainment and Sports for MGM Resorts International. “We look forward to working with Kathy and her entire Main Events team as well as Peter Nelson and his HBO staff on this championship event.”
Undercard information will be announced shortly.