Nadjib “IronDjib” Mohammedi (37-3, 23 KOs) the current IBF #1 contender, will face WBO, WBA and IBF Light Heavyweight World Champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (27-0-1, 24 KOs) at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada and live on HBO World Championship Boxing.
For the biggest fight of his career, Mohammedi will have world-renowned trainer Abel Sanchez in his corner. Abel is best known for his work with current WBA and WBC Middleweight Champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin.
Sanchez trains fighters out of his own compound in Big Bear Lake, California called The Summit. According to Abel, “The Summit is a training camp where the guys live almost year-round. There is anywhere from 10-12 fighters there at any time. They cook for themselves. They fend for themselves. They live like a family. The fact that there are so many champions training there and so many high-end guys training there motivates everybody to try to excel to that higher level. They live like a family so it’s not a competition; it is more of a motivational thing. There is no off time.”
This will be the second training camp for Mohammedi, 30, at The Summit with Sanchez. He is from Gardanne, Bouches-du-Rhône, France so training with Abel has meant temporarily relocating to the United States for his extended training camps. Abel believes Nadjib has fully committed to life at The Summit and his system, “He has given me everything. He’s not questioning anything. He is allowing me to do what we do here but he is very strong-minded. He understands that we have a difficult fight in front of us, so I am happy that he has given himself to me as far as not questioning anything. That allows me to try to mold him like I want to mold him but change the things that I need to change.”
When asked about this upcoming fight with Kovalev, Sanchez replied, “Sergey has evolved into a very destructive force. Sergey has evolved because John David Jackson is a heck of a coach. Sergey has evolved into that kind of fighter that you are going to have to be at your best to beat. Because of that we have a tough task in front of us, but that is what these guys work for. That is why Nadjib is rated #1 and fought all those fights before to get a chance at the world title. On the 25th we have that.”
With 40 professional career fights under his belt, Mohammedi is a veteran who saw some big fights in his home country, France. However, as Abel explained, veterans can sometimes come with bad habits. Abel elaborated, “His experience so far has been a benefit because, with those previous fights he had in France, he was a big name over there. Therefore, he’s not going to be so awed by the environment of a big fight. He has had some success with big crowds and bigger venues, so hopefully that will transcend over to this fight. We are going to have a lot fans in the stands and we are going to have a lot of people screaming for Sergey. As far as bad habits, you create bad habits just by being successful. I think that if you don’t have somebody pushing you and correcting those things, you tend to do things that are not conducive to being a better fighter. Those things we are addressing and those things we can’t completely change, but we are going to hopefully correct them in time and make him a better fighter.”
According to Nadjib, Abel has been an amazing mentor and father-figure to him over the last several months. He said, “Since I got to Big Bear Lake my life has changed. I already knew what spirit of a team was, but here I found a family. Abel is like a big brother, an uncle, he act almost like a dad with me. He can see every details and he always push me out of the limits. With him and Ben Lira I know that I am ready for this war!”
WBO, WBA and IBF Light Heavyweight World Champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (27-0-1, 24 KOs) will compete in his first mandatory title defense against Nadjib “Irondjib” Mohammedi (37-3, 23 KOs) on Saturday, July 25 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, Las Vegas, Nevada. The co-feature will include a ten-round light heavyweight match-up between Jean Pascal (29-3-1, 17 KOs) and Yunieski Gonzalez (16-0, 12 KOs). Tickets are on sale now and start at $25. Tickets can be purchased through TicketMaster and all MGM Resorts Properties Ticket Offices. The HBO World Championship Boxing® telecast begins at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.