Tthe 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!"