Three-body light heavyweight titlist Sergey Kovalev will return to the ring on July 18, making his headline debut in Las Vegas against IBF mandatory challenger Nadjib Mohammedi. HBO will televise.
Kovalev (27-0-1, 24 KO) is coming off of wins over Bernard Hopkins and Jean Pascal, and will now step back in competition to the level he was at in his first three title defenses after beating Nathan Cleverly for the WBO belt in 2013.
Mohammedi (37-3, 23 KO) is a French fighter whose record looks better than it really is. He beat Anatoliy Dudchenko in an eliminator in June of last year, but then-IBF and WBA titleholder Hopkins opted to fight Kovalev instead, with Mohammedi stepping aside to face the winner. In his most notable fights, he lost a wide decision to Cleverly in 2010, and was stopped in two rounds by Dmitry Sukhotsky in 2011. In other words, he does not shape up as any sort of actual threat to Kovalev, making this something like Gennady Golovkin's upcoming fight with Willie Monroe Jr, only Mohammedi can't even really claim to be a slick boxer like Monroe.