By: Matthew N. Becher
Nadjib Mohammedi (37-3 23KO) is a light heavyweight contender from France, who will be facing his toughest challenge as a professional fighter to date. Live from the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, on HBO, he will get his chance to become the unified Light Heavyweight champion when he takes on the “Krusher” Sergey Kovalev.
Nadjib was able to take a few moments away from his training camp in Big Bear, California at trainer Abel Sanchez’s “The Summit” to answer some questions.
Boxing Insider: Explain to us a little about your upbringing, growing up in Gardanne, Bouches-du-Rhone, France and how you got into the sport?
Mohammedi: I grew up in poor neighborhoods, my mom raised four children on her own. I had to start working by the age of fourteen to help my family. One day, my brother took me to the gym where I started boxing, and I knew right away it was my destiny.
Boxing Insider: Recently you’ve teamed up with Abel Sanchez. What was the cause to change trainers and what does he add to your arsenal?
Mohammedi: I had to change, because I have the opportunity of going to the next level in the world of boxing. My advisors, Vince Caruso and Jon Ali, introduced me to Abel Sanchez and him and I are very happy to work together.
Boxing Insider: You are currently holding your training camp in Big Bear, California. How many camps have you done this for?
Mohammedi: For Months! I’m a hard worker, always training. I do not know what a day off is.
Boxing Insider: How much sparring are you expected to be doing for this fight and who do you plan on sparring with?
Mohammedi: I started sparring already and I will have about 5-8 different fighters. Able will choose the names.
Boxing Insider: Your last two opponents have a combined record of 15-8-1, do you feel that Kovalev may be too big of a step up fight in your career?
Mohammedi: My last opponents were just there to keep me fresh and active. That was a good thing to work on new stuff.
Boxing Insider: Jean Pascal has a similar fighting style as you, and in his last fight with Kovalev he seemed to find some success. Did you watch the fight and did you pick up anything you could build upon or exploit in Sergey?
Mohammedi: (Laughs out) Jean Pascal and I are nothing in common. I was there, near the ring during his fight with Kovalev.
Boxing Insider: How do you prepare for (training wise) and neutralize Kovalevs’ devastating power?
Mohammedi: I train hard, very hard, it’s not the first time that I will face a puncher.
Boxing Insider: You are heading into July 25th as a major underdog. If you pull off the win, it would shake the boxing world…how does that affect your training and overall mindset heading into the fight?
Mohammedi: Oh yea, I’m an outsider and that’s good for me. I’m ready to shake up the world and especially the boxing world. I’m ready for this.
Boxing Insider: Thank you so much for your time Nadjib. We wish you the best of luck on July 25th as you attempt to become the new unified light heavyweight champion of the world.
Media day quotes:
Abel Sanchez Having Trained Kovalev for eight bouts:
“It’s not an advantage (for me), because Kovalev is different now. He’s changed a little bit.”
About fighting in Las Vegas:
“It’s very exciting. It’s a very big stage. I’m happy.”
About being given little chance to win:
“I’m not stupid. I’m not naïve. I’m unknown. That’s no problem. I like quiet. It lets me train, train, train. Training’s not work; it’s my passion.”
“On July 25th I have a surprise. People will say, ‘Oh, my God.'”
“He’s a very good champion. But he has two arms and in this division everyone has power. All it takes is one shot.”
“The fight (result) will be a KO. Either him or me. It’s possible I lose because I’m just a man.”