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Collision course: Jerwin Ancajas, Kal Yafai to defend titles May 26 on ESPN+

Junior bantamweight titlist Jerwin Ancajas flexes with his IBF belt on his right, and adviser Sean Gibbons on his left. Photo by Jhay Oh Otamias
Fighters Network

Jerwin Ancajas and Kal Yafai are on a collision course.

The 115-pound titleholders will both defend their belts on a May 26 doubleheader in Fresno, California, televised on the new ESPN+ streaming platform.

Ancajas will face Jonas Sultan in an all-Filipino title fight, while Yafai will meet David Carmona. If both junior bantamweight titleholders win, as expected, they’re expected to unify against each other in their next bout.

“I am so glad and very grateful that I was given an opportunity to fight Jonas Sultan,” Ancajas (27-1-1,19 knockouts) said. “We are given a chance to display our talents on a world stage, two Filipinos fighting for a world title. This is history, and our names will be linked forever.”

The last time two Filipino natives met with a title on the list? May 2, 1925, when the great Pancho Villa retained his flyweight championship with a decision victory over Clever Sencio. More than 93 years later, Ancajas will seek to continue his rapid ascent against his fellow countryman.

Ancajas continues to impress, but he remains largely untested, and Sultan (14-3, 9 KOs) doesn’t figure to post a threat either. An assignment against Yafai, who will make his stateside debut in the other half of the doubleheader, would represent a quantum leap in competition for Ancajas.

Carmona (21-5-5, 9 KOs) will look to make sure that bout never comes to fruition in his third attempt at a world title. He was stopped by Omar Narvaez and then outpoined by Naoya Inoue in his other title challenges.

“I can’t wait to make my U.S. debut,” Yafai (23-0, 14 KOs) said. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do since I laced them up. This is the right time to do it. Everyone wants to fight in America at some stage in their career, and this is the right moment for me to announce myself in the States.

“I know people will talk about the Jerwin Ancajas fight, of course, but Carmona is the man in front of me, and he’s all I’m thinking about. I have to look good against Carmona, but I know that the Ancajas fight is something that can happen down the line in the States or in England.”

Mike Coppinger is the Senior Writer for Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCoppinger