Two of the world’s most dynamic 115-pound talents — on a collision course to a potential title unification bout — will take center stage at the Save Mart Center on the first Top Rank on ESPN world championship card on ESPN+, Saturday, May 26 at 9:30 p.m. ET.
Filipino standout Jerwin ‘Pretty Boy’ Ancajas will defend the International Boxing Federation (IBF) junior bantamweight world title in the main event against countryman Jonas Sultan. It marks the first world title bout featuring two Filipino fighters in 93 years, when Pancho Villa defended the world flyweight title against Clever Sencio on May 2, 1925.
In the co-feature, Great Britain’s Kal Yafai will make the third defense of his World Boxing Association (WBA) super flyweight title against David Carmona. Soon-to-be announced undercard bouts, including appearances by welterweight contender Jose Benavidez and Central Valley products Bryan Lua and Isidro Ochoa, will be shown on ESPN+ starting at 6:30 p.m. ET.
The Ancajas vs. Sultan / Yafai vs. Carmona world championship doubleheader will be streamed live and exclusively in the U.S. on ESPN+ — the first-ever multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer and International group and ESPN. ESPN+ is available to all fans on the ESPN App and ESPN.com.
Fans can watch Ancajas vs. Sultan / Yafai vs. Carmona, hundreds of other boxing matches per year, other Top Rank on ESPN content and thousands of other live events by subscribing to ESPN+ for just $4.99 a month (or $49.99 per year). To subscribe, fans simply download or open the ESPN App or visit ESPNPlus.com and subscribe. Fans can stream on the ESPN App on mobile and TV-connected devices and on ESPN.com.
Promoted by Top Rank, in association with MP Promotions, Big Al Presents, Joven Sports, and Matchroom Boxing USA, special ticket on-sale information will be announced soon.
“I am so glad and very grateful that I was given an opportunity to fight Jonas Sultan,” Ancajas 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.”
“I can’t wait to make my U.S. debut. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do since I laced them up,” Yafai said. “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.”
Ancajas (27-1-1,19 KOs), from Barangay Ramirez, Magallanes, Cavite, Philippines, will be making the fifth defense of the world title he won on Sept. 3, 2016 in Taguig City, Philippines, when he knocked down the previously undefeated McJoe Arroyo in the eighth round en route to a unanimous decision. Ancajas made his U.S. and Top Rank debut as the co-feature to the Gilberto Ramirez vs. Habib Ahmed bout on a Top Rank on ESPN card, Feb. 3 in Corpus Christi, Texas. On that night, Ancajas steamrolled Israel Gonzalez, knocking him down three times and scoring a 10th-round TKO.
One of the most devastating punchers in the lighter weight classes, Ancajas is 15-0 with 14 knockouts since his only loss, a 10-round majority decision to Mark Geraldo on March 17, 2012. He has defended his title in Australia, Northern Ireland, and Macao, a world traveler intent on staking his claim as the top fighter in the loaded 115-pound weight class.
Sultan (14-3, 9 KOs), ranked No. 1 by the IBF, is coming off the biggest victory of his career, when he knocked out former two-division champion John Riel Casimero on Sept. 16, 2017 in Cebu City, Philippines. He has won five in a row, four by knockout, since a 10-round unanimous decision loss to Go Onaga on Nov. 15, 2015. A native of Tampilisan, Zamboanga del Norte, Philippines, Sultan lost two split decisions in his first six pro fights. Like Ancajas, he has won several fights in his opponents’ home countries, including a 2016 second-round TKO over Makazole Tete in East London, South Africa.
Yafai (23-0, 14 KOs), from Birmingham, England, turned pro in 2012 following an accomplished amateur career, winning eight fights in his first eight months in the paid ranks. On March 21, 2014, he stopped Yaqub Kareem in the third round to win the vacant Commonwealth super flyweight title. Yafai won the British super flyweight title in March 2016 and soon set his sights on a world crown.
On Dec. 10, 2016, Yafai dominated Luis Concepcion via unanimous decision, winning the WBA belt and becoming Birmingham’s first world champion in 109 years. In his most recent title defense, Yafai turned back a tough challenge from Sho Ishida, winning a unanimous decision by scores of 118-110 and 116-112 (2x).
Carmona (21-5-5, 9 KOs), from Mexico City, will be making his third attempt at a world title at 115 pounds. In 2013, he fell to longtime WBO champion Omar Narvaez via seventh-round TKO. And, in 2016, he dropped a unanimous decision to pound-for-pound elite Naoya Inoue, who’d knocked out Narvaez to win the title. On March 10, 2017, he lost a disputed unanimous decision to former WBC super flyweight champion Carlos Cuadras. In his last bout, on March 2 of this year, he scored a fourth-round TKO over Jesus Iribe in Mexico City.
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