The long-awaited showdown between 100m world champion Fred Kerley and Olympic champion Marcell Jacobs has been confirmed for the third Wanda Diamond League meeting of the season at the Pietro Mennea Golden Gala in Florence, Italy on June 2. Kerley and Jacobs are set to compete there for the first time since the Olympic final in Tokyo in 2021.
The battle we’ve all been waiting for 😤
— World Athletics (@WorldAthletics) May 9, 2023
Kerley has been talking up his chances of beating Jacobs in recent weeks. “If it happens, I’ll be there and I’ll definitely win. I don’t know if he’ll show up,” Kerley said at the press conference ahead of the Diamond League season opener in Doha last week.
The American got his Diamond League campaign off to a solid start on Friday, clocking 19.92 to take victory in the men’s 200m in Doha.
Italy’s Jacobs has not competed on the Diamond League circuit since his third-place finish in Monaco in 2021, a race that proved to be a warm-up for his historic victory in Tokyo.
Kerley will be seeking another victory at the Golden Gala, having won the 100m in 2022 and the 400m in 2018. In Rome last year, he won the 100m by a huge margin in 9.92, then went on to set a PB of 9.76 at the US Championships before claiming the world title in Oregon.
Jacobs set a European record of 9.80 to win the Olympic title in Tokyo in 2021, then added another gold to his collection in the 4x100m. He won two more major titles in 2022, taking world indoor 60m gold in a European record of 6.41 and then European 100m gold in Munich.
— Wanda Diamond League (@Diamond_League) May 4, 2023
Neither of the two men is guaranteed victory, however, with Diamond League champion Trayvon Bromell also set to run in Florence. Bromell picked up his first-ever Diamond League win in Silesia last year before going on to dethrone Kerley in the series final in Zurich a few weeks later. Bromell, who has an identical 9.76 PB to Kerley’s, is the 2016 world indoor 60m champion.
Italy’s Samuele Ceccarelliwho beat Jacobs to the European indoor 60m title earlier this year, will also be in the field.
Florence Diamond League is the third leg of the Diamond League series, which comprises 14 of the most prestigious events in global track and field. Athletes compete for points at the 13 series meetings in a bid to qualify for the two-day Wanda Diamond League Final in Eugene, Ore., on Sept. 16-17.