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Dillian Whyte won’t have to wait long to try and avenge his shocking August knockout loss to Alexander Povetkin, with the rematch now official for Nov. 21. The fight date was confirmed by Matchroom Boxing on Tuesday, one day after Whyte promised the fight news would drop.

Whyte served as the WBC No. 1 contender for more than 1,000 days, including holding the WBC interim heavyweight championship before he ran into Povetkin in what was viewed by many as a stay-busy bout. The initial meeting, which took place Aug. 22 at Matchroom Boxing’s Fight Camp, was going according to script through four rounds, including Whyte scoring two knockdowns in Round 4.

Everything changed on a single punch in the fifth round. As Whyte pushed forward, he left himself open for a lead uppercut from Povetkin, a shot that knocked Whyte out cold before he even hit the canvas. Povetkin never reached the heights expected of him early in his career, but the 41-year-old proved to still be a live threat in any fight with this brutal finish. 

The loss snapped an 11-fight winning streak for Whyte and ended a long period of waiting for Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder to sort things out in their WBC world title rivalry. Whyte and Matchroom’s Eddie Hearn both expressed interest in an immediate rematch, and now they’ll get their wish, though the venue for the fight has not yet been confirmed.



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Vasiliy Lomachenko undergoes shoulder surgery after losing lightweight titles to Teofimo Lopez

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Just days after losing his lightweight championship unification bout to Teofimo Lopez Jr., Vasiliy Lomachenko underwent shoulder surgery. The procedure was to repair Lomachenko’s right shoulder and should keep him out of the gym until early 2021, according to Yahoo Sports’ Kevin Iole.

Lomachenko (14-2, 10 KO) was favored against Lopez (16-0, 12 KO) but was largely ineffective for the first seven rounds of the fight, allowing Lopez to build up a nearly-insurmountable lead. Lomachenko would come on late, but it was too late for him to turn things around as Lopez won the fight by scores of 116-112, 119-109 and 117-111.

Lomachenko also suffered a torn right labrum in his 2018 bout with Jorge Linares, the fight where he became world lightweight champion. “I couldn’t use my right arm to throw my right hook,” Lomachenko said after the Linares fight.

The situation is similar after the fight with Lopez, with Lomachenko saying he suffered pain when trying to throw his right hook, a key part of Lomachenko’s strategy from his southpaw stance. According to Iole, the surgery was not believed to be as extensive as that which Lomachenko underwent in 2018. But the issues with Lomachenko’s shoulder started prior to the fight.

“When he came in from the Ukraine for his last stages of preparation for the fight, he was having some difficulty with the shoulder,” surgeon Dr. Neal S. ElAttrache told Yahoo Sports. “It turns out he had badly bruised the rotator cuff and chipped a piece of cartilage, which we didn’t realize at the time. But we knew he’d badly bruised the rotator cuff and badly bruised the bone where the rotator cuff attaches to the shoulder. That was roughly six weeks before the fight and we got him to where he was comfortable enough to train. He said he was able to train OK, but it continued to cause him pain during the fight.

“We operated on him last night and he had what we call a hemorrhagic thickened bursitis. That’s the tissue that lubricates and cushions the rotator cuff, which is where we had treated him and injected him before the fight. On the inside of the shoulder where he had previously dislocated the shoulder, he had chipped the cartilage on the inside of the socket. That was right next to the [previous] repair so I did a small touch-up of the repair so I could cover up the bare cartilage in the front of the shoulder.”

The loss to Lopez snapped a 13-fight winning streak for Lomachenko, and was only the second defeat of his pro career, with the first coming in 2014 in only the second bout of his pro career.



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BBL 2020-21 – Mohammad Nabi’s versatility lauded as he returns to Melbourne Renegades

Afghanistan allrounder Mohammad Nabi will return as one of Melbourne Renegades’ overseas players for the BBL.

Nabi, who is the No.1-ranked T20I allrounder, has been part of three previous campaigns for the Renegades: in 27 matches he has scored 476 runs at a strike-rate of 130.76 and has taken 21 wickets with an economy rate of 7.17.

He is the second signing for the Renegades in recent days following the return of James Pattinson from the Brisbane Heat. They have lost Dan Christian (Sydney Sixers), Tom Cooper and Jack Wildermuth (both Brisbane Heat) as they look to rebuild the squad having finished bottom last season following the title-winning 2018-19 season.

Nabi is also the first overseas player from outside of England to be confirmed for this year’s BBL. ESPNcricinfo revealed earlier this week that teams will be able to have three overseas players in their XI instead of the previous two.

“Nabi’s versatility makes him a very valuable member of our team. He can bat and bowl in a number of different situations and he reads the game so well,” Renegades coach Michael Klinger said. “We’ll again be looking for Nabi to play a key role in our middle order and he’ll be called upon to bowl some important overs.”

Current Renegades squad: Cameron Boyce, Zak Evans, Aaron Finch (capt), Jake Fraser-McGurk, Sam Harper, Marcus Harris, Mackenzie Harvey, Jon Holland, Shaun Marsh, Mohammad Nabi, James Pattinson, Kane Richardson, Will Sutherland, Beau Webster.

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Ranking Wisconsin’s 2020 Big Ten opponents

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Well, we are getting Big Ten football in 2020, even if it looks a bit different.

After the Big Ten’s original 10-game conference season was postponed, the conference will play football the fall of 2020 in the form of an eight-game schedule. It will remain an all-conference slate and each team will play a ninth game against its divisional counterpart (No. 1 in West vs. No. 1 in East, No. 2 in West vs. No. 2 in East, and so on) on Dec. 19.

The Badgers lost a number of key players from last year, including linebacker Zack Baun, center Tyler Biadasz, wide receiver Quintez Cephus and running back Jonathan Taylor, all taken in the NFL draft, and will start redshirt freshman quarterback Graham Mertz after incumbent Jack Coan suffered a foot injury in preseason practice. Still, this is not the first time Wisconsin has lost key contributors to the draft or had uncertainty at QB in the Paul Chryst era. Expect a stout defense once again and for running backs Garrett Groshek and Nakia Watson to get significant work out of the backfield.

As far as its 2020 schedule, Wisconsin will miss Ohio State and Penn State – two of the best teams in the conference – in the regular season. The Badgers were originally supposed to play Maryland and Rutgers in its 10-game schedule but is now scheduled to only play Michigan and Indiana from the East division.

Here’s how Wisconsin’s 2020 Big Ten opponents shake out, in order of easiest to hardest.

 

  1. Purdue (home, Nov. 7)

Last matchup: Wisconsin defeated Purdue 45-24 at home last season.

Wide receiver Rondale Moore originally decided to opt out but will now play in 2020. That will certainly help Purdue and sophomore signal caller Jack Plummer, who was very average as a freshman, throwing for 1,603 yards with 11 touchdowns and eight interceptions in seven games. The Boilermakers do have incredible defensive end George Karlaftis but it is not like this is one of the better rosters in the conference.

 

  1. Northwestern (away, Nov. 21)

Last matchup: Wisconsin defeated Northwestern 24-15 at home last season.

The Wildcats were absolutely putrid in 2019. There is no other way to put it. However, considering the recent success Pat Fitzgerald has brought to the program, one can expect Northwestern to bounce back to at least a .500 level. Fitzgerald’s Wildcats almost always have a good defense and Indiana grad transfer quarterback Peyton Ramsey, who started seven games and completed 68% of his passes for 2,454 yards with 13 touchdowns and five picks for the Hoosier in 2019, should make the offense respectable.

 

  1. Illinois (home, Oct. 23)

Last matchup: Illinois defeated Wisconsin 24-23 in Champaign, Ill., last season.

The Illini were feisty last season as Badgers fans know all too well. With quarterback Brandon Peters returning for his redshirt senior season there is no reason to think Illinois won’t be a tough out in 2020. Last season Peters threw for 1,884 yards with 18 touchdowns and eight picks and ran for 213 yards and three scores, so if he can improve on those numbers then Illinois will be an even tougher out.

 

  1. Nebraska (away, Oct. 31)

Last matchup: Wisconsin defeated Nebraska 37-21 on the road last season.

Is this the year for Scott Frost and Nebraska? With new offensive coordinator Matt Lubick, it could be what Adrian Martinez (10 TD,  9 INT) needs to improve after his disappointing sophomore season. The Huskers will also need their defense (27.8 points, 388.8 yards per game allowed in 2019) to take a step up if they want to compete in a real way.

 

  1. Indiana (home, Dec. 5)

Last matchup: Wisconsin defeated Indiana 45-17 on the road in 2017.

These isn’t your father’s Indiana football team! Coming off an 8-5 season and a fourth-place finish in the Big Ten East, the Hoosiers are not the easy out they used to be. Tom Allen’s squad won eight games for the first time since 1993 and a big part of it was because of dynamic quarterback Michael Penix Jr., who threw for 1,394 yards and 10 touchdowns while completing 68.8% of his throws. He will be back for his redshirt sophomore year after playing just six games in 2019, so it will be interesting to see how a healthier and more experienced Penix performs in this shortened season.

 

  1. Iowa (away, Dec. 12)

Last matchup: Wisconsin defeated Iowa 24-22 at home last season.

The Hawkeyes will probably have the same type of hardnosed, giant-killer type team that they usually do in 2020. They will lean on ball control and good defense, which will be extra important for them this season with Nate Stanley now off to the NFL. Iowa limited opposing teams to 308.5 total yards and 14 points per game (fifth-best in the nation) but lost A.J. Epenesa, Michael Ojemudia and Geno Stone in the 2020 NFL draft. If it can overcome their absences on defense then the Hawkeyes should be in good shape regardless of who is under center.

 

  1. Michigan (away, Nov. 14)

Last matchup: Wisconsin defeated Michigan 35-14 at home last season.

Michigan will have to replace Shea Patterson but the Wolverines return talented skill position players, including running back Zach Charbonnet and wide receiver Ronnie Bell. That should make things easier for whomever wins the starting quarterback job. Michigan should have a good defense once again even though it lost some players to the NFL, including linebacker Josh Uche in the second round. Offensive coordinator Josh Gattis is also in his second season with the Wolverines, so Michigan’s offense should operate better in its second year in the system.

 

  1. Minnesota (home, Nov. 28)

Last matchup: Wisconsin defeated Minnesota 38-17 on the road last season.

If wide receiver Rashod Bateman had decided to opt out for the entire season then the Gophers would not be at the top of this list. But he chose to come back, which means the Gophers will have the best receiver Wisconsin plays in the regular season and Tanner Morgan, who is arguably the best quarterback it will go up against. Bateman is an excellent deep threat, catching 60 passes for 1,219 yards and 11 touchdowns last season (20.3 yards per catch), so him being back for 2020 will open things up for a high-powered Minnesota offense that has continuity and also returns running back Mohamed Ibrahim (5.3 yards per carry).



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