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Anthony Joshua regrets post-fight antics after Oleksandr Usyk rematch defeat

Anthony Joshua has stated he let himself down in the moments after his split decision defeat in a rematch with Oleksandr Usyk on Saturday.

Joshua failed to reclaim the WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO heavyweight titles as he suffered his second consecutive loss to Usyk — his third defeat in his last five fights. The 32-year-old threw two of Usyk’s belts to the floor after the final bell before storming out of the ring, only to return later and deliver an impassioned speech.

“I wish Usyk continued success in your quest for greatness. You are a class act champ” Joshua said in a Twitter post on Sunday.

“Yesterday I had to mentally take myself into a dark place to compete for the championship belts! I had two fights, one with Usyk and one with my emotions and both got the better of me. “I’ll be the first to admit, I let my self down. I acted out of pure passion and emotion and when not controlled it ain’t great. I love this sport so so much and I’ll be better from this point on.”

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The 32-year-old also reflected on his behavior during his post-fight news conference, saying his speech, in which he called himself a new breed of heavyweight and led a cheer for Usyk, was “from the heart.”

“When you try and do things from your heart, not everyone is going to understand,” Joshua said. “It was just from the heart. I knew I was mad at myself. Not at anyone, just myself. I was like I got to get out here because I’m mad.

“When you’re angry you might do stupid things. Then I realised this is sport. I came back and did the right thing.”

Joshua fought back tears after the fight as he reflected on his defeat, saying he was deeply “upset” with his performance versus the Ukrainian heavyweight champion.

“It’s really, really hard for me to say I’m proud of myself. I’m upset, really, deep down in my heart,” he added.

“I tried a different style… in the last fight I wanted to compete as a boxer, but it wasn’t good enough, and tonight wasn’t good enough.”

Joshua said he plans to return to the ring in December, adding that his promoter, Eddie Hearn, wants him to have three or four fights next year.

“I spoke to Eddie and asked him if it’s possible to get out in November because momentum is important in boxing. Eddie said December,” Joshua said.

“If it’s about who I fight, it’s come one, come all. Whoever wants it can get it, I don’t mind.”

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Mets top Yanks 6-3 in Subway Series matchup of leaders

Eduardo Escobar hit a tiebreaking, two-run homer that capped a four-run, first-inning rally, and the New York Mets defeated the Yankees 6-3 Tuesday night in a rare Subway Series matchup of first-place teams.

Aaron Judge and Anthony Rizzo quieted many of the 42,364 fans at Citi Field in the first inning with opposite-field home runs on consecutive pitches from Taijuan Walker (8-2).

But the Mets stormed right back in the bottom half when Starling Marte homered with one out against Jordan Montgomery (3-3). Francisco Lindor and Pete Alonso permitted with back-to-back doubles, and Escobar’s two-run, two-out homer put the Mets ahead 4-2.

The Mets, who won four of six games versus the Yankees last year, held on for a victory before just their third home sellout this year, what they hoped is a World Series rehearsal. Both teams had been in first place when they met in only one previous season, a three-game series from April 24-26, 2015, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

“If we’re playing against each other in November, that would be awesome,” Alonso said. “If that happens, the city will just be on fire.”

Two of baseball’s big boppers went head to head. Judge’s major league-high 38th home run gave him 82 RBI, tying for the big league lead. Alonso surged back ahead with his 83rd in the bottom half and went 3 for 3 with a walk. The Yankees arrived a big league-best 66-31 with a 12 1/2-game AL East lead. The Mets had the second-best National League mark at 59-37 and a two-game NL East edge over Atlanta.

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Former Met and Yankee Darryl Strawberry threw out a ceremonial first pitch.

Chants of “Let’s Go Mets!” started 10 minutes before the first pitch and the Yankees were booed when their lineup was announced.

“This year, obviously, seems even bigger with both teams doing as well,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “During a 162-game season, the grind of it, these kind of series, especially as we enter the dog days of summer and things like that, are series that gives give guys a little shot in the arm, a little life.”

Walker improved to 5-0 in his last eight starts, allowing three runs and seven hits in six innings.

Adam Ottovino got five outs, and Edwin Díaz struck out four for his 22nd save in 25 chances.

The Yankees put two on with one out in the ninth when Jose Trevino reached on an infield hit and Díaz dropped the ball for an error while throwing to second on Judge’s comebacker. Díaz struck out Rizzo and Gleyber Torres.

Montgomery, 0-2 in last seven starts, allowed five runs — four earned — and five hits, needing 71 pitches for seven outs. When Boone came to the mound to remove him, he stared at his manager and appeared to mouth: “Why?”

The Yankees went 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position and hurt themselves with a pair of outs on the bases: Isiah Kiner-Falefa was picked off in the first and Rizzo was caught at second on an attempted double steal in the seventh.

Judge and Rizzo combined for the Yankees’ 14th back-to-back homers, tying the team record set in 2009. The drive into the right-field bullpens made Judge 10 for 20 with five homers in a span of 20 at-bats. Rizzo ended a 14-game homerless streak with his 23rd this season.

Walker had not previously permitted a home run at Citi Field this year

The Mets opened a 5-2 lead in the third when third baseman Josh Donaldson hit Francisco Lindor with a throw near first base, and the ball caromed into right field as Marte scored from second.

The Yankees got a run back on DJ LeMahieu’s RBI grounder in the fourth but left the bases loaded when Rizzo flied out to Brandon Nimmo a step in front of the center-field wall.

Jeff McNeil ended an 0-for-19 rut with a run-scoring single off Albert Abreu in the eighth.

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Torres hit in 9th, Yanks win 10th in row, beat Blue Jays 3-2

Gleyber Torres homered early, then hit a go-ahead single in the ninth inning as the New York Yankees earned their 10th consecutive game, beating the Toronto Blue Jays 3-2 Monday night.

Giancarlo Stanton singled off Yimi Garcia (0-2) to start the New York ninth, ending a streak of four perfect innings by Blue Jays relievers. Pinch-runner Tim Locastro stole second, but Josh Donaldson grounded out and Aaron Hicks struck out before Torres lined a single to center field.

Clay Holmes (2-0) pitched 1 1/3 innings for the win and Chad Green worked a perfect ninth for his first save in three chances.

Torres opened the scoring with a two-out, two-run drive off Ross Stripling in the fourth, his third homer of the season.

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The Yankees won for the 12th time in 13 games and improved their MLB-leading record to 17-8.

The Blue Jays dropped to 9-3 in one-run games.

New York put runners at the corners with one out in the third but Stripling struck out Aaron Judge and got Anthony Rizzo to fly out. Judge had homered in his past three games, and had hit five home runs in his previous five games.

Yankees left-hander Jordan Montgomery faced the minimum through three innings but the Blue Jays tied it in the bottom of the fourth. George Springer singled and scored on Bo Bichette’s RBI double. Bichette advanced on a fly ball and later scored on Matt Chapman’s two-out single.

Chapman struck out against Jonathan Loáisiga to end the sixth, stranding Bichette at third.

Toronto’s Alejandro Kirk drew a leadoff walk against reliever Miguel Castro in the seventh and Tyler Heineman hit a two-out double, but Holmes came on and got Springer to ground out.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. hit back-to-back singles off Holmes in the eighth but Chapman grounded into an inning-ending double play, Toronto’s third of the game.

Montgomery gave up two runs and six hits in five-plus innings. He walked none and struck out five. Stripling permitted two runs and five hits in four innings. He walked none and struck out three.

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Baltimore Ravens OT Ronnie Stanley to have season-ending ankle surgery

Baltimore Ravens Pro Bowl offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley will undergo season-ending surgery on his left ankle for the second consecutive season.

Stanley, 27, announced he will be out for the remainder of the season after the Ravens placed him on injured reserve. He will undergo surgery Tuesday, according to a source.

“At this point in time, my ankle isn’t where it should be,” Stanley said in a statement. “This is the best decision not only for my health, but also for the team long-term. I look forward to supporting my team from the sideline this season and coming back fully healthy in 2022.”

This is the latest blow for Baltimore, which now has an NFL-leading 17 players on injured reserve. The Ravens had hoped Stanley would return fully healthy this season, which is why they traded Pro Bowl offensive tackle Orlando Brown to the Kansas City Chiefs before the draft.

Alejandro Villanueva, a six-year starter for the Pittsburgh Steelers, will continue to start at left tackle and protect Lamar Jackson’s blind side for Baltimore, which has the AFC’s best record at 5-1.

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In another roster move, the Ravens promoted running back Le’Veon Bell from the practice squad to the 53-man roster. Baltimore had elevated him twice, so it couldn’t elevate him again without adding him to the active roster.

Bell joins Latavius Murray, Devonta Freeman and Ty’Son Williams as running backs on the Ravens’ active roster. In two matches, Bell has run 12 times for 29 yards and one touchdown.

Stanley, a first-team All-Pro and a Pro Bowl player in 2019, first injured his ankle two days after signing a five-year, $98.75 million extension. Last season, he missed the final 10 games after breaking his left ankle Nov. 1 versus the Steelers.

Pittsburgh linebacker T.J. Watt inadvertently rolled into the back of Stanley’s lower left leg while trying to sack Jackson.

The NFL’s second-highest-paid offensive tackle, Stanley underwent two surgeries on his ankle before this season. After being sidelined for the entire offseason and for the first nine days of training camp, he returned to play in the season opener in Las Vegas but visibly struggled.

He hadn’t played since. Stanley represents the third-biggest cap hit on the Ravens at $10 million.

The No. 6 pick of the 2016 draft, Stanley has been Baltimore’s best left tackle since Hall of Fame lineman Jonathan Ogden.

“This is not what I wanted or expected when coming into the season,” Stanley said. “Throughout the last year, I did everything I could to be 100% healthy so I could be out there playing for our team and city.”

In addition to Stanley, Baltimore’s other significant season-ending injuries are to cornerback Marcus Peters, running backs J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards and Justice Hill and linebacker L.J. Fort. They totaled 2,872 snaps in 2020.

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Brady, Buccaneers begin defense of title against Cowboys

Lofty, maybe even gargantuan, expectations don’t faze Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The reigning Super Bowl champions open the 2021 NFL season versus the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday night, confident they have what it takes — at least on paper — to become the first team to collect back-to-back titles since Brady led the 2003 and 2004 New England Patriots to consecutive crowns.

No one knows what it’s like to have a target on your back every week more than Brady, a seven-time Super Bowl winner who turned 44 during training camp — a few days after reminding teammates the first order of business is leaving last season behind.

The Bucs return all 22 starters from a top 10 offense and defense, however Brady and coach Bruce Arians stress talent alone doesn’t guarantee continued success.

“In one way, you’re not really defending it much, it’s kind of in the books. They can’t take away what we’ve done. It’s really just a whole other year and experience,” Brady said.

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“We have a lot of continuity. We have a lot of things to build on and a lot more experience together,” Brady added. “That’s really all you can ask for as players is to be in the position that we’re in. I’d just like us to go out and take advantage of that.”

With Brady entering his second season working with a bevy of playmakers that includes receivers Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown, tight ends Rob Gronkowski, Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard, the Bucs think they can be even more potent on offense.

The defense returns intact, too, with linebackers Devin White, Lavonte David, Jason Pierre-Paul and Shaquil Barrett leading the way and a youthful group of cornerbacks and safeties looking to make names for themselves.

“As good as we played with the same group of guys, I’d love to see where we can get this year,” Brady stated.

“Again, all of it is earned. There’s nothing given. It’s not about a bunch of hype or a bunch of buildup. We have to go do it,” Brady added. “I think that’s about a bunch of guys that are really mature and see ourselves as professional athletes. We want to go out there and put our best out there.”

The Cowboys are coming off a 6-10 finish in which they played most of the season without quarterback Dak Prescott.

Prescott returns Thursday night for the first time since suffering the severe ankle injury that ended his year last October. He didn’t play in the preseason, either, after straining his right shoulder early in training camp.

Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy is excited to get Prescott back on the field and spoke to his team about the opportunity to face a seemingly ageless Brady and the defending champs in the season opener for the entire NFL.

“We talked about … just how fortunate we are to be part of it on whatever level, most importantly the players,” McCarthy said. “There’s definitely a youthfulness that has to exist to be successful, and I think (Brady’s) a good example if there ever was one that has played the game, or any sport, of the way you need to go about it,” McCarthy said.

“He exudes with that every time he lines up. Very consistent. I think it’s a big part of his continued success.”

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Kansas City Chiefs’ Sammy Watkins optimistic about playing in Super Bowl

Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins stated he is optimistic about playing in Super Bowl LV on Sunday versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after missing both previous playoff games because of a calf injury.

“Feeling great,” Watkins said Tuesday. “Still working out with the training staff and [athletic trainer Rick Burkholder], just going over everything so I can have a chance and possibly go out there and feel 100% or 95% or 85%, wherever I get at by Sunday. Feeling pretty good, very optimistic. Been having good practices.”

Watkins also missed six games during the regular season. He was fifth on the Chiefs with 37 receptions, 421 yards and two touchdowns.

In the final campaign of his contract, Watkins said he would listen if the team would like to re-sign him because he values winning and playing in Super Bowls over personal stats and money.

“I would say, let’s win this Super Bowl and see where my head will be at,” Watkins said. “It would definitely be something to think about. It would definitely be something I would talk to my wife and my kids about, to think about coming back. Would I love a third ring? For sure.

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“I would definitely not say no about it. … To come back and win a third one? Yeah. I don’t mind. I would definitely have to sit and think about it, see what my future holds.”

Watkins’ return would add another dimension to a dynamic Chiefs offense, led by last year’s Super Bowl MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

“You never see him get rattled… You just see the calm guy that’s kind of like controlling the game,” Watkins said of his quarterback. “I think that’s what has taken this offense to a whole different level… I think we have an offense that understands now, if we just do the little things right, we can’t be stopped.”

The Chiefs punched their ticket to their second consecutive Super Bowl appearance with a 38-24 victory over the Bills in the AFC Championship game.

The Bills traded up to get Watkins with the fourth overall pick in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft.  The team traded Watkins to the Los Angeles Rams in 2017, along with a 2018 sixth-round draft pick, in exchange for a 2018 second-round pick and cornerback E.J. Gaines, who opted out of the 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic and was released by the Bills in January.

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