Tagged in: october

Deontay Wilder, Robert Helenius working on finalizing deal for PBC PPV fight in October

Former heavyweight titleholder Deontay Wilder and Robert Helenius are in the process of concluding a deal for a PBC on FOX pay-per-view fight Oct. 15 at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, sources confirmed to ESPN.

Wilder (42-2-1, 41 KOs) contemplated retirement following a brutal 11th-round KO loss to Tyson Fury in their October 2021 fight that was named ESPN’s Fight of the Year.

The 36-year-old will lastly face a different adversary for the first time since November 2019, following two consecutive inside-the-distance defeats to Fury.

Helenius (31-3, 20 KOs) last fought on the Fury-Wilder undercard, when he scored a TKO over Adam Kownacki in a second consecutive bout.

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The fringe contender, who fights out of Finland, has competed just three times since a KO defeat to Gerald Washington in July 2019.

Wilder, ESPN’s No. 3 heavyweight, delivered perhaps his most memorable career performance in defeat. He was given little chance following the second meeting with Fury, when “The Gypsy King” brutalized him en route to a seventh-round TKO, but Wilder was able to floor Fury twice in Round 4.

The Olympic bronze medalist is perhaps the most imposing puncher in boxing, and with a win he could find himself in line for a matchup versus Andy Ruiz next year if the former champ defeats Luis Ortiz on Sept. 4.

Heavyweight contender Frank Sanchez is slated to compete on the Oct. 15 undercard, sources said. BoxingScene.com first reported the Wilder-Helenius news.

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Roger Federer plans return to tournament play at Swiss Indoors

Roger Federer intends to return to tournament tennis after what will have been more than a year away from the tour by playing at the Swiss Indoors in October.

The event in Basel revealed in a statement posted on its website on Tuesday that the 20-time Grand Slam champion “has officially entered the tournament and will appear on the entry list with the protected ATP ranking” of No. 9.

His agent, Tony Godsick, confirmed Federer’s plan to The Associated Press.

Federer’s first match there is scheduled for Oct. 25, according to the website. The Swiss star has not played a competitive match since losing to Hubert Hurkacz 6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-0 in the Wimbledon quarterfinals on July 7.

Soon after that defeat, Federer had surgery to repair damage to his meniscus and cartilage in his right knee — the third time in a span of 1½ years that knee was operated on.

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Federer, 40, has won a men’s record eight championships at the All England Club.

He and Novak Djokovic are tied for the second-most overall major tennis titles acquired by a man; they trail Rafael Nadal, who has 21.

Federer said in an interview with a Swiss newspaper in November that he expected to miss Wimbledon this year — it starts on June 27 — and was not sure when, if ever, he might be able to play again at a high level, although he did “want to see one last time what I’m capable of as a professional tennis player.”

In February, Federer and Nadal announced they were both planning to participate in the Laver Cup in London on Sept. 23-25.

That would mark Federer’s return to action for the first time since last July — albeit not at a full-fledged tournament but at a team event founded by his management company.

Federer has won the Swiss Indoors trophy 10 times. The tournament will return this year after being called off in 2020 and 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Chicago Bulls’ Patrick Williams to make return against Toronto Raptors

Chicago Bulls forward Patrick Williams will return Monday night versus the Toronto Raptors to play in his first game since having wrist surgery in October, the team said Sunday.

Williams, the No. 4 pick in the 2020 NBA draft, has not played since Oct. 28, when he tore ligaments in his left wrist during the fifth game of the season.

Although he started the season in the starting lineup, Williams is expected to return in a reserve role with a minutes restriction. “He’s anxious to get back,” Bulls coach Billy Donovan said Friday.

“Physically, he feels good. He knows the timing part is going to take a little bit of time. But I think just how he feels and where he’s at mentally, he wants to come back and play.”

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Williams, 20, had a promising rookie season as one of the youngest players in his draft class, but his second season didn’t get off to much of a start.

He averaged 6.6 points on 56.5% shooting and 2.2 rebounds in five games before he tore his wrist ligaments falling on a flagrant foul by the New York Knicks’ Mitchell Robinson.

While the Bulls were on a three-game West Coast road trip this past week, Williams remained in Chicago to practice with the Windy City Bulls, the team’s G League affiliate.

Donovan said reports have been encouraging about Williams’ conditioning but that his timing was off after being sidelined for five months.

The Bulls are on a back-to-back Monday and Tuesday, and Donovan stated it was possible that Williams could play in both games.

Williams’ return comes as the Bulls are on a three-game losing streak and have dropped eight of their past 10 games. They started Sunday fifth in the Eastern Conference. “He makes our team better,” Donovan told reporters.

“There’ll probably be some growing pains of him finding a rhythm. With Patrick, the biggest thing is going to be how he fits into a rotation and what a realistic number of minutes look like for him.”

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Broncos are expecting same old Raiders even without Gruden

Denver Broncos star linebacker Von Miller still sees the Las Vegas Raiders as Jon Gruden’s team even after their rival’s iconic coach resigned in disgrace.

While acknowledging “how they call the game will definitely change because they have a new play caller,” Miller insisted, “what they do is what they do.”

“They’re not going to come out here and be an option team. They’re not just going to come out here and change their whole identity because Gruden’s gone,” Miller argued. “They’re still going to do some of the things that they do well. We just don’t know when they will do it.

“To be honest, that’s really every week that we go out there,” Miller added. “We really don’t know what the other team is going to present.”

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Longtime special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia makes his debut as the Raiders’ interim head coach Sunday, with offensive coordinator Greg Olson taking over play-calling duties in a matchup pitting 3-2 teams who are seeking their first victory in October.

“No one wants to be a head coach in this particular situation, no one wants to be put in front of this under these particular circumstances,” said Bisaccia, whose first NFL job was under Gruden in 2002, when he was hired as special teams coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“But it’s an incredible opportunity, not only for me but for all the other coaches to see what we can do with this adversity, see what we can do with this challenge.”

Olson’s voice isn’t an unfamiliar one to Raiders quarterback Derek Carr.

“My rookie year he called plays,” Carr said. “I’ve heard his voice through the headset. I know how he calls the game and I know how he thinks. We’re in the same room. Every conversation I had with coach Gruden, I had with Oly this whole time.

“It’s not going to be anything crazy new but there are philosophies that some people have. So, I don’t want to give Oly’s secrets away, but could things be different? Yes. Could things be similar? Yes, absolutely.”

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Australian Grand Prix cancelled for second year in succession

The Australian Formula One grand prix has been cancelled for a second consecutive year, with Melbourne now set to lose its prestigious season-opening status.

The multi-million dollar race had already been rescheduled from March to November before it was scrapped altogether on Tuesday, while the October Australian MotoGP will also not go ahead at Phillip Island.

The 2020 Australian GP at the Albert Park street circuit was called off at the last moment at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Victorian Sports Minister Martin Pakula stated Formula One and MotoGP management needed assurances this week that Australia was unable to deliver on.

He said the country’s low vaccination rate and the Federal government’s recent decision to slash international arrivals had forced their hand. The motorsport organizations have a set of conditions for each race and that could not be managed if drivers and their crews were required to quarantine.

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“Formula One and MotoGP required assurances and undertakings and guarantees this week about the conduct of those events,” Pakula said on Tuesday.

“There’s a few months to go, but they need to plan, and they need to have contingencies in place.

“Given the very low national two-dose-vaccination numbers, and given the decision of National Cabinet on Friday, we’re simply not in a position to give F1 management or MotoGP the sorts of assurances they require.

“Some 1600 visitors in November, with the bespoke quarantine arrangements needed … really makes it extremely difficult for us to give those organisations the guarantee they require.”

Formula One already has a race programmed in Brazil for November 5-7, leaving little time for a two-week hotel quarantine before November 19-21 when the Melbourne event was scheduled, while there was no wriggle room with the final two races in Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi in early December.

Australia is not alone with Singapore and Canada both cancelling their races for a second year due to safety and logistic concerns connected to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Pakula said he had spoken with Formula One boss Stefano Demetocarli and there was an expectation the event would go ahead in 2022.

Pakula said April was a prospective date, meaning Melbourne would lose its prestigious season-opening status.

Bahrain jumped in to host round one this year when the Australian event was rescheduled and will be rewarded with hosting the race in 2022.

“We’ve been talking April with F1 for some time, ” Pakula said.

“As you know this year other events went into that first and second slot and I think F1 are keen to continue with those events.”

Pakula downplayed losing the first race on the calendar, saying there were always changes and the later date suited Melbourne.

He said he didn’t have figures available on the economic impact of surrendering the fixture for a second year.

Formula One and the Victorian government have a contract to run the race in Melbourne until 2025 while the MotoGP is contracted to 2026.

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Los Angeles Dodgers’ Justin Turner staying on 2-year, $34M deal

Third baseman Justin Turner is staying put with the Los Angeles Dodgers, he revealed Saturday on Twitter.

Turner’s deal is for two years and $34 million guaranteed, and it includes a club option for a third year, sources told ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

Turner, 36, became a free agent when his four-year, $64 million contract expired following the Dodgers’ World Series triumph in October. A member of the Dodgers since 2014, Turner is the longest-tenured position player on the team and the third longest overall, behind Clayton Kershaw (2008) and Kenley Jansen (2010).

Turner was a journeyman for the first half of his major league career. He was non-tendered by the New York Mets in December 2013, went unsigned for the next two months and then agreed to a minor league deal with the Dodgers. At 29, he started to establish himself among the game’s most productive third basemen.

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Turner batted .297/.378/.508 from 2015 to 2019, accumulating 105 homers, 147 doubles and 21.9 FanGraphs wins above replacement in 645 regular-season games.

He made an All-Star team, concluded within the top 10 in National League MVP voting on two occasions and set the tone for the Dodgers’ hitting philosophy as their most consistent performer.

Along the way, Turner contributed several memorable postseason moments, most notably his walk-off home run versus the Chicago Cubs in Game 2 of the 2017 NL Championship Series. According to ESPN Stats & Information research, he ranks first in Dodgers postseason history in hits (79), home runs (12), runs (40) and RBIs (41).

His crowning achievement finally came last season, when Turner — a lifelong Dodgers fan who grew up in Lakewood, California, and identifies Kirk Gibson’s famous pinch-hit home run in the 1988 World Series as his first baseball memory — helped lead the franchise to its first championship in more than 30 years.

Turner posted a 1.066 OPS in six World Series games versus the Tampa Bay Rays, but his career highlight became tarnished after Major League Baseball informed the Dodgers in the late stages of the eventual clincher that Turner had tested positive for COVID-19.

Turner, the Dodgers’ player rep, was removed to start the eighth inning of Game 6 and wasn’t on the field to celebrate the final out. But he broke protocol and reentered the field to take pictures with the World Series trophy and was seen around teammates without a mask, drawing the ire of MLB officials and rampant criticism from people throughout the country. MLB ultimately decided not to discipline him.

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Sam Querrey defends decision to breach COVID-19 protocols in Russia to protect family

American Sam Querrey, who was sanctioned by the ATP for breaching COVID-19 protocols at the St Petersburg Open in October, has defended his actions and said he did what he felt was right as a father and a husband.

Querrey left Russia in a private jet with his wife and baby son after all three tested positive for the virus before the beginning of the tournament, sneaking out of their hotel early in the morning without informing reception.

The ATP, the men’s governing body, handed the 33-year-old a suspended $20,000 fine which will be lifted if Querrey does not commit further breaches of health and safety protocols related to COVID-19 within a probationary six-month period.

“Again, we were very happy at the hotel,” Querrey told Sports Illustrated in an interview. “We were distancing ourselves. We weren’t around anyone, we were staying in the room, and never had a complaint, or a problem.

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“So I said, ‘Please try to have the doctors come the next morning at 10 a.m., not Sunday night at 10 p.m.’ The tour finally agreed to that, and because we were still going to get help from the tour, the embassy.

“But I kinda had to make a decision between 10 p.m. and 10 a.m. the next day. I had my wife there, and I had my baby there, and as a human decision, I was like, ‘Hey, I don’t feel comfortable with this.’ So we made the decision to charter a plane and leave.”

Querrey said he was ready to quarantine in the tournament hotel for two weeks after testing positive but after two days he was told he was no longer welcome at the hotel and doctors would determine if they had to quarantine in a hospital instead.

The American said lack of clarity made it necessary for him, his wife, and their seven-month-old son to fly to London and quarantine at an Airbnb.

“I felt as a father and a husband there’s a human element to this, and I had to do what I feel like is right,” he said, adding that the flight cost him about $40,000 plus and he had to also pay for the stay in London for two weeks.

“I wasn’t willing to let our family go to a hospital for a minimum of two weeks where we were at.” Querrey stated he was “frustrated” with the media coverage of the incident and added: “It made it seem like I just got COVID and bounced. I didn’t feel how it was portrayed after that was fair.”

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