Usyk beats Joshua to retain heavyweight titles

David Warner has ended his nine-year hiatus from the Big Bash League (BBL) after signing a two-year deal with Sydney Thunder.

The 35-year-old Australia opener had been linked to the new International League T20 (ILT20) in the United Arab Emirates which, along with another new competition in South Africa, will go head-to-head with the BBL early next year.

Warner will bring his star power to the Sydney Thunder at the conclusion of the test series against South Africa in early January and could play as many as five matches, the team said in a news release on Sunday.

“I’m really excited to get back to the Big Bash with the club where I started,” said Warner, who played one game for the Thunder in each of the first and third seasons of BBL.

The Thunder said they had not yet appointed a new captain for the season after the departure of Usman Khawaja to the Brisbane Heat.

Although Warner would be a natural choice, he is currently ineligible under the terms of the lifetime ban from leadership positions in Australian cricket imposed on him for his part in the 2018 Newlands ball-tampering scandal.

The 12th edition of the BBL will run from December 13 to February 4.

Usyk beats Joshua, keeps heavyweight belts

Ukraine’s Oleksandr Usyk defeated Britain’s Anthony Joshua on a surprise split points decision after scheduled 12 rounds to retain his WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO world heavyweight boxing belts in Jeddah on Sunday.

The fight in Saudi Arabia was a rematch of the one in London in September, which Usyk won on a unanimous decision to take the belts from Joshua.

One judge scored Sunday’s fight at the King Abdullah Sports City Arena 115-113 to Joshua, with the other two deciding 115-113 and 116-112 to Usyk.

Usyk started as the favorite after outclassing Joshua in the first fight in London in September last year.

The victory took the 35-year-old’s professional record to 20 fights undefeated while Joshua, 32, suffered the third defeat of his career.

Six months ago, he was patrolling the streets of Kyiv with an automatic rifle and defending Ukraine from the invading Russians.

Modric helps Madrid get over Celta Vigo

Luka Modric scored a beautiful goal and set up another to help Real Madrid beat Celta Vigo 4-1 for its second consecutive win to start the La Liga.

Modric’s performance was worthy of applause even by Celta fans when the veteran was substituted in the second half.

Karim Benzema, Vinícius Júnior and Federico Valverde also scored as Madrid comfortably followed up its come-from-behind win at promoted Almería in the opener.

It was Madrid’s first game since losing Casemiro, the trusted holding midfielder who had been one of the defensive anchors of the Spanish powerhouse.

Without the Brazilian, Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti set up the midfield with Eduardo Camavinga, newly signed Aurélien Tchouaméni and Modric, who had not started against Almería.

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