Browns’ Watson suspended 11 games, fined $5 million

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson will be suspended for the first 11 games of the 2022 regular season and fined $5 million for violations of the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy, the league announced Thursday.

The 26-year-old’s suspension will take effect at the final roster cutdown(08/30), and Watson will be eligible for reinstatement on November 28 and return in Week 13 against his former team, the Houston Texans. 

In addition, according to the NFL, Watson will promptly undergo a professional evaluation by behavioral experts and will follow their treatment program.

According to the league, the announcement comes after an agreement reached by the NFL and the NFLPA and concludes the disciplinary process.

On August 1, NFL Disciplinary Officer and former Judge Sue L. Robinson determined that Watson had violated the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy for alleged sexual misconduct during massage sessions and suspended Watson for six games with no fine, but the league appealed the decision, and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell appointed former New Jersey Attorney General Peter C. Harvey to hear the case.

“Deshaun has committed to doing the hard work on himself that is necessary for his return to the NFL,” Goodell stated via a press release from the league. “This settlement requires compliance with a professional evaluation and treatment plan, a significant fine, and a more substantial suspension. We are grateful to Judge Robinson and Peter Harvey for their efforts in addressing these matters, which laid the foundation for reaching this conclusion.”.

Twenty-five women filed civil lawsuits accusing Watson of sexual misconduct that allegedly took place during massage sessions from March 2020 to March 2021. One woman dropped her case, and Watson has settled with 23 of the 24 women. In addition, the Houston Texans, recently settled with 30 women concerning allegations that the team enabled Watson’s behavior during massage sessions.

No criminal charges have been levied against Watson at this time as two grand juries in Texas declined to indict him.

In March, the Texans sent Watson and a 2024 fifth-round pick to the Cleveland Browns for a 2022 first-round pick, 2023 first-round pick, 2024 first-round pick, 2023 third-round pick, and 2024 fourth-round pick. Following the deal, he signed a five-year, fully guaranteed $230 million team with the Browns.

According to the league, Watson’s fine and contributions from the NFL and the Browns of $1 million each will create a fund of $7 million. This fund will support the work of non-profit organizations across the country that educate young people on healthy relationships, promote education and prevention of sexual misconduct and assault, support survivors and related causes.

Spurs announce 2022-23 schedule, team to play game at Alamodome

The San Antonio Spurs are a franchise in transition. Next season, the rebuild continues and begins on Oct. 19 at home against the Charlotte Hornets, the team announced Wednesday.

This is the team’s 50th anniversary season. On opening night, Spurs legend Manu Ginobili, who will be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in September, will be on hand as his jersey in the rafters of the AT&T Center will be revealed with a Hall of Fame distinction at halftime

ALAMODOME RETURN

Commemorating 50 years in San Antonio, the Spurs will be “Back Home in the Dome” and return to play a game in the Alamodome for the first time since 2002, where they will host the defending champion Golden State Warriors on Friday, Jan. 13.

San Antonio is striving to break the NBA’s all-time attendance record for a regular season game by filling the Alamodome with Silver and Black fans. The league’s current record stands at 62,046 when the Atlanta Hawks hosted the Chicago Bulls in 1998, while the configuration for this year’s Alamodome game will utilize the entire stadium and hold the capacity to reach over 65,000 fans.

Schedule notes:

San Antonio is also set to host premier home games all season long, including the Los Angeles Lakers in back-to-back home games the two days after Thanksgiving on Friday, Nov. 25 and Saturday, Nov. 26. The Spurs welcome their interstate rival the Dallas Mavericks on New Year’s Eve, and the Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics in San Antonio on Saturday, Jan. 7.

The Spurs will play three other home games away from the AT&T Center, part of the Spurs drive to deepen the team’s regional fanbase, with a game in Mexico City on Saturday, Dec. 17 against the Miami Heat, then in Austin against the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday, April 6 and the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday, April 8.

The Spurs will also hold a 2014 Championship Night on Tuesday, March 14, when San Antonio hosts the Orlando Magic.

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Mavs begin 2022-23 season in Phoenix against Suns

Last season, Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks made it to the Western Conference finals for the first time since 2011. Next season, they hope to go even further. 

The Dallas Mavericks will begin the 2022-23 NBA season on the road with a Western Conference semifinals rematch against Devin Booker and the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday, Oct. 19.

After opening the year at Phoenix, the Mavericks will return to American Airlines Center to face Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies in their home opener on Saturday, Oct. 22.

Doncic is must-see TV, and Dallas is scheduled to play 30 nationally televised games next season.

Schedule notes:

Eleven of the Mavericks’ first 16 games will be played at home while 10 of the team’s final 16 games will occur on the road. Dallas is scheduled to play a season-high 17 games during the month of December.

The Mavericks will host Stephen Curry and the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors twice in 2022-23 (Nov. 29 and March 22). LeBron James and the L.A. Lakers will also make two trips to American Airlines Center (Dec. 25 and Feb. 26), both of which will be matinee games carried exclusively by ABC. The matchup with the Lakers on Dec. 25, which is set to tip off at 1:30 p.m. CT, will mark the franchise’s third consecutive Christmas Day contest.

Reigning two-time league MVP Nikola Jokić and the Denver Nuggets (Nov. 18 and 20), Kawhi Leonard and the L.A. Clippers (Nov. 15 and Jan. 22), and Booker and the Suns (Dec. 5 and March 5) are among the other teams set to visit Dallas twice this season.

Jayson Tatum and the reigning Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics will make their lone trip to Dallas on Jan. 5, while Giannis Antetokounmpo and the 2021 NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks will make their sole visit to American Airlines Center on Dec. 9.

For the second year in a row, the Mavericks will play three five-game road trips (Jan. 8 to 15; Feb. 4 to 11; March 26 to April 2). The club’s longest homestand of the season is a six-game stretch (Feb. 24 to March 7) immediately following the All-Star break.

Dallas is slated to play 13 back-to-backs. Of those back-to-backs, six begin and end on the road, five are home-to-road and two require no travel (begin and end at home).

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76ers begin season in Boston, battle Knicks on Christmas Day

For the first time since 2019, the Philadelphia 76ers will play on Christmas Day as they travel to Madison Square Garden to battle the Knicks, the team announced Wednesday.

Philadelphia will tip off the NBA season against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden on Tuesday, Oct. 18, in what will serve as the league’s first game of the new campaign.

The 76ers will be on national television 34 times next season.   

Philly’s home opener will be against the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday, Oct. 20. In addition, Ben Simmons and the Nets come to Philly on November 22, which should be a lot of fun.

Five of its first seven games are coming against 2021-22 playoff qualifiers. The 76ers will also conclude the regular season with 12 consecutive matchups against playoff teams from the previous year.

Schedule Notes:

  • The NBA announced that no games will be played on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in an effort to focus on promoting and encouraging fans to make a plan to vote during midterm elections.

  • Philadelphia will host the defending champion Golden State Warriors on Friday, Dec. 16 (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN).

  • The 76ers will have 17 weekend games (nine Fridays, five Saturdays, three Sundays) at The Center.

  • Philadelphia is slated for 13 sets back-to-back games, four of which will come on the road in March.

  • Also in March, Philadelphia will have 12 away games, marking the most games away from The Center for a single month this season.

  • Philadelphia’s longest road trip of the season runs eight days and five games in length from Jan. 14-21. This includes games against Utah (Saturday, Jan. 14, 10 p.m. ET), the Los Angeles Lakers (Sunday, Jan. 15, 9:30 p.m. ET, NBA TV), the LA Clippers (Tuesday, Jan. 17, 10 p.m. ET, TNT), Portland (Thursday, Jan. 19, 10 p.m., ET), and Sacramento (Saturday, Jan. 21, 10 p.m. ET).

  • The 76ers’ longest homestand of 2022-23 is seven games over 15 days from Dec. 9-23. This stretch includes games against the Lakers (Friday, Dec. 9, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN), Hornets (Sunday, Dec. 11, 6 p.m. ET), Kings (Tuesday, Dec. 13, 7 p.m. ET), Warriors (Friday, Dec. 16, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN), Raptors (Monday, Dec. 19, 7 p.m. ET), Pistons (Wednesday, Dec. 21, 7 p.m. ET), and Clippers (Friday, Dec. 23, 7 p.m. ET).22-23_ScheduleRelease

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The upstart Cavs will have nine national television games in 2022-23 season

The Cleveland Cavaliers will open the 2022-23 season in Toronto on Oct. 19 against the Raptors, the team announced Wednesday.

The team will play its home opener on Sunday, Oct. 23, against the Wizards.

Cleveland, who went 44-38 last season but missed the playoffs after falling to the Nets and Hawks in the Play-In Tournament, will make nine national television appearances in the 2022-23 season.

List of national television appearances:

-Two games on TNT (Dec. 6 vs. L.A. Lakers and Feb. 2 vs. Memphis).

-Three games on ESPN (Feb. 10 at New Orleans, March 1 at Boston and March 15 vs. Philadelphia).

-Four games on NBA TV (Nov. 7 at L.A. Clippers, Dec. 26 vs. Brooklyn, March 10 at Miami and March 21 at Brooklyn).

Highlights of the home schedule:

-NBA champion Golden State Warriors on Jan. 20

-Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics on Nov. 2 and March 6.

Cleveland will also host the New Orleans Pelicans for a special Martin Luther King Jr. Day matinee game on Jan. 16.

-Additional marquee opponents coming to Cleveland only once this season include the L.A. Lakers on Dec. 6, the Dallas Mavericks on Dec. 17, the Phoenix Suns on Jan. 4, the L.A. Clippers on Jan. 29 and the Denver Nuggets on Feb. 23.

Schedule notes:

-The Cavaliers will match up against each Eastern Conference opponent four times with the exception of Washington (two home, one road), Atlanta (one home, two road), Philadelphia (two home, one road) and Brooklyn (one home, two road).Each Western Conference opponent will play the Cavaliers twice – once at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse and once on the road.

-23 home weekend dates including eight home Friday games, five home Saturday games and nine home Sunday games.

-12 sets of back-to-back games, including four road-road sets (Nov. 6-7, Nov. 27-28, Jan. 26-27 and Feb. 5-6), three road-home sets (Oct. 22-23, Feb. 10-11 and March 14-15), four home-home sets (Nov. 20-21, Dec. 9-10, Dec. 16-17 and Jan. 20-21) and one home-road set (Feb. 23-24).

-The Cavaliers will have a six-game homestand from Dec. 16-26, featuring contests versus Indiana (Dec. 16), Dallas (Dec. 17), Utah (Dec. 19), Milwaukee (Dec. 21), Toronto (Dec. 23) and Brooklyn (Dec. 26). It marks Cleveland longest homestand since six straight home games during the 2019-20 season.

-Cleveland’s longest road trip spans five games over nine days from Jan 6-14; the team also has a five-game road trip over eight days from Nov. 4-11, one four-game road trip (March 8-14), two three-game road trips (Nov. 25-29, Jan. 24-27) and six two-game road trips (Oct. 19-22, Dec. 12-14, Dec. 29-31, Feb. 5-6, March 21-23 and April 4-6).

-The Cavaliers will play games on Veterans Day (Nov. 11 at Golden State), Thanksgiving Eve (Nov. 23 vs. Portland), New Years Eve (Dec. 31 at Chicago), MLK Day (Jan. 16 vs. New Orleans) and on Easter (April 9 vs. Charlotte).

-Two matinee games at home this season – Monday, Jan. 16 vs. New Orleans (MLK Day) and Sunday, April 9 vs. Charlotte (Easter).

-The Cavaliers will play 16 games in November and January, their most in any months during the 2022-23 season. Cleveland will also play six games in October, 15 games in December, 11 games in February, 14 games in March and four games in April.

The Cavaliers will wrap up the 2022-23 regular season schedule at home against the Charlotte Hornets on April 9.

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NBA unveils schedule for 2022-23 regular season

On Wednesday, the NBA released its complete game schedule for the 2022-23 regular season.  

The 77th NBA regular season will tip off on Oct. 18, 2022, and conclude on April 9, 2023. The 2023 NBA Play-In Tournament will take place from April 11-14, followed by the start of the 2023 NBA Playoffs on April 15.

Game 1 of the 2023 NBA Finals is scheduled to be played on June 1.

Opening Night

The regular season will begin on Oct. 18 with a doubleheader on TNT. In the first game, the Philadelphia 76ers will visit the reigning Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics (7:30 p.m. ET). In the second game, the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors will receive their championship rings before hosting the Los Angeles Lakers (10 p.m. ET).

Christmas Day

Five games will be played on Christmas Day for the 15th year in a row, with ESPN or ABC televising each matchup. 

NBA on Christmas Day will tip off on ESPN as the Knicks host the 76ers (noon ET).

The next three games will air on both ESPN and ABC, with the Lakers visiting the Mavericks (2:30 p.m. ET).

The Celtics will host the Bucks in a 2022 Eastern Conference Semifinals rematch (5 p.m. ET).

The Grizzlies make their Christmas Day debut when they visit the Warriors in a 2022 Western Conference Semifinals rematch (8 p.m. ET). 

The Christmas Day schedule will conclude with the Nuggets meeting the Suns in Denver on ESPN (10:30 p.m. ET).

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

TNT will present a doubleheader as part of Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 16. In the first game, the Atlanta Hawks will host the Heat in a rematch of a 2022 Eastern Conference First Round series (3:30 p.m. ET). In the second game, the teams with the two best records in the 2021-22 regular season will meet when the Suns (NBA-best 64-18 last season) visit the Grizzlies (56-26 last season) at 6 p.m. ET, marking Memphis’ 21st annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration Game.

NBA TV will also televise two games on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, with the Celtics visiting the Charlotte Hornets (1 p.m. ET) and the Lakers hosting the Houston Rockets (10:30 p.m. ET).

Election Day

As Election Day approaches, the NBA and its teams will continue to encourage fans to make a plan to vote and participate in the civic process. New this season, all 30 teams will play on Monday, Nov. 7, on the day before Election Day, when the NBA will help promote voter participation.

NBA Rivals Week

Classic and budding rivalries between teams and players will take center stage for NBA Rivals Week during the week of Jan. 23. A new highlight of the regular-season schedule, NBA Rivals Week, will feature 11 nationally televised games across four networks over five days from Jan. 24–28. Rivalries will be the focus of all nine games across TNT, ESPN, and ABC that week, in addition to two games on NBA TV.

The complete game and broadcast schedule for NBA Rivals Week, which will include four rematches from the 2022 NBA Playoffs, is available here.

2022 NBA Finals Rematches

The Warriors and Celtics will meet for the first time since the 2022 NBA Finals on Dec. 10 in San Francisco on ABC (8:30 p.m. ET), the first of seven regular-season games on Saturday nights at 8:30 p.m. ET on ABC.

The second and final regular-season matchup between the two defending conference champions will occur on Jan. 19 in Boston on TNT (7:30 p.m. ET).

Final Day of Regular Season

All 30 teams will play on the final day of the regular season(April 9). The seven games between Eastern Conference teams and the one interconference game (Rockets at Washington Wizards) will begin at 1 p.m. ET, and the seven games between Western Conference teams will start at 3:30 p.m. ET. ESPN will televise a doubleheader, with the matchups to be determined at a later date.

Schedule Highlights

All 30 teams are scheduled to make at least one appearance on TNT or ESPN in the 2022-23 regular season. The NBA on TNT, ESPN, ABC, and NBA TV will present flexible scheduling throughout the regular season to provide the most compelling matchups to a national audience.

The 2023 NBA All-Star weekend will be Feb. 17-19 in Salt Lake City.

The complete schedule is available below:

2022-23-NBA-Schedule-By-Date-8-17-22

 

Wilder-Helenius, Plant-Dirrell set for 10/15 at Barclays Center(FOX PPV)

Former WBC Heavyweight World Champion and boxing superstar Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder will take on top-rated Robert “The Nordic Nightmare” Helenius in an explosive 12-round WBC Heavyweight Title Eliminator between ferocious punchers in the main event of a FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View Saturday, Oct. 15 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn in a Premier Boxing Champions event.

In the co-feature, former IBF Super Middleweight Champion Caleb “Sweethands” Plant faces two-time WBC Super Middleweight Champion Anthony “The Dog” Dirrell in a highly anticipated 12-round WBC Super Middleweight Title Eliminator between 168-pound rivals. Two additional pay-per-view undercard bouts will be announced to round out the action-packed four-fight lineup presented by PBC.

One of the greatest knockout artists in boxing history, Wilder (42-2-1, 41 KOs) is on a mission to become a two-time world heavyweight champion following a first reign that included 10 title defenses, a feat accomplished by only seven heavyweights in boxing history. The “Bronze Bomber” now returns to Barclays Center, a venue where he has fought four times and thrilled the crowd with some of his most spectacular knockouts. The 36-year-old slugger from Tuscaloosa, Alabama earned his moniker by winning bronze at the 2008 Olympics. He rejuvenated the heavyweight division when he captured the WBC belt in January 2015, becoming one of boxing’s biggest stars with an all-time heavyweight best 91.1% knockout percentage and a captivating personality to match. Coming off an epic trilogy with Tyson Fury, Wilder remains must-see television and one of the greatest fighters of this era.

“It’s been a long journey for me and as of today it continues. I thought so many times about whether I should stay out of the business or come back,’’ said Wilder. “Once I got my statue in my hometown and saw so many people arrive and celebrate with me and my family, to see all the emotions, grown men crying in front of their children and saying he is a real true king, made me feel like my job is not done. So, here I am once again, looking forward to returning to the ring. I am looking forward to coming to Barclays Center, a place where I have had my most devastating knockouts and a place I consider my second home. So where all my Bombzquad people at? It’s time to put on your war gear. And let’s go to work, baby. Bombzquad is back!”

Helenius (30-3, 19 KOs) stamped himself as one of the world’s best heavyweights with consecutive stoppage wins over the previously unbeaten Adam Kownacki, including an October 2021 sixth-round TKO win over Kownacki in Helenius’ last outing. Born in Sweden and fighting out of Mariehamn, Finland, Helenius established himself as one of Europe’s top heavyweights prior to making his U.S. debut in 2019. The 38-year-old “Nordic Nightmare” has won six of his last seven bouts.

“It’s great to be back at Barclays Center in an even bigger fight than my last one. I’ve been waiting for this opportunity for a long time and I’m going to be ready,’’ said Helenius. “I’m going to produce an even bigger upset than I did with Kownacki. I’m going for the belt, so this is a fight to prepare me to achieve that goal. I can only become the best heavyweight in the world by beating the best and that’s what I intend to do on October 15.’’

The 30-year-old Plant (21-1, 12 KOs) used his sublime boxing skills to rise through the ranks of the super middleweight division. In his first world championship fight, the Ashland City, Tennessee-native Plant, who now lives and trains in Las Vegas, took the fight to veteran Jose Uzcategui and won the title in a hard-fought unanimous decision in 2019. Plant dropped the first match of his career in his last fight, losing to Canelo Alvarez in an undisputed super middleweight championship fight on November 6. He will look to rebound and get back on the world title track in a grudge match against his rival, Dirrell.

“I’m looking forward to fighting at Barclays Center for the first time,” said Plant. “I know the fight fans in Brooklyn are going to come out for this card. I’m feeling good and I’ve been in the gym working hard since my last fight. I’m going to put on an excellent performance and retire this guy.”

Dirrell (34-2, 25 KOs) is a two-time super middleweight world champion who won one of the toughest battles of his life when he beat non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2008. The 37-year-old from Flint, Michigan won his first world title with a unanimous decision victory over Sakio Bika in 2014. He lost the title the next year via majority decision to Badou Jack. He would have to wait four years for another opportunity but successfully regained it with a technical split-decision over Avni Yildirim. He lost the title again, this time on a ninth-round TKO to David Benavidez in 2019. Dirrell is coming off of a fourth-round KO victory over Marcos Hernandez in his most recent match on November 6.

“I’m real excited to be back in the ring on October 15,” said Dirrell. “I’m especially excited to be fighting at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. This is a special place for me. I fought Sakio Bika for a world title at this same venue, so I’m happy to be back. This fight means even more to me because it’s one day after my birthday, which is October 14. So I’m looking forward to giving the fans a great show, getting the big victory on FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View and then celebrating it all after.”

Jets place Becton on IR, sign Brown, Wilson has surgery

On Tuesday, the New York Jets placed RT Mekhi Becton on injured reserve after he sustained a season-ending right knee injury on August 8. The 23-year-old Becton injured the same knee in 2021, which caused him to miss 16 games. However, this is a different injury. The No. 11 overall pick out of Louisville was Joe Douglas’ first draft pick as general manager of the team in 2020.

The day before, New York officially signed five-time Pro Bowl LT Duane Brown. The 15-year veteran was around the team during the Green & White practice last Saturday night, and after the injury to Becton, the Jets were expected to sign Brown.

According to reports, it’s a two-year, $22 million deal.

Last season, the 36-year-old had a Pro Bowl season with the Seahawks. While in Seattle, Brown played with current Jets RT George Fant. 

Obviously, losing Becton was a big blow to the Jets, but being able to add a Pro-Bowl left tackle in Brown is a solid signing for the team.

In other Jets news, according to ESPN’s Rich Cimini, quarterback Zach Wilson’s arthroscopic knee surgery was deemed a success. There were no surprises from the original diagnosis. New York reportedly won’t put him on the field until he’s completely healthy.

Wilson hurt his knee while scrambling against the Eagles in the team’s first preseason game.  When Wilson’s injury was announced, he was expected to be out 2-4 weeks, so veteran quarterback Joe Flacco will probably be the starter Week 1 for the Jets against his former team, the Baltimore Ravens.

New York returns to the practice field on Thursday as they prepare for their Monday night showdown against the Atlanta Falcons at MetLife Stadium.

Bucs’ Bowles on Nassib: ‘He has a lot of versatility, he brings a lot of energy, brings a lot of toughness’

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have signed OLB/DE Carl Nassib, the team announced Tuesday. 

According to reports, it’s a one-year deal.

“Carl’s tough in the run,” Buccaneers head coach Todd Bowles said. “When he played, when he was here with us, he’s a very good pass-rusher on the outside, and he can also play inside in some nickel situations. He has a lot of versatility, he brings a lot of energy, brings a lot of toughness, and he understands the system. He was comfortable in it. We look forward to him coming here.”

Nassib, who became the first openly active gay player in NFL history in 2021, had 1.5 sacks for the Raiders last season. Nassib spent two seasons with Las Vegas. 

The 29-year-old returns to Tampa Bay for his second stint with the Buccaneers after previously spending two seasons with the team from 2018-19. In that time, Nassib put forth the two most productive seasons of his NFL career, totaling 63 tackles (20 for loss), 25 quarterback hits, 12.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, two passes defensed, and one fumble recovery.

The seven-year veteran entered the league as a third-round selection (No. 65 overall) of the Cleveland Browns in the 2016 NFL Draft. 

Notes: 

Buccaneers made the following moves to reach the 85-player roster limit ahead of Tuesday’s deadline:

Released

DB                   Ross Cockrell

Waived

TE                   Ben Beise

OL                   Curtis Blackwell

WR                  Kameron Brown

Waived (Injured)

OLB                 JoJo Ozougwu

OL                   Jonathan Hubbard

Lomachenko looking to be undisputed at 135

Vasiliy Lomachenko, the three-weight world champion and former pound-for-pound king, arrived at Los Angeles International Airport earlier this afternoon. Lomachenko (16-2, 11 KOs), who spent several months serving with the Belgorod-Dnestrovsky Territorial Defense Battalion in his native Ukraine, is ready to resume his boxing career and will return to the ring later this year against a to-be-determined opponent.

“I pray every day for Ukraine, for the people…. and stop the war. When I came back to Ukraine, I believe it was the second day of war. Your mind changes because you see a different life. It’s a different life. Nobody knows what happened on this day. It’s very bad. It’s very bad for the world,” Lomachenko said. “I’ve prepared for this moment, and I need this chance. I need this fight… undisputed. Undisputed world champion.”

A former featherweight, junior lightweight and unified lightweight champion, Lomachenko regained his career momentum in 2021 with dominant victories over Masayoshi Nakatani and Richard Commey.

The 34-year-old will begin training camp at his Southern California residence with an eye on his ultimate goal of ruling the lightweight division. In the eight months since his points win over Commey, 23-year-old prodigy Devin “The Dream” Haney toppled George Kambosos Jr. to become the undisputed king.