WBO champion Saunders refused licence for fight in Boston in the wake of failed doping test

Billy Joe Saunders was due to fight Demetrius Andrade on 20 October.

WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders.
WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders.
Image: PA Wire/PA Images

BILLY JOE SAUNDERS could be set to lose his WBO middleweight title after being refused a licence to fight Demetrius Andrade on 20 October.

The Massachusetts State Athletic Commission voted yesterday against granting the English boxer a licence following a failed doping test on 30 August.

Saunders was due meet Andrade at Boston’s TD Garden in the fourth defence of the world title he claimed in 2015.

In September it was confirmed that Saunders had tested positive for the banned substance oxilofrine following a voluntary anti-doping association drug test.

Saunders had insisted he is ‘a clean fighter to the bone’, while his promoter Frank Warren said the substance was in a ‘common decongestant nasal spray’.

In the same month Saunders was fined £100,000 and given a severe reprimand by the British Boxing Board of Control following a misconduct hearing regarding his role in an online video that was described by police as ‘sickening’.

“It is unfortunate that a boxer as talented as Saunders is facing this controversy and will not be able to defend the title,” said WBO President Francisco Valcarcel Mulero.

“The WBO will examine the situation with due diligence and proceed according to its ‘Rules & Regulations’ decide which is the proper course of action”.

Saunders has the right the appeal the decision in order to retain his title belt. 

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Fintan O'Toole

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