Published: Sun, October 14, 2018
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Billy Joe Saunders vacates WBO title to focus on clearing his name

Billy Joe Saunders vacates WBO title to focus on clearing his name

His scheduled title defense in Boston against Andrade was canceled on Tuesday when the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission voted to deny Saunders a license.

"Boo Boo" Andrade (25-0 16KOs) must reset his radar from training for the tricky southpaw Saunders to the big-hitting African, and Kautondokwa has inspiration close to home in his camp for his first World title fight.

Warren says it was "not a failed test" because the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission (MSAC) - which is responsible for issuing a licence to fight in Boston - did not follow Wada's rules.

Francisco "Paco" Valcarcel, the WBO's president, told BoxingScene.com of Saunders' decision Thursday and confirmed that the WBO's 160-pound title is now vacant.

Billy Joe Saunders underwent testing by both WADA and VADA.

The MASC responded to the VADA result after a voluntary test recorded an adverse finding for oxilofrine, a stimulant that is only banned in competition by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and UK Anti-Doping (UKAD). WADA, as mandated by the British Boxing Board of Control.

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"The VADA test was conducted "out of competition".

Saunders is now likely to be stripped of his WBO world middleweight title - which he has held since defeating Andy Lee in December 2015 - and Namibian Walter Kautondokwa is set to be installed as Andrade's substitute on 20 October at Boston's TD Garden. The substance they found in their test is prohibited by them, but under WADA it is allowed out of competition, which is set up until the day before the fight. "Further, the MSAC refused to properly consider submissions from Billy Joe's representative despite him being present at the hearing".

But Saunders' promoter, Frank Warren, has revealed that the 29-year-old will appeal the MSAC decision and take his lawsuit to the Supreme Court.

"It was a nasal spray!"

I would also question why a hearing couldn't be convened until 11 days before the fight was due to take place, leaving little or no time for a satisfactory resolution to be reached. This episode is the latest in a string of controversies for Saunders, who was fined £100,000 by the British Boxing Board of Control last month after a video surfaced of him asking a woman to perform a sex act on a passer-by in exchange for drugs.

Kautondokwa (17-0 16KOs) has replaced Billy Joe Saunders in the bout with the unbeaten former Super-Welterweight World ruler, and "The Executioner" is full of belief that he can add to his formidable knockout record in MA having already been in camp.

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