Billy Joe Saunders vacates 160-pound title after positive doping test

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Confronted with the chance of being stripped of his middleweight world title for testing optimistic for a banned performance-enhancing drug, Billy Joe Saunders on Thursday vacated the 160-pound belt.

On Tuesday, the Massachusetts State Athletic Fee rejected Saunders’ software for a boxing license due to the optimistic take a look at for the highly effective banned stimulant oxilofrine. Saunders, who attended the fee assembly by way of phone and cursed on the commissioners following the ruling, was scheduled to make his fourth protection towards obligatory challenger Demetrius Andrade on Oct. 20 at TD Backyard in Boston.

England’s Saunders not solely not has a world title, however the scenario value him the $2.three million purse he was as a result of earn towards former two-time junior middleweight titlist Andrade.

Andrade will as a substitute face Walter Kautondokwa of Namibia for the vacant title. As quickly as Saunders’ failed Voluntary Anti-Doping Affiliation urine take a look at from Aug. 30 got here to gentle on Sept. 26, Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn, who represents Andrade, made a take care of Kautondokwa to be on standby if Saunders could not battle.

“B.J. Saunders has voluntarily vacated the WBO middleweight title, and publicly apologized for his violation of the Massachusetts Athletic Fee’s anti-doping laws,” WBO president Francisco “Paco” Valcarcel stated. “Subsequently, the conflict between Demetrius Andrade and Walter Kautondonkwa scheduled for Oct. 20 will now be for the vacant world crown.

“Additionally, I’ll suggest to the WBO govt committee that Saunders receives a six-month suspension for his transgression. However he has to do extra. He has to work with the children there [in England] on the boys’ membership, do neighborhood service, after which he needs to be examined randomly and be detrimental the entire time. He wants a suggestion from the British Boxing Board of Management [to have the suspension lifted], and if he does all that we’re keen to place him again within the rankings after his suspension.”

Valcarcel stated Saunders despatched the WBO a letter to vacate the title and stated that “he does not have time to enchantment and for that cause he relinquished the title.” Saunders might have gone by means of the WBO’s appeals course of, however based mostly on the sanctioning physique’s typical response to comparable incidents, he would have been stripped.

“He had the best to current all of the proof, however on the finish he needed to face the optimistic take a look at,” Valcarcel stated.

Saunders and Andrade contracted with VADA to supervise a testing program for his or her battle. After the pattern from Saunders (26-Zero, 12 KOs), 29, a 2008 Olympian, got here again optimistic, he stated it was as a result of he used “a typical decongestant nasal spray.”

Rhode Island’s Andrade (25-Zero, 16 KOs), a 30-year-old southpaw and 2008 U.S. Olympian, will go from going through Saunders, a slick left-handed fighter not recognized for his energy, to going through 33-year-old unknown Kautondokwa (17-Zero, 16 KOs), who has had 16 of his fights in Namibia and one in Ghana, and by no means confronted a notable opponent.

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