Billy Joe Saunders has been refused a boxing license by the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission to defend his WBO middleweight title against challenger Demetrius Andrade.
The fight had been due to take place on October 20 in Boston, but has now been scrapped, and quite likely the WBO could strip him of his world middleweight title. The Matchroom USA event will still place with Northern Irishman James Tennyson challenging IBF World super-featherweight champion Tevin Farmer and 'Boo Boo' Andrade now fighting stand-in opponent Walter Kautondokwa for the interim WBO middleweight belt.
Saunders returned an adverse finding in a Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (Vada) test in August. His promoter, Frank Warren, said that the substance — the stimulant stimulant oxilofrine — was a “common decongestant nasal spray”.
Under World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) and UK Anti-Doping (Ukad) rules, oxilofrine is only banned in competition, meaning a fighter is only in breach of rules if the substance is detected in his system on the day of the contest, however it is prohibited at all times by Vada, resulting in the Massachusetts Commission therefore denying him a licence to fight.
It's not been a great time of late for Saunders who was fined £100k by the British Boxing Board of Control for misconduct after a video was shared online in which the fighter offers a woman £150 worth of drugs to perform a sex act. Saunders later apologised for the video and described it as “banter gone wrong”.
The North London boxer has said he will appeal the Commission decision and the WBO decision.