Billy Joe Saunders to sue after title defence is called off

Paola Ditto
Ottobre 14, 2018

Billy Joe Saunders has relinquished his WBO middleweight world title and plans to sue the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission over the doping saga that has left him facing a potential six-month ban.

That test, which was conducted by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association, prompted the MSAC to deny Saunders a licence, costing him a £1.7m payday for his proposed title defence against Dimitrius Andrade in Boston on October 20.

On Tuesday, the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission voted to deny Saunders a license and the highly anticipated showdown was canceled.

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.

The aforementioned Andrade will now face off against Walter Kautondonkwa for the vacant middleweight strap in Saunders' place.

Saunders and Andrade contracted with VADA to oversee a testing program for their fight.

Saunders' promoter Frank Warren argued that the substance is a "common decongestant nasal spray" and is permitted out of competition by UK Anti-Doping (Ukad). WADA, as mandated by the British Boxing Board of Control.

"Billy Joe will, with a heavy heart, relinquish his world title while this issue is being resolved", Warren said in a statement on his official website.

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

The promoter insists it was "not a failed test" because the MSAC, which oversees licencing in Boston, did not follow WADA's rules.

Legal proceedings may then be issued against the MSAC following the Superior Court hearing.

Whilst the above situation is currently ongoing, Demetrius Andrade will now contest an interim WBO middleweight title against Walter Kautondokwa on the 20th of October in MA.

It's been a month to forget for Saunders, who was fined £100,000 by the British Boxing Board of Control after a video emerged on social media of the 29-year-old jokingly offering a woman drugs, asking her to perform a sex act on his friend and ordering her to punch a passer-by.

Kautondokwa (17-0 16KOs), who has replaced Billy Joe Saunders in the middleweight bout, is confident that he can add to his formidable knockout record in MA.

When Kautondokwa got the call about possibly taking on Andrade, he had already been training even though a fight wasn't on the horizon.

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