Billy Joe Saunders to give up WBO title to challenge licence decision

Tanya Simon
October 14, 2018

Billy Joe Saunders has relinquished his WBO middleweight title rather than launch an appeal with the organisation to keep it. Warren has immediately jumped to the defence of his fighter insisting the stimulant oxilofrine - claimed to be from a nasal spray - is "perfectly legal" out of competition and that Saunders has subsequently tested clean several times since. If Saunders is relieved of his title, the contest will be contesting the vacant title of the WBO at middleweight pending the WBO's decision. Saunders' team are arguing that oxilofrine is only listed by WADA as a banned substance when it is found up within a day of competition.

"But the test was done by VADA". The Voluntary Ant-Doping Agency (VADA) is an independent, intermediary contractor that doesn't perform testing or any protocol of testing.

'To put it as simply as possible the timing of the test being out of competition and the substance detected only being prohibited in competition under the WADA list means it was not a failed test. It was for MSAC to then apply the WADA code to those results which they failed to do properly.

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.

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.

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"Cases such as these can take a considerable time to be heard and adjudicated on and, given the damaging effect these accusations of wrongdoing have had on Billy Joe, he is in no position to continue in his profession until such a time as his name has been cleared". They are recognised by the WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO and are the body that carry out Anti-Doping in the United Kingdom and manage the same exclusively for the British Boxing Board of Control.

"B.J. Saunders has voluntarily vacated the WBO middleweight title and publicly apologized for his violation of the Massachusetts Athletic Commission's anti-doping regulations", WBO president Francisco "Paco" Valcarcel said.

Valcarcel added that Saunders "probably will be suspended for six months".

"VADA bans everything. They are not recognized in Great Britain, they are not recognized by UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) and they are not recognized by the British Boxing Board of Control", Warren said regarding why Saunders was utilizing the nasal spray less than two weeks prior to fight night.

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