Billy Joe Saunders likely to be stripped of WBO middleweight title
Billy Joe Saunders will no longer be defending his title against Demetrius Andrade in Boston.
Saunders was set to put his belt and undefeated record on the line against mandatory challenger, Andrade, but the fight is off after the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission denied Saunders a licence following his failed drug test for the banned stimulant oxilofrine.
Saunders' promoter, Frank Warren, last week insisted that the WBO middleweight champion would still be fighting in the main event of the Matchroom Boxing card on October 20 at Boston's TD Garden after blaming a "common decongestant nasal spray" for the failed drug test.
But it now looks likely that the WBO will strip Saunders of his 160lbs belt, with Andrade set to meet Walter Kautondokwa for the vacant interim title instead.
ESPN report that Saunders will miss out on $2.3 million following the cancellation of the bout.
Saunders listened to the MSAC hearing over telephone and responded angrily to the denial of a licence and while he will probably appeal the decision, it remains most likely that he will be stripped of the title he has held since 2015.
"Once you sign a contract to fight you have to comply with the contract. He didn't comply with the rules and regulations and so he wasn't licensed," WBO president Francisco Valcarcel told ESPN. "It's something he created, something he did. It wasn't because of something that happened. But we have to give him due process."
Last month, Saunders 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.