Billy Joe Saunders vacates WBO title to focus on clearing his name

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

Billy Joe Saunders surrenders world title amid plans to sue over licence decision

The Massachusetts State Athletic Commission refused to give Saunders a licence to box at the TD Garden in Boston on 20 October after the WBO middleweight champion tested positive for the banned stimulant oxilofrine.

Saunders had been scheduled to face Demetrius Andrade in Boston for a middleweight title defense but now, that fight will no longer take place.

Warren says it was "not a failed test" because the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission (MSAC) - which is responsible for issuing a licence to fight in Boston - did not follow Wada's rules.

The 29-year-old had meant to challenge moves to strip him of his belt but has now vacated the title ahead of a legal battle to clear his name over a positive test for the stimulant oxilofrine.

Billy Joe Saunders underwent testing by both WADA and VADA.

Oxilofrine is only banned in competition in the rules of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and UK Anti-Doping (UKAD), meaning that fighters are only in breach of regulations if it is found in their system on the day of a fight. WADA, as mandated by the British Boxing Board of Control and, voluntarily, VADA at the request of the Promoter, not the MSAC.

"The VADA test was conducted "out of competition". Saunders, who attended the commission meeting via telephone and cursed at the commissioners following the ruling, was scheduled to make his fourth defense against mandatory challenger Demetrius Andrade on October 20 at TD Garden in Boston. "Further, the MSAC refused to properly consider submissions from Billy Joe's representative despite him being present at the hearing".

Billy Joe Saunders has relinquished his WBO middleweight title rather than launch an appeal with the organisation to keep it.

Warren said: 'I have read comments that MSAC had no choice as a failed test is a failed test however these comments are, with respect, misleading and ignorant of the fact the MSAC apply the WADA code.

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.

I would also question why a hearing couldn't be convened until 11 days before the fight was due to take place, leaving little or no time for a satisfactory resolution to be reached.

Saunders had a rough time in recent months.

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