Published: Fri, October 12, 2018
Sports | By Johanna Francis

Saunders could lose belt after licence is denied

Saunders could lose belt after licence is denied

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 is likely to be stripped of the championship, the Indepdendent reported, although the WBO announced only that it would consider its options.

"It is unfortunate that a boxer as talented as Saunders is facing this controversy and will not be able to defend the title", said WBO President Francisco Valcarcel Mulero.

Warren insisted last month that the British Boxing Board of Control had "confirmed that Mr Saunders is not in breach of BBBofC or UKAD anti-doping regulations and is therefore in good standing and is licensed to box and defend his world title on 20 October".

However, the test was carried out by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association, which does not differentiate between in-competition and out-of-competition substances.

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Instead, the 29-year-old former Olympian will lose out on a seven-figure payday and the show will proceed as Andrade will face Walter Kautondokwa for the organisation's vacant interim title at 160lbs.

So it looks like the show will go on with Andrade facing WBO #2 rated Walter Kautondokwa (17-0, 16 KOs) for the vacant interim title and if Saunders is stripped the victor would get the full belt.

Andrade (25-0, 16 KOs) will compete for the first time in 2018.

This article has been updated with statements by the WBO.

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