Billy Joe Saunders set to be stripped of middleweight title after failed drug test

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Billy Joe Saunders has been denied a license by the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission and will likely be stripped of the WBO middleweight championship after failing a voluntary drug test prior to his forthcoming title defence against Demetrius Andrade.

Saunders, who failed a screening for the banned performance-enhancing stimulant oxilofrine conducted by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (Vada), had been scheduled to face Andrade, a two-time junior middleweight belt-holder and the WBO’s mandatory challenger, in the main event of a Matchroom Boxing card on 20 October at Boston’s TD Garden.

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.

Saunders (26-0, 12 KOs), who was scheduled to make his fourth defence of the middleweight title he captured from Andy Lee in December 2015, said in a statement the negative test was a result of using “a common decongestant nasal spray”.

The Matchroom Boxing card, set to be broadcast on DAZN, will also feature Ireland’s Katie Taylor defending her unified women’s lightweight belts against Brooklyn’s Cindy Serrano.

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