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Billy Joe Saunders relinquishes WBO world middleweight title after being denied license

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The Massachusetts State Athletic Commission will not allow him to defend the belt against Demetrius Andrade

Billy Joe Saunders has relinquished his WBO world middleweight title after he was denied a license to defend the belt against Demetrius Andrade.

The Massachusetts State Athletic Commission refused to sanction the fight after the Briton failed a voluntary drug test for the banned performance-enhancing stimulant oxilofrine.

Saunders has relinquished the belt

Saunders has relinquished the belt

His promotor, Frank Warren, claims it was not a failed test because it was taken out of competition.

In a statement, Warren said: “Because of the mental anguish brought about by this case and out of respect for the WBO, Billy Joe will with a heavy heart relinquish his world title, whilst this issue is in the process of being resolved.”

Oxilofrine, which Saunders insists was in his system due to a nasal spray, is not on the WADA list of banned substances which the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission follow.

Frank Warren is appalled at the situation

Frank Warren is appalled at the situation

However, the 29-year-old signed up to the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) and they do prohibit the substance.

Saunders will miss out on a huge £1.75m payday after the bout, scheduled for October 20th, was cancelled – and Warren told talkSPORT he plans to sue.

Andrade will now fight Walter Kautondokwa for the vacant WBO belt.

Credit: talkSPORT

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