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Billy Joe Saunders fails VADA test, Andrade fight in jeopardy

Billy Joe Saunders Demetrius Andrade Saunders vs. Andrade

By Scott Gilfoid: WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders has reportedly failed a Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) drug test for the substance oxilofrine, according to Dan Rafael of ESPN, which puts his October 20 defense against unbeaten American talent Demetrius Andrade in serious jeopardy. The substance oxilofrine is a stimulant.

It’s unknown why Saunders would test positive for this substance. Whatever the case, Saunders’ fight against former WBA/WBO junior middleweight champion Andrade 25-0, 16 KOs) is now in jeopardy of being canceled. Saunders was supposed to be fighting Andrade, 30, at the TD Garden, in Boston, Mass. The positive test for Saunders could mean that he might be stripped of his World Boxing Organization 160 pound title by the WBO. This would end Saunders’ mostly uneventful three-year reign as the WBO champion, which has seen him make just three defenses of his title against Arur Akavov, Willie Monroe Jr. and David Lemieux. Saunders should have had twice as many defenses during that time period, but he’s suffered frequent injuries that have erased a number of fights.

Here’s a comment from David Lemieux on social media about Saunder’ positive VADA drug test:

“U dirty cheating scumbag, you’re not only a miserable human being but you’re also a dirty cheap cheating rotten p—k #billyjoesaunders u should be banned from boxing.”

As you can see, Lemieux wants Saunders to be banned from the sport for good. Oh well, another day in boxing.

In some ways, Saunders’ positive test for oxilofrine could be a helpful thing for his career, because he might not have to face Andrade. That’s a fight that Saunders could very well lose. However, if Saunders is stripped of his WBO title, then he’s off the hook and doesn’t have to face Andrade. In other words, problem solved. The WBO will likely have Andrade face the next available contender in their top 15 rankings that is willing to fight him for the vacant title if they go ahead and strip the 29-year-old Saunders of his title. Andrade would then be facing potentially one of these fighters: Walter Kautondokwo, Jack Culcay or David Lemieux.

Saunders came down pretty hard on Saul Canelo Alvarez when he tested positive twice for the banned substance clenbuterol last February while training for his rematch with Gennady Golovkin. It’s obviously not a good look that Saunders has now tested positive for a banned substance himself. If Saunders loses his WBO title, he could miss out on ever facing the likes of Golovkin, who isn’t going to bother facing him once he no longer has the WBO title in his possession. The only reason GGG was interested in facing Saunders in the first place is because he was the WBO 160 pound champion. Saunders isn’t popular in the U.S or the UK, and he lacks the fan-pleasing style that would make appealing to Golovkin as an opponent once he’s stripped of his WBO title. Depending on how far Saunders is knocked down in the rankings if/when he’s stripped of his WBO title, it could take him ages before he gets ranked high enough to become a mandatory challenger to get a title shot against one of the champions at middleweight. I hate to say it, but I can’t see any of the middleweight champions giving Saunders a title shot in a voluntary defense. As such, Saunders will need to become a mandatory challenger before he gets a title shot.

Here’s a statement from Saunders about his positive drug test:

Following reports of an adverse analytical finding in a test carried out by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (“VADA”) on WBO World Middleweight Champion, Billy Joe Saunders, we can confirm that the product concerned is permitted to be used ‘Out of Competition’ by United Kingdom Anti-Doping (“UKAD”) in line with the regulations of the World Anti-Doping Agency (“WADA”).

For the avoidance of doubt, the product in question was a common decongestant nasal spray.

The British Boxing Board of Control (“BBBofC”) under whose jurisdiction Billy Joe Saunders is licensed are affiliated only to UKAD/WADA.

Today the BBBofC have 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 October 20th.

Mr. Saunders has been tested a number of times in 2018, all negative, his last out of competition test by UKAD was on 24th September 2018

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