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Billy Joe Saunders vacates WBO title

Billy Joe Saunders Demetrius Andrade

By Trevor McIntyre: Billy Joe Saunders (26-0, 12 KOs) has reportedly vacated his WBO middleweight title, which frees up the belt for Demetrius Andrade and Walter Kautondokwa to fight this month on October 20 in Boston, Mass.

In a statement from the World Boxing Organization president Francisco Valcarcel on Thursday, he says that the 29-year-old Saunders has apologized to the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission following his positive test for the banned performance enhancing substance oxilofrine. Valcarcel is recommending that Saunders be given a 6-month suspension for his positive drug test.

”B.J. Saunders has voluntarily vacated the WBO Middleweight title, and publicly apologized for his violation of the Massachusetts Athletic Commission’s anti-doping regulations,” the WBO president Francisco ‘Paco’ Valcarcel said in a statement on Thursday.

Saunders could wind up with a six-month suspension after the WBO committee votes on his case. Saunders hasn’t fought since last December when he beat David Lemieux by a 12 round unanimous decision. A 6-month suspension by the WBO will keep Saunders out of the ring for the remainder of 2018.

Saunders could be out of action until mid-2018. That obviously isn’t good for a fighter that is in his prime. By the time Saunders sees action for his next fight, he will have been out of the ring for 1 1/2 years. What a waste of a prime. In theory, Saunders could have had three fights during that time frame. He’s said to be losing $2.3 million for the Andrade fght alone. You can well imagine how much money Saunders will lose by not fighting until mid-2019 if that turns out to be the case.

This move clears the way for Andrade (25-0, 16 KOs) and Kautondokwa (17-0, 16 KOs) to battle it out for the vacant WBO 160 lb title on the 20th of October on Matchroom Boxing USA promoter Eddie Hearn’s DAZN card.

”The clash between Demetrius Andrade and Walter Kautondokwa scheduled for October 20th will now be for the vacant World Crown,” WBO president Francisco Valcarcel continued in his statement on Saunders. “Also, I will recommend to the WBO Executive Committee that Saunders receive a six month suspension for his transgression.”

This is a positive for Andrade and Kautondoka wthat they can fight for the vacant WBO title, but also a negative as well. Andrade wanted to beat Saunders for the belt to get the status from being the first guy to beat him. Andrade gains little from beating the little known Kautondokwa other than winning the vacant WBO 160 lb title.

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