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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 20 November 2018

Billy Joe Saunders denied licence to fight Demetrius Andrade in Boston

Saunders tests positive for oxilofrine in a Voluntary Anti-Doping Association test, a result that could see him stripped of his WBO middleweight title belt

Billy Joe Saunders could be stripped of his WBO middleweight title belt unless he can get a licence to fight Demetrius Andrade in Boston this month. Getty Images
Billy Joe Saunders could be stripped of his WBO middleweight title belt unless he can get a licence to fight Demetrius Andrade in Boston this month. Getty Images

British WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders, who failed a doping test in August, has been denied a licence by the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission to face American Demetrius Andrade in Boston this month.

Saunders had tested positive for oxilofrine in a Voluntary Anti-Doping Association test (Vada). The stimulant is banned by Vada while it is prohibited only during competition by the World Anti-Doping Agency and UK Anti-Doping.

Saunders has denied any wrongdoing in the matter and said that the adverse analytical finding was the result of using a common decongestant nasal spray.

Saunders is due to face Andrade on October 20 at Boston's T Garden in what would be his fourth title defence, but could be stripped of the belt he won in 2015 if he fails to get a licence in time.

It is the latest controversy in the career of Saunders (26-0, 12 KOs), who is set to miss out on a seven-figure payday against Andrade, a two-time light middleweight champion.

The 29 year old was fined £100,000 (Dh483,000) by the British Boxing Board of Control last month after video footage emerged of him appearing to offer a woman drugs and to perform a sex act.

In August, the former Olympian was embroiled in an ugly spat with heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder at a restaurant in Northern Ireland ahead of the Tyson Fury-Francesco Pianeta fight, with Saunders accused of throwing half-a-chicken at the unbeaten American.

Several videos were posted on social media of Saunders and another man running out of the Nando's restaurant in Belfast chased by members of Wilder's entourage.

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