Andrade-Saunders Ordered By WBO
After vacating his title prior to a fight against Demetrius Andrade, Billy Joe Saunders has been announced as the mandatory challenger for the WBO middleweight title.
The WBO announced on Tuesday that Saunders’ six-month suspension for testing positive for Oxilofrine by VADA prior to his scheduled October showdown with Andrade, but has been made the mandatory challenger.
According to a statement released by the WBO Championship Committee, “Based on the evidence ratifying complete fulfillment of all imposed conditions on behalf of Mr. Saunders presented before this Committee and pursuant to Section 1 subsection (c) of the WBO Regulations of World Championship Contests, we hereby terminate immediately his suspension from any WBO sanctioned contest.
“[Consequently, we] recommend the WBO World Ratings Committee official reinstatement of Mr. Saunders within the WBO Middleweight Division Ratings and be positioned as the number one (1) contender accordingly. Further, if the WBO Ratings Committee adopts this Committees’ recommendation, we hereby designate Mr. Saunders as the official Mandatory Challenger of the aforementioned division pursuant to Section 1 subsection (b) (23) of the referenced regulations.”
Saunders’ suspension was lifted following a petition filed by Saunders’ legal team on January 14th, which did not prohibit the Brit from competition, just from having a place in the governing body’s standings.
Saunders has contended that the substance was in an over-the-counter nasal decongestant, and that the substance was not banned “in-competition” by WADA, which is the code followed by the British Boxing Board of Control and UK Anti-Doping, which Saunders abides by as a Brit. The Massachusetts State Athletic Commission would still deny Saunders a license forcing the British fighter to abdicate the title instead of being stripped.
“[O]n January 14th 2019, the WBO headquarter offices received an official petition on behalf of Mr. Saunders’ legal representative Mr. David House, ratifying and evidencing the fighter’s successful completion of all the imposed conditions set forth by this Committee,” read the WBO’s ruling. “The evidence showed that Mr. Saunders engaged in active charity and community work with underserved and disadvantaged kids, submitted to numerous random anti-doping tests by the correspondent (drug testing) agencies, obtaining thereto negative results, and presently, continuous in good standing conduct in his community.
“[I]n light of Mr. Saunders’ thorough fulfillment of our ruling, his legal representative request reinstatement of said fighter in the WBO World Ratings Middleweight Division, consequently, be rated at the number one (1) position and designated as the Mandatory Challenger in the aforementioned division.”
While Andrade was looking towards a fight with Gennady Golovkin, the WBO has given Andrade’s promoter Eddie Hearn and Saunders’ promoter Frank Warren 30 days to agree to terms before a purse bid on February 21st.
Initial Report: Boxing Scene