Bellew Comes To Saunders Defense
In the span of two weeks, Billy Joe Saunders would be fined for an incident involving a drug addicted homeless woman and testing positive for a stimulant which would cost him not only a license to fight in the state of Massachusetts, but also his WBO middleweight title.
While preparing for his own fight, Tony Bellew stepped up to defend his fellow Englishman, and claim that Saunders is in no way a “cheat.”
Saunders would test positive in a VADA test for the stimulant oxilofrine, which was an ingredient in a nasal decongestant spray he used on August 30th. While other organizations such as WADA or UK Anti-Doping only ban it in-competition (the day of the fight) but is banned completely by VADA testing which Saunders was under for his scheduled October 20th fight against Demetrius Andrade.
“If you’re talking about fighters who have taken over the counter products, like Billy Joe or Dillian Whyte, I have got an enormous amount of sympathy for them,” Bellew told ESPN.
“I don’t class [heavyweight] Dillian Whyte as a steroid cheat because he drank a drink he got over the counter. If it’s proven that Billy Joe Saunders sniffed a nasal spray, I believe the person who gave it to him knew, but Billy would never have taken a steroid. I know that because I have spent a lot of time around Billy Joe.
“Luis Ortiz is a banned steroid cheat [for nandrolone in 2017]. Alexander Povetkin twice tested positive [for meldonium and ostarine in 2016] and is a cheating scumbag. Guys who inject steroids into themselves, there’s no condoning that.
“If a guy smokes a spliff, okay it’s wrong, he’s out of order, but he’s not putting anyone in danger. But it’s these b******s who are taking performance enhancing drugs who are at a different level.
Bellew made light of it while preparing to face undisputed cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk on November 10th in Manchester.
“Billy Joe can’t even spell oxilofrine, he doesn’t know what that it is but I’m pretty sure everyone in boxing knows who gave him it,” Bellew explained to ESPN. “I’m pretty sure everyone in boxing knows why he was given it. He did not know that. Whoever gave him that needs banning.
“I’ve been tested five times in eight weeks ahead of this fight,” Bellew said of his own drug testing leading into his fight with Usyk.
“The only problem I have is the 6 a.m. calls but that’s what it takes to keep this sport clean.
“They’re ****ing my sleep up a bit and I’ve had a pint of blood taken in the space of eight weeks which is not good for recovery, but the sport is going the right way and we need to keep testing fighters.
With Saunders benched, Andrade will now look to win the vacant WBO middleweight title against Walter Kautondokwa at TD Garden in Boston on October 20th.
Initial Report: ESPN