World Boxing Organization (WBO) President Francisco Valcárcel Mulero commented on Billy Joe Saunders inability to defend his World Middleweight Championship, as per contractually agreed, against Demetrius Andrade on October 20th.
This is after the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission voted against granting him a boxing license. The hearing came following a failed doping test on August 30th.
“It is unfortunate that a boxer as talented as Saunders is facing this controversy. He will not be able to defend the title,” said Valcarcel today.
“The WBO will examine the situation with due diligence. We will proceed according to its ‘Rules & Regulations’ decide which is the proper course of action”.
Valcárcel, a practicing attorney, added that if Andrade fights the first available contender, the WBO Championship Committee will consider sanctioning the bout.
The news on Saunders comes despite the Briton looking a picture of health in a recent social media post.
Massachusetts officials made the decision following a positive drug test by Saunders for oxilofrine.
Saunders had been hoping he would be able to box as the substance is allowed by WADA and UKAD until the day of the fight.
The 29 year-old was tested by VADA last month, meaning Saunders’ case for leniency went unheard.
Promoter Eddie Hearn will now seek to save the show by drafting in Namibian Walter Kautondokwa, who is ranked number two.
It is expected that Saunders will be relieved of his title, with his next move uncertain.
At this point, a suspension remains possible, although no official rules or regulations have been broken in the UK.
This means Saunders could still line up a fight by the end of the year if VADA doesn’t push for any further punishment.
The likes of Chris Eubank Jr. and Martin Murray would be considerations for Saunders in the future.
Yet another cancellation means Saunders has been forced to call off three contests in 2018 alone.