Frank Warren explains why Billy Joe Saunders ‘did not fail a test’, plans appeal
Promoter Frank Warren released a lengthy statement regarding the outcome of Billy Joe Saunders recent hearing.
Saunders was not allowed to defend his WBO middleweight title in Boston, leading to the recommendation he serves a six-month suspension.
Being unable to follow WBO mandatory stipulations, Saunders was also stripped of his belt.
Outlining why Saunders was wrongly denied a license, Warren is now putting together a legal challenge to the situation.
“On Tuesday at a hearing, the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission (MSAC) determined that it would not issue a permit to Billy-Joe Saunders for him to defend his WBO World Middleweight title against Demetrius Andrade in Boston on October 20. This is following an adverse finding in a test carried out by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA),” said Warren.
“Billy Joe Saunders underwent testing by both WADA and VADA. WADA, as mandated by the British Boxing Board of Control. And, voluntarily, VADA at the request of the Promoter, not the MSAC.
“All four tests carried out by UK Anti-Doping (UKAD – WADA’s UK Affiliate) and subsequent tests performed by VADA on Mr Saunders contained no trace of any prohibited substance.
“To be clear on this, the MSAC governance on doping regulations expressly adhere to the prohibited list set down by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
“The WADA list distinguishes between substances prohibited “at all times” and substances prohibited “in competition”.
“The low level of the chemical detected in the test supplied by Billy-Joe – ingested via a nasal spray – is not a prohibited substance when ingested ‘out of competition’.
“The VADA test was conducted ‘out of competition’. And so was not prohibited for the purpose of the application of the WADA list and therefore the application of the MSAC rules to Billy-Joe.
“I have read comments that MSAC had no choice as a failed test is a failed test. However, these comments are, with respect, misleading and ignorant of the fact the MSAC apply the WADA code.
“To put it a simply as possible the timing of the test being out of competition and the substance detected only being prohibited in competition under the WADA list means it was not a failed test.
“All that VADA do is conduct a test and report the results. It was for MSAC to then apply the WADA code to those results which they failed to do properly.
“This is not some technical legal argument. It is the simple facts and the truth.
“The MSAC, in their decision to deny a licence to Billy-Joe, have wilfully refused to properly apply the code of WADA to their ruling.
“Further, the MSAC refused to properly consider submissions from Billy-Joe’s representative despite him being present at the hearing.
“Unlike the British Boxing Board of Control (BBB of C), the MSAC is a State appointed governing body. Therefore, the decision will be appealed and challenged in the Superior Court at the earliest opportunity,” he added.
The 29 year-old has now seen three fights cancelled in 2018 alone.
It has since been confirmed that scheduled opponent Demetrius Andrade will fight for the vacant title.