‘Mentally anguished Saunders in no position to continue career until cleared’ – Warren
In the second part of a lengthy statement released by Frank Warren on the case against Billy Joe Saunders, the promoter revealed the mental effects on his fighter.
Saunders lost his world title. Plus a purse in the millions of dollars – and his reputation, following a positive test with the Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency.
Warren will fight to prove Saunders innocence and says the 29 year-old’s career is on hold, temporarily.
“Cases such as these can take a considerable time to be heard and adjudicated on. Given the damaging effect these accusations of wrongdoing have had on the mental wellbeing of Billy-Joe, he is in no position to continue in his profession until such a time as his name has been cleared,” outlined Warren.
“Boxing is a dangerous sport and the 100 percent health – both physical and mental – is paramount at all times.
“Because of the mental anguish brought about by this case and out of respect for the WBO, Billy-Joe will with a heavy heart relinquish his world title. Whilst this issue is in the process of being resolved.
“Legal proceedings may then be issued against the MSAC following the Superior Court hearing.
“The MSAC in their refusal to grant a licence to Billy-Joe have benefitted his scheduled opponent, Andrade. A fighter who hails from nearby Rhode Island and who will now fight for a vacant title. His opponent is the next ranked Namibian Walter Kautondokwa.
“I would also question why a hearing couldn’t be convened until 11 days before the fight was due to take place. This left little or no time for a satisfactory resolution to be reached.
“I am certain this would not be the case in other States more accustomed to staging major world title fights on a regular basis.
“I should also point out that any previous misdemeanours involving Billy-Joe, which he sincerely regrets and wishes to apologise to all concerned and the boxing public, have no bearing on this case or our defence of his legal position or standing as a professional athlete.
“Billy-Joe has acknowledged past incidents that have painted him in a less than favourable light. He has fully accepted the punishments handed down to him.
“He has never before fallen foul of testing procedures. The suggestion in a trade publication that WADA testing is implemented too late a stage to make a difference is wholly misleading.
“Billy-Joe, along with all other championship-level fighters is regularly and randomly tested by UKAD and WADA. This is as a matter of course with the official affiliate of the British Boxing Board of Control.
“WADA are the worldwide governing body which governs mandatory Anti-Doping on a global basis. They act for the Olympic Games (IOC), FIFA World Cups, UEFA, The Premier League, The Football Association as well as most other major Sports, including Boxing on an internationally recognised basis.
“They are recognised by the WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO and are the body that carry out Anti-Doping in the UK and manage the same exclusively for the British Boxing Board of Control.
“A ‘Whereabouts’ chart is supplied to the relevant authorities on a weekly basis. It details the movements of athletes who can be tested at any time of day or night.
“To be clear, Billy-Joe undertook four WADA tests leading up to the fight all of which were clear. Applying the WADA rules and prohibited list he had committed no anti-doping violation.
“MSAC have simply got this wrong and cost Billy-Joe his opportunity to defend his title,” he added.
A six-month ban recommendation by the WBO is set to be made official in the coming days.
Saunders is unlikely to fight again until at least the summer of 2019.