The Massachusetts State Athletic Commission has denied WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders a boxing license to defend his title later this month.
Saunders was supposed to fight Demetrius Andrade in the main event of a Matchroom Boxing USA card in Boston on October 20. The commission had a meeting on October 9 to decide Saunders' fate in regards to fighting in Boston after Saunders tested positive for the banned substance oxilofrine.
After being notified of the positive drug test back in September, Saunders stated that oxilofrine was in his system due to using nasal spray and has since added that he is not a cheater.
In regards to the status of Saunders as the WBO champion, that remains to be seen, but it is understood that if Saunders were to not be licensed to fight on October 20, then he would be stripped. This won't mean that Andrade will not fight as Matchroom Boxing signed Walter Kautondokwa, the WBO's No. 2 ranked middleweight, to fight Andrade if Saunders is unable to. That fight would be for the vacant WBO middleweight title, joining Canelo Alvarez (WBC and WBA "super") and Ryota Murata (WBA "regular") as world champions in the 160-pound division.
The October 20 card will be streamed in the United States and Canada exclusively on the DAZN platform. There are two other world title fights on the card: Katie Taylor vs. Cindy Serrano for the unified IBF and WBA women's lightweight titles and Tevin Farmer vs. James Tennyson for the IBF super featherweight title.