More details have emerged regarding WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders' recent failed drug test.
Saunders recently tested positive for the banned substance oxilofrine in a test administered by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA). VADA president Dr. Margaret Goodman sent a letter to the camp notifying the parties involved of the test results and ESPN obtained a copy of that letter, which can be seen below:
"The results of the analysis are as follows: Adverse. Urine specimen number 4248408: oxilofrine detected. Note the following is also contained on the laboratory report: 'Opinions: oxilofrine may have resulted from the administration of ephedrine which was also detected but below the decision limit of 11ug/ml. The estimated concentration of ephedrine is 4.6 ug/ml.'"
Saunders is currently scheduled to defend his title against Demetrius Andrade in the main event of the October 20 Matchroom Boxing USA card at the TD Garden in Boston.
Promoter Frank Warren of Queensbury Promotions released a statement giving further details on the failed drug test. In that statement, Warren and Saunders claim the reason the WBO champion tested positive for oxilofrine is because of a "common decongestant nasal spray."
Following reports of an adverse analytical finding in a test carried out by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (“VADA”) on WBO World Middleweight Champion, Billy Joe Saunders, we can confirm that the product concerned is permitted to be used ‘Out of Competition’ by United Kingdom Anti-Doping (“UKAD”) in line with the regulations of the World Anti-Doping Agency (“WADA”).
For the avoidance of doubt, the product in question was a common decongestant nasal spray.
The British Boxing Board of Control (“BBBofC”) under whose jurisdiction Billy Joe Saunders is licensed are affiliated only to UKAD/WADA.
Today the BBBofC have confirmed that Mr Saunders is not in breach of BBBofC or UKAD anti doping regulations and is therefore in good standing and is licensed to box and defend his World Title on October 20th.
Mr. Saunders has been tested a number of times in 2018, all negative, his last out of competition test by UKAD was on 24th September 2018.
In separate tweets, Saunders further claimed that he is innocent and that he will fight on October 20.
"I’m a clean fighter to the bone and always have been and I’m ready to go on the 20th."
"Thank you to my fans who stick by me I’m a clean athlete and gonna be around a long time thank you all stay blessed," Saunders tweeted.
At the moment, it does not appear that neither the BBBofC nor the UKAD will exact some disciplinary action on Saunders, but it does not mean that Saunders is scotch-free. Saunders will still have to hear from the Minnesota commission and from the WBO.
The commission will evaluate Saunders' status for the October 20 card in Boston on an upcoming commission meeting on October 8. If Saunders is in fact not licensed to fight Andrade in Boston, then the WBO will strip him of the title. If Saunders is given the green light to fight, then the WBO will further investigate the matter before making a final ruling.
Saunders potentially being out of the Matchroom Boxing card would be a major blow to the card, which was set to headline the event. There are two other world title fights on that Matchroom Boxing card: Tevin Farmer vs. James Tennyson for the IBF super featherweight title and Katie Taylor vs. Cindy Serrano for the unified WBA and IBF women's lightweight titles.