After the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission rejected Billy Joe Saunders' application to have a boxing license for his October 20 fight against Demetrius Andrade, Saunders has vacated his WBO middleweight title.
The announcement comes after Saunders failed a drug test for the banned substance oxilofrine in a drug test several weeks ago, but the results were announced in late September. The Massachusetts commission then ruled on October 9 that Saunders will indeed not get licensed to fight Andrade and so Andrade will now fight Walter Kautondokwa on October 20.
Below is an excerpt of the statement from promoter Frank Warren making the announcement and in the statement, it was said that Warren and Saunders plan to take this ruling to the Supreme Court. The statement was shortly deleted from original site with the link only leading to a page stating "Statement to follow:"
"Because of his 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 will then be issues against the MSAC following the Supreme Court hearing. The MSAC in their refusal to grant a licence to Billy-Joe have benefited his scheduled opponent, Andrade, who hails from nearby Rhode Island and who will now fight for a vacant title against the next ranked Namibian Walter Kautondokwa."
Below is a tweet of the full statement from Warren regarding the situation before it got deleted:
WBO President Francisco Valcarcel then released a statement shortly after Saunders' announcement. In that announcement, he formally named the fight between Andrade and Kautondokwa will be for the vacant title.
Originally, the fight between Andrade and Kautondokwa was going to be for an interim title while Saunders tried to appeal to the WBO in order to keep the title. With Saunders vacating the title, this means the two boxers set to compete on October 20 will get a chance to fight for the full title.
The fight will headline a Matchroom Boxing card at the TD Garden in Boston with the full card being streamed in the United States and in Canada on the DAZN streaming service.