World champ Saunders fails drug test

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British WBO middleweight world champion Billy Joe Saunders’ world title belt and a scheduled defense against mandatory challenger Demetrius Andrade are in jeopardy after he failed a drug test for the banned substance oxilofrine, a stimulant.

Although the 29-year-old returned an adverse analytical finding in a Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (Vada) test, Saunders says he is a “clean fighter to the bone”.

Promoter Frank Warren said the substance was in a “common decongestant nasal spray” and is permitted out of competition by UK Anti-Doping (Ukad).

Saunders, who is unbeaten in 26 fights, is due to defend his title against Andrade next month. He said he was still “ready to go” for the bout against the American in Boston on 20 October.

“Thank you to my fans who stick by me – I’m a clean athlete and going be around a long time,” Saunders said.

In a statement Warren said the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) had confirmed Saunders had not breached its or Ukad’s anti-doping rules.

He added that Saunders, was “therefore in good standing and is licensed to box and defend his world title on October 20th”.

Under World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) and Ukad rules, oxilofrine is only banned in competition, while it is prohibited at all times by Vada.

The BBBofC is affiliated to Ukad and Wada but not Vada, an organisation that boxers sign up to before fights to volunteer for random testing.

The Massachusetts State Athletic Commission, which adheres to the Wada prohibited list, will decide whether to license Saunders for the fight against Andrade.

In April, Saunders called for WBC and WBA world middleweight champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez to be banned for life after failing two drugs tests.

Earlier this week Saunders was fined £100,000 by the BBBofC after a video was posted on social media in which he offers a woman £150 worth of drugs to perform a sex act. He was also heard asking the woman to punch a passer-by before driving off when the pedestrian was attacked.

Saunders apologised for the video and described it as “banter” that “went wrong”.