It’s official that #2 WBO Walter Kautondokwa (17-0, 16 KOs) will be replacing Billy Joe Saunders on October 20th on DAZN to face Demetrius Andrade (25-0, 16 KOs) at TD Garden in Boston, Mass.
It’s still not decided whether Andrade vs. Kautondokwa will be for the vacant WBO middleweight title or not, as the World Boxing Organization needs to decide whether to strip Saunders, 29, if his WBO 160 lb title after he tested positive for the banned performance enhancing substance oxilofrine during a VADA test on August 30.
On Wednesday, the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission denied Saunders his boxing license to fight in the state for his failed drug test, which made him ineligible to defend his WBO middleweight title.
This proved costly for Saunders, as he’s losing out on a big $2.3 million payday to defend against Andrade on DAZN on October 20 at TD Garden in Boston. Andrade, 30, is a former WBA/WBO junior middleweight champion and 2008 U.S Olympian with load of talent. The card is promoted by Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing USA/DAZN.
Hearn is disappointed in Saunders being removed from the card, because he was hoping to see Saunders beat him to win the WBO 160 lb title rather than potentially win the vacant WBO belt by beating the 33-year-old Kautondokwa.
Saunders will be receiving a letter from the World Boxing Council for him to explain to them why he shouldn’t be stripped of his WBO 160 lb title. Like Andrade, Saunders had agreed to VADA testing for drugs for the fight, and one of the drugs listed on the companies’ banned list of drugs is Oxilofrine.
“Once you sign a contract to fight you have to comply with the contract,” WBO president Francisco “Paco” Valcarcel said to ESPN.com. ”He didn’t comply with the rules and regulations and so he wasn’t licensed,” Valcarcel said. “It’s something he created, something he did. It wasn’t because of something that happened. But we have to give him due process.”
Kautondokwa has been waiting on standby to replace Saunders ever since his positive test was revealed by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association. Kautondokwa has been training and he’s ready to step in with just 10 days notice. That’s not much time obviously, but that’s how it goes sometimes in boxing. No one expected that Saunders would test positive for a banned drug a week and a half before his October 20 card. But since there was so much money put into the card by Matchroom Boxing promoter Hearn, he decided to salvage it by having his fighter Andrade fight against replacement opponent Kautondokwa.
The WBO is expected to let Hearn know before October 20 if they’ll sanction the Andrade-Kautondokwa fight for the vacant WBO middleweight title or not. The WBO is waiting on Saunders to explain why he shouldn’t be stripped of his WBO title for his positive test.
Saunders losing his title is going to make a lot of people happy, as his cocky attidute has rubbed a lot of boxing fans and fighter’s the wrong way over the years. There will be more than a few fans and fighters that will be gloating about it if/when Saunders is stripped of his WBO belt. One of them is David Lemieux, who lost to Saunders last December by a lopsided 12 round decision. Saunders taunted Lemieux before, during and after his fight with him.
Lemieux said this on his social media site about the news of Saunders’ positive test for oxilofrine:
“You dirty cheating scumbag. You’re not only a miserable human being but you’re also a dirty cheap cheating rotten p—k. Billy Joe Saunders, You should be banned from boxing.”
Saunders likely won’t be banned from boxing, but there’s a possibility he’ll be stripped of his WBO title by the sanctioning body for his positive test.