Britain's unbeaten Saunders vacates middleweight crown

Boxing gloves (File)
Boxing gloves (File)

Miami - Undefeated British southpaw Billy Joe Saunders vacated the World Boxing Organisation middleweight title on Thursday after a doping violation that scuttled a scheduled title defence next week in Boston.

WBO president Francisco Valcarcel said he would recommend that Saunders receive a six-month ban after testing positive in an August 30 urinalysis for what ESPN reported was the banned stimulant oxilofrine, which Saunders said came from a nasal spray.

"Saunders has voluntarily vacated the WBO middleweight title and publicly apologised for his violation of the Massachusetts Athletic Commission's anti-doping regulations," Valcarcel said in a statement on the WBO website.

The commission on Tuesday refused to approve 29-year-old Englishman Saunders, 26-0 with 12 knockouts, to fight in Boston as planned on October 20 against American southpaw Demetrius Andrade, 25-0 with 16 knockouts.

Andrade, 20, will now fight for the vacant crown on October 20 against Namibia's 33-year-old unbeaten Walter Kautondokwa, 17-0 with 16 knockouts entering his first fight outside Africa and first world title bout.

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