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WBO issues statement on Billy Joe Saunders being denied license

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President Francisco Valcárcel Mulero promised to carefully assess the situation.

Boxing at Copper Box Arena Photo by Leigh Dawney/Getty Images

As news broke that Billy Joe Saunders’ scheduled WBO title defense against Demetrius Andrade was scrapped due to the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission denying Saunders a license, the natural question is whether or not he’ll be stripped of his world title.

In a statement that WBO president Francisco Valcárcel Mulero delivered following the official announcement that the fight was canceled, he vowed to look into the matter very closely.

“It is unfortunate that a boxer as talented as Saunders is facing this controversy and will not be able to defend the title,” said Valcarcel today. “The WBO will examine the situation with due diligence and proceed according to its ‘Rules & Regulations’ decide which is the proper course of action.”

Valcárcel also added that if Andrade fights the next available contender on Oct. 20 that his organization will considering sanctioning the fight, which was mostly expected anyway. Saunders tested positive for banned substance oxilfrine, which he attributed to a common nasal spray, but that apparently didn’t pass muster with the Massachusetts authorities.