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Billy Joe Saunders vacates WBO title as he faces six-month suspension

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Demetrius Andrade will now face Walter Kautondonkwa for the full vacant title.

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

Billy Joe Saunders has opted to voluntarily vacate his WBO middleweight world title according to WBO president Francisco Valcárcel. Saunders was in serious danger of having his world title stripped from him anyway, though, due to the fallout from his recently failed drug test. But at least now Saunders can say it happened on his own accord.

With the move Valcárcel confirms that Demetrius Andrade’s Oct. 20 fight against #2 rated Walter Kautondonkwa will be for its now-vacant world title belt. Furthermore, Valcárcel states that he’ll be recommending to the WBO Executive Committee that Saunders receive a six-month suspension for the failed drug test.

Yet despite walking away from his world title, Saunders promoter still says that the fighter plans to sue the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission for lost wages, as their refusal to license him cost Saunders $2.3 million in purse money.

You can bet your bottom dollar we’ll be hearing a lot more about this in the coming months, even though we likely won’t be seeing Saunders in the ring for a while.