Frank Warren has revealed that Billy Joe Saunders intends to sue the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission for loss of earnings after being denied a license for his scheduled title bout against Demetrius Andrade.
The Hall of Fame promoter has also called out rival Eddie Hearn, accusing the Matchroom Sport kingpin of deliberately remaining ‘neutral’ regarding the decision to financially gain from Saunders’ predicament.
Saunders is now likely to be stripped of his WBO world middleweight title - which he has held since defeating Andy Lee in December 2015 - and Namibian Walter Kautondokwa is set to be installed as Andrade’s substitute on 20 October at Boston’s TD Garden.
A voluntary drugs test taken by the 29-year-old returned an ‘adverse analytical finding’ leaving MSAC no choice but to refuse to sanction the bout. Warren has immediately jumped to the defence of his fighter insisting the stimulant oxilofrine - claimed to be from a nasal spray - is ‘perfectly legal’ out of competition and that Saunders has subsequently tested clean several times since.
The authorities in Boston used the stringent guidelines of the Voluntary Anti Doping Association - who carried out the test - instead of their regular practice of following the World Anti Doping Authority. WADA deems the substance permitted ‘out of competition’ as do the British Boxing Board of Control.
The 66-year-old, London-born manager has now confirmed that Saunders will take his case to the Supreme Court and intends to sue for loss of income, with reports claiming the Hertfordshire-born middleweight missed out on a $1.8 million payday as a result of the decision.
Warren spoke to talkSPORT on Thursday regarding Saunders situation: “The Massachusetts State Athletic Commission, whose jurisdiction the fight takes place under, at their hearing yesterday they had said they had grounds for denial of his application for a license.
“They referred to a prohibited list which is published by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and they applied that to deny him a licence.
“But the test was done by VADA, the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association. The substance they found in their test is prohibited by them, but under WADA it is allowed out of competition, which is set up until the day before the fight.
“It was a nasal spray! VADA bans everything. They are not recognised in Great Britain, they are not recognised by UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) and they are not recognised by the British Boxing Board of Control.
“Massachusetts have not even applied their own disciplinary regulations correctly, so obviously Bill will appeal and the appeal will go to the Supreme Court. He will be suing them for any loss of earnings.
“The tests they are referring to took place in August, but since then Bill has had subsequent tests which have all come back negative. It’s ridiculous. It’s stupid where we are at with this.
“If the fight was taking place in the UK, it wouldn’t be a problem.
“Can we take it somewhere else? I would if I was the promoter, but I’m not, the promoter is Eddie Hearn.
“Their fighter is Andrade who is challenging, so they want to keep it there because it keeps Bill out.
“It stops Bill from getting paid quite a substantial purse and they can bring this guy in from Africa (Namibian fighter Walter Kautondokwa) who they are probably paying $100,000, so it suits them financially.
“They have said publicly they were supporting Bill and they wanted the fight, yet I’ve got a letter from them privately saying they were going to be neutral on the position.
“From a business perspective I see where they are at, but it’s not fair on Billy Joe Saunders that he has defended his title three or four times and he’s in this position.”
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