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Billy Joe Saunders reportedly fails drugs test ahead of WBO title clash with Demetrius Andrade

According to reports, the WBO middlweight champion has tested positive for oxilofrine

By Dean Goulding   - @intuboxing

Little more than a week after what police described as a 'sickening' video surfaced of Billy Joe Saunders telling a woman he would give her £150 worth of crack cocaine in exchange for performing sex acts on his friend, for which he was fined £100,000 by the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC), Saunders has reportedly failed a Voluntary Anti-Doping Association test just weeks before his WBO title defence against Demetrius Andrade on 20th October.

Reports state Saunders has tested positive for banned substance oxilofrine, the very same drug sprinters Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell infamously tested positive for back in 2013 before being handed lengthy bans by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

Oxilofrine (the prescription name for methylsynephrine, hydroxyephrine and oxyephrine) is an amphetamine, developed to treat low blood pressure in people who do not respond to conventional treatment. As to its effects, it's thought the drug increases adrenaline production, boosting endurance, focus, alertness and heart rate and increasing oxygenation of the blood.

However, it's unclear if the fight with Andrade will go ahead or if Saunders, regarded as one of Britain's current best fighters, will be stripped of his WBO title, as pursuant to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Code, which VADA implements, oxliofrine is only banned "in-competition".

In Appendix 1 of the WADA Code, "in-competition" is defined as "the period commencing 12 hours before a competition", so logic would dictate that testing positive for such a substance almost a month before the fight would not be cause to call the fight off or strip Saunders of his title.

If Saunders were to be banned, however, questions would also no doubt arise as to the legitimacy of Saunders' impressive unanimous decision victory over David Lemieux back in December 2017.

More on this story as it develops.