By Keith Idec
Eddie Hearn isn’t quite sure what to expect Tuesday.
Demetrius Andrade’s promoter thinks it’s a “50-50” proposition as to whether the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission will license Billy Joe Saunders for his upcoming WBO middleweight title defense against Andrade. The Massachusetts commission will rule on Saunders’ license application during a meeting Tuesday afternoon.
The Saunders-Andrade fight is the main event of an October 20 card at TD Garden in Boston.
“I think it’s 50-50, to be honest with you,” Hearn told IFL TV. “I mean, I can understand some of the arguments from Billy Joe Saunders’ side. But I can also understand that he failed a VADA test.”
Licensing Saunders became an issue late in September, when the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association informed representatives for Saunders and Andrade that Saunders tested positive for oxilofrine in an August 30 exam. Oxilofrine – a stimulant that can aid an athlete’s stamina, among other things – is on VADA’s list of banned substances.
England’s Saunders (26-0, 12 KOs) and Andrade (25-0, 16 KOs), of Providence, Rhode Island, signed agreements to adhere to VADA’s testing standards. Saunders and his handlers have argued that he tested positive for oxilofrine because it’s present in a nasal spray Saunders used and that it isn’t banned by UK Anti-Doping, other than on fight nights.
If Saunders is denied a license and the WBO subsequently strips him of its middleweight title, Hearn said an agreement is in place for the top-ranked Andrade to box Namibia’s Walter Kautondokwa (17-0, 16 KOs) for that vacant 160-pound crown October 20 at TD Garden. Kautondokwa is ranked No. 2 among the WBO’s middleweight contenders, one spot after Andrade, the top-ranked challenger for Saunders’ title.
“One-hundred percent, the show happens,” Hearn said. “Demetrius will be fighting for the world middleweight title regardless. Katie Taylor will be defending her world title [against Cindy Serrano]. Tevin Farmer will be defending his super featherweight world title against James Tennyson. [Kid] Galahad against [Toka Khan] Clary in a final eliminator for the IBF [featherweight title], Tommy Coyle, Scott Quigg on the card as well. [Daniyar] Yeleussinov. We sold a load of tickets in Boston and that card, 100-percent, is happening.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.