World Boxing Organization President Francisco "Paco" Valcarcel has confirmed that Billy Joe Saunders is no longer the WBO middleweight world champion.

“BJ Saunders has voluntarily vacated the WBO Middleweight Title, and publicly apologized for his violation of the Massachusetts Athletic Commission's anti-doping regulations. Therefore, the clash between Demetrius Andrade and Walter Kautondonkwa scheduled for October 20th will now be for the vacant world crown," Valcarcel said.

“Also, I will recommend to the WBO Executive Committee that Saunders receives a six month suspension for his transgression”.

As previously reported, Andrade and Kautondokwa is now set for the vacant WBO world middleweight title - after initially being announced for the interim-title.

Andrade was scheduled to face WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders, who lost the title after being refused a licence to fight next Saturday.

Saunders returned an adverse analytical finding in a random drug tests carried out by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association in August.

He tested positive for oxilofrine, which is prohibited under the fight's testing agency, VADA.

There was a hearing held earlier this week, and the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission denied Saunders a licence - because he signed a contract to follow the testing rules of VADA.

WBO president Valcarcel said: "It is unfortunate that a boxer as talented as Saunders is facing this controversy and will not be able to defend the title."

The fight between Andrade and Kautondokwa will be streamed by DAZN.

Saunders has been out of the ring since December 2017, when he traveled to Canada and dominated former IBF world champion David Lemieux over twelve rounds.

If the WBO's suspension is approved, Saunders will be unable to fight until - at least for the WBO - until the first quarter of 2019.

The substance oxilofrine is not prohibited for use in out of competition scenarios under the rules of WADA, British testing agency UKAD and the British Boxing Board of Control. Because of that, Saunders will not be prohibited from fighting as soon as possible on UK soil.