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WBO super-middleweight champion, Billy Joe Saunders, will face his long-time rival, Canelo Alvarez. The two have shared a troubled history between them and will look to put it to bed with their bout. So ahead of their meeting, let’s look back at the time when Saunders failed a drug test.

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The Englishman has had his fair share of controversies outside the boxing ring. However, in the ring, his biggest controversy came back in 2018 when he failed a drug test conducted before his high-profile bout against Demetrius Andrade.

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Back then, Saunders fought in the middleweight category and had held the WBO belt since 2015. As he prepared for a title defense against Andrade, the champion tested positive for a performance-enhancing stimulant, Oxilofrine.

The Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency conducted the test before the fight and found traces of the stimulant. As a result, the WBO stripped Saunders of his title and slapped a six-month ban on him. However, they later lifted the ban, and Saunders returned to competition as the number one contender in the WBO rankings.

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Why did Billy Joe Saunders take the stimulant?

Performance-enhancing drugs are a serious problem in any professional sport and are punished with strict action. So it may surprise some that a champion like Saunders was careless enough to take a substance like that. So why did he have Oxilofrine in his system?

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The unbeaten boxer claimed it resulted from him using a common decongestant nasal spray, and therefore, he was unaware of the substance. However, there is also another aspect to consider in this situation.

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The governing bodies in the UK do not ban the stimulant, Oxilofrine, except for fight nights. This means that the fighter can use it out of competition to enhance his physical attributes. Moreover, Oxilofrine is a substance that helps in burning fat and reducing weight. Therefore, it is useful for a fighter to make weight before a bout.

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Following that episode, ‘Superb’ has not competed as a middleweight and moved to the higher weight class. He became a champion again and has not tested positive for any substance since.

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