Boxer Billy Joe Saunders has had his licence suspended by the British Boxing Board of Control after he released an online video which appeared to condone domestic violence.
The WBO super-middleweight champion recorded himself on a heavy bag, advising men on how to hit their female partners if tempers flared during the coronavirus pandemic. In the video, Saunders demonstrated how to “hit her on the chin” and then “finish her off”, which caused outrage on social media.
Robert Smith, the General Secretary of the BBBofC, released the following statement in the aftermath of the video:
“The British Boxing Board of Control having considered comments made by Billy Joe Saunders on social media have suspended his boxer’s licence pending a hearing under the Board’s misconduct regulation, at a time and venue to be confirmed as soon as possible.”
Following his suspension, Billy Joe Saunders apologised for the video, saying that, “It was a very, very, very bad out of taste joke” and that he “never considered how people might interpret it and instead was trying to make light of the very stressful situation we have all found ourselves in”.
“It was a very, very, very bad out of taste joke”Billy Joe Saunders, after his suspension
Additionally, Saunders pledged to donate £25,000 to domestic violence charities. His full statement is available below…
Eddie Hearn, Saunders’ promoter, commented, “I was appalled really. It was so idiotic, it was so frustrating because I know Billy well. He’s a really good kid, with a really good heart. He does a lot for the community, he does a lot for charity, but every now and again he does the most stupid things”.
The president of the WBO, Paco Valcárcel, also commented saying “Billy Joe Saunders’ recent actions are unacceptable”.
“With his conduct, he failed his family, his friends and his fans. The WBO will follow the British Boxing Board of Control’s investigation carefully before taking any further action.”
This incident isn’t the first for Billy Joe Saunders, after he was fined £100,000 by the BBBofC for a social media video in September 2018. In this video, Saunders offered a drug addict £150 worth of drugs to punch a passer-by in the face, as Saunders deceived the addict into thinking the passer-by was a paedophile.
A deal was in place for Saunders to fight Canelo Alvarez on May 2nd, but had recently been postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic. However, given that his licence has been suspended and that all the sanctioning bodies will likely follow suit and impose the relevant penalties, Saunders has put the biggest fight of his career in serious jeopardy. Canelo isn’t short of alternatives, with Ring Magazine and WBA Super World Super-middleweight champion Callum Smith and IBF middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin more than credible options for Canelo’s next fight if Billy Joe’s suspension is upheld beyond September.
It’s not difficult to suggest that Billy Joe Saunders was joking. However, if he can’t comprehend why the video wouldn’t be well received by the public, or come with some repercussions, then it will be his stupidity which will cost him the biggest fight of his career.
Last modified: 4th April 2020