British Boxing Board of Control suspend licence of Billy Joe Saunders for releasing video which appeared to condone domestic violence
Last Updated: 31/03/20 5:45am
The British Boxing Board of Control have suspended the licence of Billy Joe Saunders after he released a video which appeared to condone domestic violence.
The WBO super-middleweight champion filmed himself working out on a punch bag in a barn, advising men on how to hit their female partners if tempers flared during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which resulted in a fierce backlash on social media.
A statement from The BBBofC said: "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."
Promoter Eddie Hearn admits he was "appalled" by Saunders for releasing an "idiotic" video which appeared to condone domestic violence.
Saunders has issued an apology, but Matchroom Boxing boss Hearn admits his fighter's behaviour was "unacceptable".
Speaking to Talksport, Hearn said: "I haven't spoken to him. I spoke to his management team last night. 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 world has changed and realised about all kinds of different things, about how you need to treat people.
It's much more unacceptable for a world champion boxer to be doing it.
"It's always with Billy. He spent the weekend down at the NHS, delivering food packages, and meeting people. It's one step forward, four steps back with Billy Joe Saunders and it is frustrating.
"He's got this mentality where it's me against the world. Sometimes you can have a conversation with him and say 'Bill, what are you doing?' And sometimes that can make it worse. I leave him alone now and when I talk to him, I will be telling him, you're a prat, what are you doing?
"I can only tell you, he does have a good heart, he didn't mean anything in the video, but you just can't do it, especially when you're in your position. It's unacceptable for Joe Bloggs down the street to do it. It's much more unacceptable for a world champion boxer to be doing it.
"Thinking you're having a laugh, or not having a laugh, young people are watching that video. People who are in abusive relationships are watching that video. You cannot do it, it's unacceptable."
Saunders intends to make a donation to a domestic abuse charity and revealed he received death threats.
"I can only take it back and apologise," Saunders told Talksport. "I will be donating £25,000 to support the domestic violence charity. It was a silly thing to do, but it has been done and I can't take it back.
"It wasn't meant to be suggesting 'go and hit your wife and your loved ones'.
"I am getting a lot of hate mail wishing me dead, wishing my family and my kids dead.
"I am who I am, I am not going to say I will never make another mistake in my life. I don't intentionally mean to make these mistakes, I didn't have a very good education.
"I am not intentionally causing the public any harm at all. I only put it out because I thought it was a laugh, clearly it wasn't."