The British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) suspended Billy Joe Saunders' license Monday over a social media video in which the WBO super middleweight champion seemingly condones domestic violence against women.
"The British Boxing Board of Control, having considered comments made by Billy Joe Saunders on social media, have suspended his boxer's license pending a hearing under the Board's misconduct regulation, at a time and venue to be confirmed as soon as possible," the BBBofC wrote in a statement from its Twitter account.
This comes after the 30-year-old Saunders made a video doling out advice to men, seemingly teaching them how to hit their female partners if an argument ensues during a coronavirus quarantine. During the video, Saunders pounds away on a heavy bag while instructing men how to react if "your old woman is giving you mouth," before tacking on more disturbing comments such as “hit her on the chin” and then “finish her off” as he punches the bag with extra emphasis each time.
Over the weekend, people slammed Saunders over the disturbing clip. Undisputed women's middleweight and unified WBC/WBO junior middleweight champion Claressa Shields was one of them, responding to Saunders with a video of her own.
Video for all the women in abusive relationships! This a tutorial on what to do when your boyfriend, husband or any man tries to put his hands on you! #DefenseMechanism ! Thank me later pic.twitter.com/FaAXWkYOm6— ClaressaT-rexShields (@Claressashields) March 29, 2020
All that backlash paved the way for the British boxer to apologize.
“I would never condone domestic violence and if I saw a man touch a woman, I would smash him to pieces myself,” he said on Twitter, before the account was deleted altogether. “Apologies if I offended any women.”
Matchroom Boxing USA president Eddie Hearn called Saunders' video "idiotic" and "unacceptable" while speaking with TalkSport on Monday.
“I was appalled really,” Hearn said. “It was so idiotic, it was so frustrating because I know Billy well. He’s a really good kid, with a really good heart, but every now and again he does the most stupid things.
“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. People who are in abusive relationships are watching that video. You cannot do it, it’s unacceptable.”
This isn't the first time that Saunders has been under scrutiny because of a social media video.
In 2018, Saunders mocked a woman on the street by suggesting that she was a prostitute, as reported by The Sun.
“You’re selling your body on the street ... what are you doing that for?” Saunders yelled out to a woman from a vehicle.
The woman responded: “F— off, I ain’t a pro [prostitute], I’m looking for someone.”
He shot back: “You’re not … you’re selling your bum.”
Saunders was trying to close in on a fight with boxing sensation Saul "Canelo" Alvarez earlier this month before the COVID-19 global pandemic intensified.