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30 Mar, 2020 15:07

Billy Joe Saunders' boxing license suspended following controversial video

Billy Joe Saunders' boxing license suspended following controversial video

The British Boxing Board of Control has suspended WBO super-middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders after he released video in which he appeared to condone men engaging in domestic violence during coronavirus isolation.

Undefeated Saunders, 30, released the video to social media showing him striking a punching bag and offering advice on techniques to use on one's spouse or girlfriend should tempers begin to fray during the current period of social distancing.

Saunders issued an apology following a social media backlash, saying that he "would never condone" domestic violence and implied that the video was little more than a poorly-delivered joke. 

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However, that excuse apparently didn't sit well with the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBoC) who on Monday announced that they have suspended his boxing license pending a hearing into the matter.

"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," they said in a statement. 

Eddie Hearn, who promotes Saunders, admitted that he was "appalled" by the fighter's video, describing it as "unacceptable".

"I haven't spoken to him. I spoke to his management team last night. I was appalled really," Hearn said to TalkSport on Monday.

"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 realized about all kinds of different things, about how you need to treat people.

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"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.

"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 last fought in November where he beat Argentina's Marcelo Esteban Coceres with a somewhat labored 11th round TKO and had been in the reckoning for a highly-lucrative fight with Saul "Canelo" Alvarez before the Mexican fighter's representatives opted to pursue a trilogy bout with Gennady Golovkin.