Tuesday, March 2

Billy Joe Saunders could be stripped of world title over ‘how to hit a woman’ video

Billy Joe Saunders could be stripped of his super middleweight world championship after World Boxing Organisation president Paco Valcarcel hinted that the governing body will take action against the British boxer for his social media video on teaching men “how to hit a woman”.

Saunders is being investigated by the British Boxing Board of Control, who on Monday suspended his boxing licence with immediate effect following the release of the unacceptable video.

The 30-year-old deleted it from his social media account and issued an apology on Sunday, before announcing that he will donate a £25,000 fee from his next purse to a domestic violence charity and host “self-defence workshops and seminars for survivors and current or potential sufferers of domestic violence”.

But Saunders is facing a lengthy ban from British boxing following what is his second run-in with the BBBoC in 18 months, having been handed a £100,000 fine and severe reprimand for posting a video in September 2018 where he verbally offered a woman drugs in exchange for performing sex acts on a friend and for punching a passer-by.

After the BBBoC announced the suspension of Saunders’ licence, WBO president Valcarcel issued a strong statement on Twitter to confirm that the governing body will monitor the investigation before taking any further action that they deem necessary.

“Billie Joe Saunders’ recent actions are unacceptable,” Valcarcel said. “With his conduct, he failed his family, his friends, and his fans. 

“The World Boxing Organisation will follow the British Boxing Board of Control’s investigation carefully before taking any further action.”

Saunders has said that his video was a failed attempt to be funny by advising men how to silence their wives and partners if they become annoying during the United Kingdom’s coronavirus lockdown. The two-weight world champion is understood to be facing up to a year’s ban from the ring, which could cost him a lucrative fight against current pound-for-pound king Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez – a bout that could have landed him in excess of £6m.

The strong sanction that Saunders is facing comes due to his previous indiscretion 18 months ago when another social media video landed him in hot water with the BBBoC. Although there was no evidence of Saunders having any drugs on him, he offered an apparent drug addict “£150 of crack” in exchange for performing a sex act and assaulting a stranger, describing the incident as “banter”.

A BBCoC statement after that investigation said: “The stewards have found Mr Saunders guilty of bringing the sport of boxing into disrepute and have fined him the sum of £100,000 and issued a severe reprimand as to his future conduct.”

Saunder issued a full apology on Monday evening and confirmed that he plans to take measures in helping to combat domestic violence, with the boxer admitting he gave no thought to how his actions would affect others – particularly those who have suffered from domestic violence.

“I would like to address the situation at hand,” Saunders said in an official statement issued on Monday evening. “Let me firstly start by apologising. There is no excuse for my actions.

“It was a very. Very bad out-of-taste joke, I am a God-fearing man and I do not condone domestic violence under any circumstances.

“When I created the video in poor taste, I 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 and the heightened emotions of families being confined to each other’s company.

Saunders has said he will host workshops and seminars for domestic violence victims

“It did not cross my mind about the actual reality of domestic violence and its sufferers and the second I realised it could cause upset I quickly took the video down, but unfortunately with the way social media works, it spread like wildfire. I can’t change that, I have and do wholeheartedly apologise.

“I can only take actions to help people, and will be making a donation from my next fight purse to a British domestic violence charity to help victims and prevent future victims of domestic abuse. I will also host some self-defence workshops and seminars for survivors and current or potential sufferers of domestic violence.

“Unfortunately I can’t take the video back, but I can do my bit to help people who suffer or have suffered and become part of the public voice to prevent domestic violence and change future generations’ attitudes and that’s what I am committed to doing.”