Titlist Billy Joe Saunders' license suspended over social media post

The British Boxing Board of Control suspended the license of super middleweight world titlist Billy Joe Saunders on Monday over a video he posted to social media in which he claimed to demonstrate ways men could abuse their wives.

"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," Robert W. Smith, the general secretary of the British Boxing Board of Control, said in a statement.

Saunders (29-0, 14 KOs), 30, of England, drew the ire of British regulators and others because of a video he posted to social media over the weekend -- which has been deleted -- in which he purported to show men who are at home during the coronavirus pandemic how they could abuse their wives if they were being bothered. Saunders did so by displaying various punching techniques on a heavy bag.

Saunders later apologized for the video, but it was not the first time he has posted something in poor taste to social media that landed him in hot water with the BBBofC. In 2018, he posted a video in which he was shown offering an apparent homeless woman crack cocaine if she hit a passerby on the street. The BBBofC fined him £100,000.

The suspension could threaten the high-seven-figure payday Saunders has on deck for his next fight, which is a super middleweight world title unification fight with Canelo Alvarez, which is signed but has not yet been formally announced. The bout was supposed to take place on May 2 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and was on the verge of being announced but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn, Saunders' promoter, was disgusted by the video when it was brought to his attention.

"I haven't spoke to him. I spoke to his management team. I was appalled, really," Hearn told Talksport radio in the United Kingdom. "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. He spent the weekend down at the [National Health Service] 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?' ... 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."