WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders has been charged with misconduct by the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) after a disturbing video of the boxer emerged on social media.
The footage of shows Saunders in his car offering a woman on the street £150 worth of crack cocaine to perform a sex act before encouraging her to punch a passer-by, who he says is a paedophile.
The woman punches the stunned man in the face.
Saunders can then be heard telling the woman that the man is not a paedophile after all before laughing and driving off.
The 29-year-old Hatfield southpaw described the incident as “banter” that “went wrong”.
“Apologise to everybody who’s took offence totally in the wrong, can’t do anything but be sorry,” Saunders wrote in a tweet.
The BBBofC hearing is scheduled to take place next week.
“The British Boxing Board of Control are aware of a video featuring WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders and have called Mr Saunders to appear before the Stewards of Board on a misconduct charge next week,” said the BBBofC.
Police have also launched an investigation into the incident.
“A woman is offered drugs in exchange for committing an act of violence, and potentially committing a sex act in public,” a spokesperson for Nottinghamshire Police said.
“Officers will be looking to identify and speak to all of those who feature in this sickening video, and a full investigation will be carried out into the number of offences that have been captured on film, including the offer to supply Class A drugs, aiding and abetting an assault, assault and public order offences.”
Nottinghamshire Police have now handed the investigation over to South Yorkshire Police.
Saunders 26-0 (12) scored a career-best win last December when he travelled to Montreal, Canada to successfully defend his WBO 160-pound crown over dangerous puncher David Lemieux 40-4 (34) by wide unanimous decision.
Earlier this year Saunders twice withdrew from a scheduled fight with perennial contender Martin Murray 37-4-1 (17) variously citing hand problems and a hamstring injury.
Saunders made the news last month when he was chased out of a fast food restaurant in Belfast after throwing a piece of chicken at WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder, who is expected to face Saunders’ mate Tyson Fury later this year.
At the weigh-in for Saunders’ title defence against Willie Monroe Jr in September last year Saunders’ son walked up to the American and punched him in the groin, much to the delight of his father.
Saunders is scheduled to face dangerous American southpaw Demetrius Andrade 25-0 (16) at the TD Arena in Boston, Massachusetts on October 20.