Promoter Eddie Hearn has expressed his dismay at Billy Joe Saunders, who he has labelled as “idiotic” for releasing a video in which he appears to condone domestic violence.
The WBO super middleweight champion filmed himself hitting a heavy bag at home while providing advice to men on how to deal with their partners if tempers flared due to the lockdown caused by the global coronavirus pandemic.
The video has resulted in a fierce backlash online, with the British Boxing Board of Control suspending his boxing licence pending a future hearing on a date to be confirmed.
The WBO is also considering sanctions.
Matchroom Boxing boss Hearn called Saunders’ actions “unacceptable”.
“I haven’t spoke to him. I spoke to his management team last night. I was appalled really.” Hearn told TalkSport.
“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 realised about all kinds of different things, about how you need to treat people.
“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.
“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?’ And sometimes that can make it worse. I leave him alone now and when I talk to him, I will be telling him, you’re a prat, 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.”
The undefeated Saunders, who was expected to defend his title against Mexican superstar Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez on May 2 before the coronavirus pandemic canned the fight, has made a public apology.
“I can only take it back and apologise,” Saunders told TalkSport. “I will be donating £25,000 to support the domestic violence charity. It was a silly thing to do, but it has been done and I can’t take it back.
“It wasn’t meant to be suggesting ‘go and hit your wife and your loved ones’.
“I am getting a lot of hate mail wishing me dead, wishing my family and my kids dead.
“I am who I am, I am not going to say I will never make another mistake in my life. I don’t intentionally mean to make these mistakes, I didn’t have a very good education.
“I am not intentionally causing the public any harm at all. I only put it out because I thought it was a laugh, clearly it wasn’t.”
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