Billy Joe Saunders has boxing licence suspended after domestic abuse 'advice' video

Billy Joe Saunders
Billy Joe Saunders was set to face Mexico's Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez in Las Vegas on 2 May

World champion Billy Joe Saunders has had his boxing licence suspended by the British Boxing Board of Control after he released a video advising men how to hit their female partners.

In the video, Saunders uses a punch bag to explain how to react if "your old woman is giving you mouth" and showing how to "hit her on the chin".

He later apologised, saying he would "never condone domestic violence".

His promoter Eddie Hearn said he is "appalled" by the "idiotic" video.

The chief executive of UK domestic abuse charity Refuge, Sandra Horley, said the video was "as dangerous as it is shocking".

The BBBofC said: "We 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."

On Monday, WBO super-middleweight champion Saunders said he would donate £25,000 to domestic violence charities.

Speaking to Talksport on Monday, he said it was a "silly mistake" and he "obviously wasn't thinking".

Saunders added: "I didn't mean for anyone to get upset about it. There are people dying all around the world with coronavirus and I was just trying to take the heat off that a little bit.

"It clearly hasn't done, my sense of humour is not everyone's cup of tea."

Saunders said he has received death threats and has deleted his Twitter account.

Hearn, also speaking to Talksport, added:external-link "I was appalled really. It was so idiotic, it was so frustrating because I know Billy well. It's one step forward, four steps back with Billy Joe Saunders.

"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.

"Young people are watching that video. People who are in abusive relationships are watching that video. You cannot do it, it's unacceptable."

Horley added: "Domestic abuse is never a joke. It should never be trivialised. Doing so serves only to normalise violence against women and girls when instead we should be steadfastly challenging it.

"Right now, across the country, women are isolated at home with abusive partners. Sharing content like this is as dangerous as it is shocking and we should call it out for what it is: unacceptable."

Police have warnedthat more people may find themselves being victims of domestic abuse under measures designed to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Professor Nicole Westmarland, a leading academic and activist in the area of violence against women, told BBC Sport sponsors should "think twice" about supporting Saunders.

"He's a high profile boxer, people look up to him," said Westmarland. "He should realise that his words and his actions can have an impact.

"We are living though the most dangerous time for women in abusive relationships. So for him [Saunders] to do that, in this environment, is completely shocking and unacceptable."

In a statement, Adina Claire, acting co-chief executive of Women's Aid, said: "Domestic abuse is never a joking matter, but when thousands of women are trapped in their homes with a perpetrator and are fearing for their lives, whether it is supposed to be a joke or not, the Billy Joe Saunders video sends out a dangerous message.

"At Women's Aid we know that domestic abuse is deadly serious and costs lives."

Saunders was close to finalising a deal to face Mexico's Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez in Las Vegas on 2 May before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

Saunders, who is unbeaten in 29 bouts, held a world title in the middleweight division before moving up to super-middleweight.

He defended his title in a laboured knockout win over Marcelo Esteban Coceres in Los Angeles in November.

In September 2018, Saunders was fined £100,000 by the BBBofC for a social media video that police described as "sickening".

If you, or someone you know, have been affected by domestic abuse or violence, these organisations may be able to help. If you are in immediate danger, you should dial 999.

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