By Terence Dooley
Billy Joe Saunders (26-0, 12 KOs) has been called before the BBBoC after a video was released in which he taunts an alleged drug addict and persuades her to punch a passer-by in the face. The WBO middleweight titlist travels to Boston next month to defend his belt against Demetrius Andrade at the TD Garden, but must first explain his conduct to the Board’s Stewards 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 the Board on a misconduct charge next week,’ wrote the Board when confirming the charge.
Saunders was filmed offering the woman “£150 of crack” if she performed a sex act on one of his friends before telling her that a nearby man was a paedophile and deserved a punch. The 29-year-old had pulled up to the woman in his Rolls Royce in the Nottinghamshire region of the UK before making the offer.
The woman in question acted on his demand that she hit the passer-by before apologising to the man when Saunders revealed it had all been a joke. Saunders took to Twitter today to apologise for his conduct, writing: ‘Apologise to everybody who's took offence. Totally in the wrong, can't do anything but be sorry. 'Banter when wrong'. Apologies once again.’
The local police force are now looking into the matter, telling the Daily Mail that: “Officers will be looking to identify and speak to all of those who feature in this sickening video. 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.
“Incidents of this nature will not be tolerated in Nottinghamshire, and we would urge anyone who witnessed this incident, or who has any further information about those responsible to come forward. Anyone with information is asked to contact Nottinghamshire Police, quoting incident 887 of 17 September.”
Saunders won his title courtesy of a decision win over Andy Lee in December 2015 and has since defended it against Artur Akavov, Willie Monroe Jr. and David Lemieux, all decision wins; he also hit the headlines last month after engaging in a food fight with members of Deontay Wilder’s team in a chicken shop in Belfast but was not brought before the Board for that incident.
This time, though, he will have to explain the contents of the video to the BBBoC and could be hit with a fine, although those who are calling for him to be banned will be left disappointed at the Board are highly unlikely to go down this route and there is not a historical precedent for it.
Please send news and views to @Terryboxing.