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Billy Joe Saunders’ license suspended, Canelo bout on hold after domestic violence joke

The undefeated champion was scheduled to defend his title against Canelo Alvarez

Boxing from the Manchester Arena
Billy Joe Saunders in 2018 after his defeat of Charles Agamu.
Photo By David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Originally, Billy Joe Saunders was scheduled to defend his WBO Super Middleweight title against Canelo Alvarez on May 2 in Las Vegas. The coronavirus pandemic had already put that fight on hold, but recent developments tables it altogether.

Saunders’ boxing license has been suspended, with the British Boxing Board of Control being moved to act in the wake of his latest controversial video. In the clip, Saunders illustrated how to punch a woman who is irritating you during the coronavirus lockdown.

The BBBoC officially commented by saying, “The British Boxing Board of Control having considered comments made by Billy Joe Saunders on social media 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.”

Heather Hardy and Claressa Shields, among others, tweeted their objection to the British boxer’s attempt at comedy.

While the hearing will likely remain in limbo for some time thanks to the coronavirus, promoter Eddie Hearn spoke to talkSPORT’s Laura Woods about his client’s actions—and didn’t hold back.

“But when I talk to him I will say to him: ‘You’re a prat! What are you doing?!’ You can’t justify it, I can only tell you that he does have a good heart and he doesn’t mean anything in the video. But you just can’t do that, especially when you’re in that position. It’s unacceptable for Joe Bloggs down the street to do it, so it’s much more unacceptable for a world champion boxer to do it.”

Saunders deleted his Twitter account and gave interviews apologizing for his actions, while also stating that his three children had been the subject of death threats. He later reactivated his Twitter account, applauded the video Claressa Shields posted, and tweeted an apology.

In 2018, Saunders was fined 100,000 pounds by the BBBoC for another ill-advised attempt at a comedic video. Saunders offered a woman £150 worth of drugs to perform a sex act or punch a passerby. Ultimately, she punched someone prior to Saunders leaving the scene.