London (AFP) – WBO super-middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders has been fined £15,000 ($19,000) by the British Board of Boxing Control (BBBoC) but is free to box again after they lifted the suspension of his licence.
The 30-year-old English boxer had landed himself in hot water when he issued a video on social media in March offering men advice on how to hit their partners during the coronavirus lockdown.
In it he used a punchbag to describe how to “hit her on the chin”.
He subsequently apologised, putting it down to misplaced humour and saying he would donate £25,000 to domestic abuse charities.
That was not sufficient for the BBBoC, which suspended his licence and ordered him to appear at a disciplinary hearing on Wednesday.
“Following consideration of Mr. Saunders’ explanation, the stewards (board) found Mr. Saunders guilty of misconduct and have fined him £15,000.00p to be donated to charities,” read a BBBoC statement.
“The suspension of his boxer’s licence has been lifted.”
It is not the first time Saunders has landed himself in trouble with the authorities in recent years.
He issued an apology in March after he called Delta Airlines to say a friend — who was due to travel from Las Vegas to New York — was displaying coronavirus symptoms.
The friend was removed from the flight along with Saunders’ trainer Ben Davison and stablemate Josh Taylor.
The friend subsequently tested negative for COVID-19.
In 2018 Saunders was fined £100,000 and issued with a severe reprimand about his future conduct by the BBBoC after video footage emerged of him appearing to offer a woman drugs.
His actions were filmed from his car and seemingly showed him offering drugs to the woman to perform a sex act, as well as asking her to punch a passer-by, which she did, before he drove off.
Unbeaten in 29 bouts, Saunders held a world title in the middleweight division before moving up to super-middleweight.
He became a two-weight world champion when he defeated Shefat Isufi in May 2019.