Boxer Billy Joe Saunders apologises for advice on hitting women in coronavirus lockdown

by Amber Milne | @hiyaimamber | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Sunday, 29 March 2020 16:35 GMT

Billy Joe Saunders during the media work out Action London, Britain September 25, 2019 Images via Reuters/John Sibley

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The boxer apologised for posting a video of him showing men under coronavirus lockdown how to hit women

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By Amber Milne

LONDON, March 29 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The WBO super middleweight world champion Billy Joe Saunders apologised on Sunday for a video in which he advised men how to hit their female partners during the coronavirus lockdown.

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In the video, the 30-year-old British boxer threw two punches at a bag in his barn, saying this was how men could manage "if your old woman is giving you mouth".

"As she comes in she's just about to say something, all of a sudden you explode, bam," Saunders said in the video while demonstrating how to "hit her on the chin" and "finish her off".

But after outrage on Twitter, with some calling for Saunders to be banned from the sport, the boxer apologised and clarified he did not condone men hitting women.

"I would never condone domestic violence and if I saw a man touch a woman I would smash him to pieces myself," he said on Twitter. "Apologies if I offended any women."

This was not his first brush with social media controversy. Saunders was fined 100,000 pounds ($125,000) in 2018 by the British Boxing Board of Control for posting a video in which he offered a woman drugs to perform a sex act on another person.

The latest video, that came to notice after being circulated on Whatsapp, comes amid rising concern about an increase in domestic violence during the coronavirus lockdown.

Britain's interior minister, Priti Patel, writing in the Mail on Sunday newspaper, acknowledged isolation measures may leave victims of abuse feeling vulnerable and made clear anyone at risk could leave their home despite the restrictions.

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($1 = 0.8031 pounds)

(Reporting by Amber Milne; Editing by Belinda Goldsmith Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org)

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