Middleweight world champion Billy Joe Saunders has apologised for offering a drug addict “£150 of crack” in exchange for performing a sex act and assaulting a stranger, describing the incident as “banter”.
Video footage that emerged earlier this week shows Saunders, 29, sat inside a Rolls Royce encouraging a woman to perform a sex act on his friend and attack an innocent bystander for being “a paedophile”.
The woman, who is believed to be a 37-year-old drug addict from the Nottinghamshire area, then hits the passer-by before Saunders drives away laughing.
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“Apologise to everybody who’s took offence,” Saunders tweeted on Tuesday morning, shortly before the British Boxing Board of Control announced that they had charged him with misconduct. The BBBC will stage a hearing next week to investigate the incident.
“Totally in the wrong, can’t do anything but be sorry. ‘Banter when (sic) wrong’. Apologies once again.”
Saunders’ social media apology comes after Nottinghamshire Police announced that they were investigating the “sickening” clip.
“Officers will be looking to identify and speak to all of those who feature in this sickening video,” a spokesperson told the Daily Mail.
“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 became the WBO middleweight world champion when he beat Andy Lee in December 2015. He previously held the European, British, and Commonwealth middleweight titles.
However the middleweight is no stranger to controversy. In November 2017, Saunders was described as a “vile bully” for taking a photograph of a gender neutral shop assistant, which he posted to his social media feed with the caption: “Walking through Meadowhall Sheffield and see this. Confused.”
While his amateur career was briefly halted when he was suspended by the Amateur Boxing Association during the 2008 Olympics for alleged lewd behaviour towards a woman.
Saunders will next fight on 20 October in Massachusetts, Boston, when he defends his WBO title against Demetrius Andrade.