BILLY JOE SAUNDERS has been charged with misconduct by the British Boxing Board of Control after the emergence of video footage in which he appears to offer a woman drugs.
Images filmed from inside the WBO world middleweight champion’s car show him speaking to a woman through the passenger window.
Saunders offers £150 worth of drugs to the woman to perform a sex act.
He then asks her to punch a passer-by, which she does, before the boxer drives off.
The British Boxing Board of Control will stage a hearing next week to investigate the incident, for which Saunders has apologised on social media.
A day for the hearing is yet to be set by the British Boxing Board of Control, but their general secretary Robert Smith has confirmed that there could be wide ranging sanctions if the charge is upheld.
“Billy Joe Saunders has been charged with misconduct,” Smith told Press Association Sport. “We’re in the process of organising the hearing for next week.”
The 29-year-old Saunders, who is due to defend his title against Demetrius Andrade in Boston on October 20, could be suspended, have his licence withdrawn, or be fined.
He has regardless also described the incident as an ill-judged joke, writing on social media: “(I) apologise to everybody who’s took offence, totally in the wrong, can’t do anything but be sorry. ‘Banter when wrong’. Apologies once again.”
A statement released by Nottinghamshire Police described the footage as “sickening”, and an investigation is to be launched into the “number of offences” seen.
“A woman is offered drugs in exchange for committing an act of violence, and potentially committing a sex act in public,” a Nottinghamshire Police spokesperson told Press Association Sport.
“Officers will be looking to identify and speak to all of those who feature in this sickening video, and 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.”
The incident is the latest to undermine Saunders’ reputation. Last December he produced a career-best performance that was considered among the finest by any Briton fighting overseas, to outpoint David Lemieux in Canada, but he was then criticised for withdrawing from another fight with Martin Murray through injury and has since been inactive.
In Belfast last month he was also chased out of a restaurant, having allegedly thrown chicken at WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder, who is scheduled to fight his friend Tyson Fury.