Billy Joe's dad thanks public for their support

PUBLISHED: 11:08 24 September 2008 | UPDATED: 22:28 26 October 2009

THE father of Olympic boxer Billy Joe Saunders has spoken of his delight at the support his son has received from the people in Times Territory. In the wake of returning home from the Beijing Games, where Saunders was defeated in the second round of the w

THE father of Olympic boxer Billy Joe Saunders has spoken of his delight at the support his son has received from the people in Times Territory.

In the wake of returning home from the Beijing Games, where Saunders was defeated in the second round of the welterweight category, the 19-year-old had received a letter from the Amateur Boxing Association (ABA) notifying of a suspension.

The charge related to an incident which had occurred months prior to the Games at a GB training camp in France, where it is alleged Billy Joe made remarks of a crude nature to a female.

From the highs of competing in the Far East, to the lows of being banned from the sport he loves, it would have been easy for Herts hitter Saunders to get down about what had happened.

Yet father Tom believes his chin has been kept up by the wonderful support he has received.

Speaking to WHT reporter John Hutchinson, he said: "I would like to congratulate people for understanding Billy Joe's situation.

"In my mind the whole thing has been blown up as a ploy to put pressure on GB head coach Terry Edwards, but the support my lad has received has been amazing.

"People from all over; from Hatfield, WGC, Hertford, Potters Bar, everywhere when Billy Joe has been out, have been patting him on the back and wishing all the luck for the future.

"These are often people who aren't even into boxing who have seen and read what has happened to my Billy Joe, and who know that he has not been treated right, and I would like to thank them for how they have kept my son's spirits up."

Olympian Billy Joe has donated the GB vest he fought in at the Beijing Games to charity, and it has been signed by all the members of the squad, including gold medal winner James DeGale.

Billy Joe Saunders' ABA hearing is scheduled for later this week.

"Billy Joe's uncle, who followed his early career, died of cancer, so it would be good if it could help those who have the disease.

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