WATCH: Boxer divides opinion in Spain after beating up an ‘abusive boyfriend’ who was ‘shouting at his girlfriend’ inside a cinema

A YOUNG boxer from the northern Spanish province of Leon has offered heartfelt apologies in a video message, after a video of him beating up an ‘abusive boyfriend’ who was ‘shouting at his girlfriend’ inside a cinema during a children’s movie went viral. 

The incident began during a screening of the film Garfield, when patrons of the cinema began to recriminate the man, who was being aggressive toward his girlfriend, reportedly grabbing her by the neck, and also bumping into a young girl nearby as the pair struggled.

The man then responded to members of the public by threatening several of the people who had spoken to him, as well as children, which prompted boxer Antonio Barrul, 25, to get involved in the disturbance. 

As can be seen in the viral video of the incident, tensions continued to rise as the man proffered a series of insults toward Barrul.

Boxer Antonio Barrul
Boxer Antonio Barrul. Social media

The boxer, who was at the cinema with his own wife and children, is seen walking away from the aggressive man, until he returns in response to the insults and the pair square up to each other. 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, given that Barrul was named last year by a boxing website as the most promising newcomer in the featherweight category, he quickly got the better of the other man and blows are seen raining down on him.

Rather than recriminating Barrul for his violence, onlookers can be heard in the video applauding him for taking action against the man. 

The viral video of the incident (l) and an apology from Barrul for his actions.

Barrul is then seen apologising to the patrons in the cinema, in particular given that there were children present. 

“He hit his wife and a little girl,” Barrul later explained during an interview on Telecinco daytime show Vamos a Ver. “He threatened me and although I don’t justify violence, I feel he forced me to do it. He was an abuser and had to be stopped.” 

As well as appearing in a series of television interviews, Barrul also released several videos apologising for what he did, admitting that he lost control of his actions and saying he was sorry.

But the boxer’s actions have divided social media users. While many have applauded him for taking matters into his own hands against a clear case of gender violence, others have questioned whether he should have attacked the man given that he was no longer hurting anyone.

Barrul explains the incident on Spanish TV channel La Sexta.

“Pure poetry,” wrote one user of social network X (formerly Twitter) about the incident. “We need more people like this guy.”

“The only thing we can do is congratulate him!” wrote another. 

Others had a more nuanced response.

“Well, the boxer tried to get him to calm down several times but there was no way. He insults him and the guy loses control and gives him a spanking. Then he apologises to the [cinema] audience and then on the TV. He is not a hero for giving him what he deserved but he is a hero for intervening.”

“No, and a thousand times no,” one user wrote. “The next thing will be skinning a rapist in a public square.”

Despite the polarised opinion on social media, the boxing authorities in Spain will not be taking action against Barrul, meaning there is no chance he will lose his licence. 

“He will not be sanctioned,” Arantxa Lorenzo, president of the Castilla y Leon Boxing Federation told newspaper El Diario de Leon. “He acted in a complicated situation in aid of a person and it is beyond human imagination that this could be reproachable. As a federation official and as a woman, my feelings are of gratitude and support.”

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