Boxing to introduce new transgender category in 2023


The WBC will issue a ‘global call’ to trans fighters (Picture: Getty)

Boxing plans to introduce a new category for transgender athletes in 2023.

The World Boxing Council [WBC], one of the sport’s leading governing bodies, will invite transgender athletes to come forward next year to compete in a division or tournament solely for trans fighters.

The proposals, put forward by WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman, will ensure trans athletes will not be allowed to complete against non-trans fighters and will adopt the ‘at birth’ rule, meaning trans fighters born a man will only be allowed to compete against other trans fighters born a man.

‘We are going to put out a global call for those who are interested in 2023 and we will set up the protocols, start consultation and most likely create a league and a tournament,’ Sulaiman told the Daily Telegraph.

‘It is the time to do this, and we are doing this because of safety and inclusion.

‘We have been the leaders in rules for women’s boxing – so the dangers of a man fighting a woman will never happen because of what we are going to put in place.

‘In boxing, a man fighting a woman must never be accepted regardless of gender change. There should be no grey area around this, and we want to go into it with transparency and the correct decisions.


The WBC says there will be strict protocols in place (Picture: Getty)

‘Woman to man or man to woman transgender change will never be allowed to fight a different gender by birth.’

He added: ‘We are creating a set of rules and structures so that transgender boxing can take place, as they fully deserve to if they want to box.

‘We do not yet know the numbers that there are out there, but we’re opening a universal registration in 2023, so that we can understand the boxers that are out there – and we’ll start from there.’

The British Boxing Board of Control is also considering its transgender policy and would also adopt the ‘at birth’ policy should they move forward with their own plans.

‘At the moment this is hypothetical but we can see it coming and we are looking at our transgender policy,” said BBBofC general secretary Robert Smith.

‘It is what you are born as, as rugby union does. When it does [happen] we intend to be fully prepared. Medical and, perhaps more importantly, legal considerations will have to be taken into account.’

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