Transgender boxing division hits a snag as WBC president provides update

Transgender boxing division hits a snag as WBC president provides update - EXCLUSIVE | Boxing | Sport

WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman says the response to join a new transgender boxing division has been “very minimal”. The major sanctioning body put out a “global call” twelve months ago to tally up the number of trans athletes willing to compete in the sport, with the aim of setting up a separate league.

However, there have been no formal applications at the time of writing although discussions are still ongoing with groups and individuals.

Speaking exclusively to Express Sport, Sulaiman said: “It’s been a very, very slow call. A bit complicated. It made the headlines as a popular topic worldwide. However, the response has been very, very minimal as far as athletes that would be eligible to look into creating a tournament or a division or a category specifically for transgender athletes. So the transgender situation, it is a topic of interest, but there is not a universe of athletes at this time.”

Asked whether the WBC have received any applications from willing participants, Sulaiman replied: “No, we have had discussions with groups. There is one gymnasium in New York which is for transgender athletes. We have had calls with groups.

“There was an informal approach from one fighter who has transitioned. We have each other’s numbers but we have not spoken directly.”

The WBC have made it clear that they intend to adopt an “at birth” rule for the division, meaning a trans fighter born a man will only be able to compete against a fellow trans fighter born a man with the same rule applying to trans fighters born as women. Trans competitors will also not be permitted to fight against non-trans boxers and must compete solely within their own separate categories under the auspices of the WBC.

Currently, trans fighters can compete with non-trans competitors on a case-by-case basis under various regulatory bodies, although it is rare that such fights are sanctioned. The only known example in professional boxing is Patricio Manuel, a transgender man, who has competed three times in the men’s super-featherweight division.

Manuel was a five-time US Women’s amateur champion before undergoing gender reassignment surgery in 2015. He has gone on to win all three of his bouts in the paid ranks with his most recent victory coming in June of this year on a Golden Boy Promotions card, promoted by former six-weight world champion Oscar De La Hoya.

 

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