The World Boxing Council (WBC) will roll out a transgender boxing category in the upcoming year, to make sure that transgender fighters never get into the ring with the opposite sex.
WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman told The Telegraph that it’s unacceptable for biological men to box in the women’s category, even if they’ve undergone gender reassignment surgery.
“In boxing, a man fighting a woman must never be accepted regardless of gender change,” he insisted.
“There should be no grey area around this, and we want to go into it with transparency and the correct decisions,” Sulaiman explained.
“Woman to man or man to woman transgender change will never be allowed to fight a different gender by birth.”
He’s not sure how many transgender boxers there are in the world, but believes they are “fully” within their rights to participate in the sport under their own category.
“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,” Sulaiman stated.
“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,” he detailed about the pioneering decision.
Two-time American Olympic middleweight gold medalist Claressa Shields was confused by the announcement and tweeted Sulaiman for clarification on Thursday.
“Wait so you saying that…. A man, who is now identified as a woman, transgender, is allowed to fight against me?” She questioned.
“All to the contrary!” he replied. “[The WBC] rejects and bans any boxing involving a born man vs a born woman. A transgender program is being developed as a form of inclusion but never man vs woman.”
Sulaiman detailed how the WBC would go about making the separate transgender category.
“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,” he expounded on the plan.
“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.”
Transgender athletes participating in women’s sports became highly controversial in the last year, as biological men have dominated the women’s categories they have been competing in.
Most recently, transgender cyclist Austin Killips, 27, who won the Verge Northhampton International Cyclocross race, was allowed to compete due to the event’s inclusion policy.
“We recognize that participation in sport is a human right,” the policy states.
“We strive to create an enjoyable event for those currently active in cyclocross in all the different ways they participate, and an inviting one for those who have not joined us yet.”
However, the policy conflicts with the worlds governing body of cycling, Union Cycliste Internationale’s, rules that require a long waiting period and testosterone testing for biological men who have transitioned to female.
Transgender women who want to ride in UCI-sanctioned events are required to wait 24 months before they are eligible to compete in women’s events, and must have a serum testosterone level of 2.5 nanomoles/liter or less.
The policy was put into place after outrage erupted over transgender British cyclist Emily Bridges attempt to compete with women in the National Omnium Championships in April.
Her eligibility from the race was revoked when the policy went into effect on July 1.
University of Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines, blasted former UPenn swimmer Lia Thomas, who became the first transgender Division I champion, when she joined the women’s swimming team in her final year of college, after competing in the men’s category for three years prior.
Thomas was recently featured in an ESPN advertisement, where she that the win left her “humbled and honored.”
“I can only hope I’m able to give other trans people the inspiration and motivation I was given,” Thomas added.
“To me, hearing that, all I hear is selfishness,” Gaines told Fox News. “I hear lack of self-awareness, and I hear utter disregard and disrespect toward women — women who have dedicated their entire lives to their sport.”
Gaines tied with Thomas for fifth place March’s 200-yard freestyle NCAA Championship.
“Women who have dedicated their entire lives to their sport, not just one year after the year before ranking in the 500s and 600s as a biological male,” she continued. “That’s what this was.”
“Nothing about what I just said is an opinion and if it frustrates someone, or makes someone upset, I think that speaks volumes,” Gaines concluded.