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Boxing federation plans new trans category


The World Boxing Council (WBC) will issue a call to trans fighters in 2023 with aim of creating a new category for them, president Mauricio Sulaiman has revealed.

According to the boxing boss, the category would follow the ‘at birth’ rule, meaning trans fighters can only face opponents who were assigned the same gender as them when they were born.

“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 Telegraph.

The WBC chief added that the organization was taking the step in the interests 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,” said Sulaiman.

The issue of trans participation in sport has become increasingly contentious in recent years.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has promoted inclusion for trans athletes but has largely passed the buck to individual sports federations to determine the risks and fairness of male-born athletes competing against female-born rivals.  

Sulaiman said that in the case of 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. Woman to man or man to woman transgender change will never be allowed to fight a different gender by birth,” he added.

Sulaiman said that the WBC was nonetheless aiming to ensure participation as trans boxers “fully deserve to [compete] if they want to box.”

“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 added.

Governing bodies in some sports such as triathlon have allowed trans participation as long as certain rules on testosterone levels are adhered to, while others such as swimming federation World Aquatics (formerly FINA) have created a separate ‘open’ category.

US trans college swimmer Lia Thomas has made particular headlines in the past 12 months after the male-born athlete dominated a series of women’s events while competing for the University of Pennsylvania.     

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