Next year, the WBC will call for all transgender boxers to come forward so as to be able to compete in a new division, or in tournaments that will be solely for transgender fighters. WBC president Maurico Sulaiman, speaking exclusively with The Telegraph says “it is time to do this, and we are doing this because of safety and inclusion.”
As per the news story, the new division will see to it that non-trans fighters will never be able to fight transgender fighters. The new rule that will be adopted is called the ‘at birth’ rule, meaning that trans fighters born a man will only be able to box 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 said. “It is 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.”
Sulaiman added how the number of transgender athletes “that are out there” is not currently known, but that the WBC will open a “universal registration in 2023, so that we can understand the boxers that are out there.”
It’s not clear how many weight divisions there will be for transgender boxers, or if other governing bodies will follow the WBC’s lead. The British Boxing Board of Control is at this time considering its transgender policy, but BBB of C general secretary Robert Smith has said things are “at this moment hypothetical but we can see it coming and we are looking at our transgender policy.”
This is a big step and for some fight fans a transgender division will no doubt take some getting used to. But as Sulaiman says, safety is paramount in the sport of boxing.