The World Boxing Council (WBC), one of four worldwide organizations that sanction professional boxing bouts, is reportedly planning to establish a new category for transgender fighters in 2023.
According to The Telegraph, the organization will be initiating a "global call" for transgender athletes to come forward ahead of the new year with the aim of setting up either a new league or tournament.
Mauricio Sulaiman, WBC president, believes that the sport of boxing needs to evolve for "safety and inclusion" reasons.
"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 said. "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."
Sulaiman said that 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. Woman to man or man to woman transgender change will never be allowed to fight a different gender by birth."
Sulaiman said that the organization is creating a set of rules and structures so that transgender people can partake in professional boxing, "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."
In Britain, the British Boxing Board of Control has announced that they are examining their transgender policy for athletes, adding that they are also committed to adopting an "at birth" policy.
"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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