WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman has announced that a call will be put out for transgender boxers in 2023 as the sport looks to adopt a new trans category. According to Sulaiman, the major sanctioning body will look to adopt an “at birth” rule, meaning a trans fighter born a man will only be able to compete against a fellow trans fighter born a man with the same ruling applying to trans fighters born as women.
Trans competitors will also not be allowed to fight against non-trans boxers and will compete solely within their own separate category. The WBC intends to issue a “global call” to tally up the number of trans athletes willing to compete, with the aim of setting up their own separate league.
Disclosing these plans to the Telegraph, Sulaiman said: “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. 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.
“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.”
“At the moment this is hypothetical, but we can see it coming and we are looking at our transgender policy,” he said. “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.”
Currently, trans athletes are able to compete with non-trans athletes on a case-by-case basis under the auspices of certain regulatory bodies, although it is rare that such fights are sanctioned. In 2018, Patricio Manuel became the first transgender man to box professionally in the United States, beating Hugo Aguilar on points.
Manuel was a five-time US Women’s amateur champion before undergoing gender reassignment surgery in 2015. Since then, he has not boxed again and hasn’t announced any plans to return to the ring.