The World Boxing Council (WBC) announced it is adding a “transgender” category next year in the name of safety.
WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman made it clear: men cannot fight women, regardless of gender identity.
“It is the time to do this, and we are doing this because of safety and inclusion,” Sulaiman told The Telegraph on Thursday. “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.”
He added, “In boxing, a man fighting a woman must never be accepted regardless of gender change. There should be no gray 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.”
When female world champion boxer Claressa Shields asked for clarification, Sulaiman responded on Twitter.
“Wait so you saying that.. A man, who is now identified as a woman, transgender, is allowed to fight against me?” she asked.
“Dear champion. All to the contrary!” he explained. “@WBCBoxing 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 . Please read full story and not react fast without understanding.”
Dear champion. All to the contrary! @WBCBoxing 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 . Please read full story and not react fast without understanding https://t.co/3eBsdQhJCi— Mauricio Sulaiman (@wbcmoro) December 29, 2022
The WBC — which has 161 member countries, including the United States — plans to create a separate league and tournament for transgender boxers with its own protocols.
“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 said. “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.”