The World Boxing Council plans to introduce a category for transgender fighters in 2023, WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman told a London newspaper Thursday.
The measure is being undertaken, Sulaiman told The Telegraph, “because of safety and inclusion” and to ensure that “a man fighting a woman will never happen.”
WBC will employ an “at birth” rule, under which a transgender fighter who was assigned male at birth will be allowed to box only against other transgender fighters assigned male at birth, with a similar limitation applying to transgender fighters assigned female at birth.
“The World Boxing Council, through its medical committee and technical committee, reached a determination after studies and an important talk during the WBC annual convention, an absolute and total confirmation was reached to not allow fights between people born men against people born women regardless of their current gender,” Sulaiman told ESPN via audio message. “That is the main determination to not allow fights between men and women for the protection that we have always had of women’s boxing.
“On the other hand, a program is opened — with a committee — to allow transgender people to participate in boxing if they wish. It is an inclusion program, and the WBC rejects any type of discrimination. That is why instead of simply rejecting and putting aside transgender people who want to box, man against man or woman against woman of birth will have parameters and a committee that endorses and gives them a special program.”
Sulaiman also said the WBC will start seeking out athletes interested in competing in 2023 and will “most likely create a league and a tournament.”