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World Boxing Council to add transgender fighter category: 'In boxing, a man fighting a woman must never be accepted'

JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images

World Boxing Council president Mauricio Sulaiman has indicated that the WBC plans to develop a program in which transgender fighters compete against opponents who share the same biological sex — he is adamant that biological men should never fight against biological women.

"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, according to The Telegraph.

"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. 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," he 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," he said, according to the outlet. "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."

The issue of allowing biologically male athletes who identify as women to compete in women's sports has been a contentious topic, with critics pointing to people like Lia Thomas, the transgender woman who made waves racking up wins while competing in women's swimming for the University of Pennsylvania.

"@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," Sulaiman tweeted.

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