In a major move to finally settle the debate surrounding transgender boxers, the World Boxing Council has revealed its plans to introduce a new transgender category in 2023.

The announcement came from WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman himself, who is calling on trans fighters to support the move. He explained that the organisation is putting a priority on the safety of every boxer regardless of gender. The WBC is looking at creating a league and tournament to provide a platform for transgender athletes to showcase their skills.

The introduction of the transgender category will effectively ban trans men and women from fighting against non-trans boxers. Furthermore, it is not simply about creating a category where trangenders can compete against one another. There will also be an "at birth" rule.

This means that a transgender woman born a man will only be able to fight another trans woman who was born a man and vice versa.

"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," said Sulaiman, as quoted by The Telegraph.

World Athletics chief Sebastian Coe
World Athletics chief Sebastian Coe said he favours "fairness" over inclusion in the debate on transgender athletes AFP / Charly TRIBALLEAU

"In boxing, a man fighting a woman must never be accepted regardless of gender change," he added, echoing the sentiments of numerous female athletes who have been opposed to allowing transgender women born as men to compete against them.

"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," he concluded.

Meanwhile, the British Boxing Board of Control also confirmed that they fully intend to uphold the "at birth" policy. The same rule is being used by the Rugby Union, and the BBB of C believes that it is the best way forward in order to ensure the safety of all athletes while also promoting inclusivity.

Sulaiman emphasised that the WBC is determined to allow transgender boxing to take place, but in a safe environment with corresponding rules and structures.

swimming pool
Swimming will set up an 'open category' to allow transgender athletes to compete as part of a new policy which will effectively ban them from women's races AFP / Attila KISBENEDEK