Frank Maloney, the manager who helped make Lennox Lewis Britain's first undisputed heavyweight champion in almost 100 years, is "undergoing a sex change to become a woman" named Kellie. She has been living as a woman for a year and has been undergoing hormone therapy for over two years, but only just made it public now.
Kellie retired from boxing in October 2013, citing a lack of love for the sport. Now she says her retirement was so that she could begin her transition in private.
"I made the decision a long time ago but I retired from boxing because of my profile. I thought that what I wanted to do was to transition in a positive and private way. I closed my websites down, took my Facebook down and my Twitter account so that I could transition peacefully. The suicide rates from the pressure on a transsexual woman are very high and I didn't want to get caught up in it.
Kellie says she has known since she was a child, when she would get jealous of other girls because they were in the right bodies and she wasn't. She clearly struggled to keep it a secret throughout her life—"The feeling of wanting to be like and dress like a woman has always been there"—but it's equally clear her profession made it seem impossible to ever do anything about it.
"But I have never been able to tell anyone in boxing," adds the person who made the careers of British,Commonwealth and European boxing champs, including former world cruiserweight title holder David Haye.
"Can you imagine me walking into a boxing hall dressed as a woman and putting an event on?
After battling depression and alcohol abuse in private, Kellie says she has finally come to terms with herself and no longer cares what the boxing world thinks. At least one person in the profession doesn't seem to care, though. Lennox Lewis has tweeted his support and left a longer message on his Facebook page:
I was just as shocked as anyone at the news about my former promoter and my initial thought was that it was a wind up. The great thing about life, and boxing, is that, day to day, you never know what to expect.
This world we live in isn't always cut and dried or black and white, and coming from the boxing fraternity, I can only imagine what a difficult decision this must be for Kellie (formerly Frank Maloney).
However, having taken some time to read Kellie's statements, I understand better what she, and others in similar situations, are going through. I think that ALL people should be allowed to live their lives in a way that brings them harmony and inner peace.
I respect Kellie's decision and say that if this is what brings about true happiness in her life, than so be it. #LiveAndLetLive
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