Transgender boxing promoter in biggest fight of her life

Wed Jun 3, 2015 12:02pm EDT
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By Kieran Guilbert

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - One of the biggest characters in international boxing is back - just weeks after completing the transition from male to female.

Boxing promoter Kellie Maloney - formerly known as the loud-mouthed, wise-cracking Frank - once guided Lennox Lewis to the world heavyweight title at the height of an illustrious career.

But the death of her father, breakdown of her second marriage and a suicide attempt compelled the 62-year-old finally to confront the truth - that she identified as a woman.

Having fully transitioned, and traded the glitz and glamor of championship bouts in New York and Las Vegas for an amateur fight in Glasgow, Maloney has returned with a point to prove.

"I needed to show the world that I hadn't undergone a brain transplant, but just corrected something that went wrong at birth," Maloney tells the Thomson Reuters Foundation in the sun-soaked lounge of her flat in Bromley, south London.

Maloney's return to promoting boxing follows a tumultuous two years in which she went public with her transition to avoid being exposed by the media, appeared on reality television show "Celebrity Big Brother" and almost died during cosmetic surgery.

Sitting in her lounge - surrounded by family photographs, artwork and Buddha ornaments where boxing memorabilia might once have taken pride of place - Maloney says she missed the sport which dictated and defined the first 60 years of her life.

She was persuaded back into boxing by Tony Jones, an amateur fighter who knocked on the transgender promoter's door and asked her to manage him, and made her comeback in a low-key event in the cramped hall of a Scottish leisure center at the end of May.   Continued...