In Depth

Frank Maloney: trans news sparks shock, support and humour

Jokes and encouragement greet news that former boxing promoter is living as a woman called Kellie

The boxing world has reacted with a mixture of surprise and compassion to the news that the promoter formerly known as Frank Maloney is living as a woman. Maloney, who helped Lennox Lewis become World Heavyweight Champion, is undergoing treatment for gender realignment and is now known as Kellie.

The 61-year-old told the Sunday Mirror: "I wasn't born into the right body. I have always known I was a woman. I can't keep living in the shadows."

The revelation has caused widespread comment in the boxing community but reaction to it has been almost universally supportive.

Writing on his Facebook page, Lennox Lewis admitted he was "shocked" by the news and admitted his "initial thought was that it was a wind-up". But Lewis added: "I respect Kellie's decision and say that if this is what brings about true happiness in her life, than so be it."

Former world cruiserweight champion Johnny Nelson also took a supportive stance, telling Maloney: "It's your life, don't make others stop who you are. Ignorance is the problem of others, not yours."

Maloney's mother Maureen took a humorous approach, asking: "Why didn't you come to me when you were younger? All we had to do was change the 'I' to an 'E' in your name, Francis."

Other commenters also broached the subject with humour.

"So Frank Maloney has swapped boxing gloves for chiffon gloves!" quipped the colourful football agent Eric Hall. But he added: "Jokes aside he's an old mate and it took guts to come out. Good luck Kellie."

Despite the generally positive tenor of messages from the boxing community, not everyone welcomed Maloney's decision. "Well, I am in deep shock," boxing trainer Charlie Rumble posted on Facebook. "My old pal Frank Maloney has had a sex change. It's true I'm afraid it's in the papers today."

But the overwhelming response was supportive. TalkSport broadcaster and former footballer Stan Collymore wrote on Twitter: "I wish Frank Maloney, now Kellie all the very best. Being who he wants to be after 61 years. Nobody deserves to begrudge him happiness."

And boxing fan Irvine Welsh, the author of Trainspotting and Filth, said: "All the best to Kellie, formerly Frank Maloney, in her new life. Great achievements happen in boxing, as elsewhere, irrespective of gender."

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