Female boxer withdraws due to last-minute revelation of transgender opponent, citing safety concerns

A woman boxer pulled out of a Canadian tournament, expressing concerns for her safety, upon learning that her opponent was transgender.

Dr. Katia Bissonnette, hailing from Saguenay, asserted that she received only one hour’s notice about being paired with transgender fighter Mya Walmsley last month.

Originally slated to compete in the 2023 Provincial Golden Glove Championship in Victoriaville, Quebec, the two fighters were scheduled to go head-to-head.

Bissonnette decided to withdraw at the last moment upon discovering her opponent’s identity, leading to Walmsley being declared the default winner as a replacement in the same weight class couldn’t be found.

Expressing her viewpoint, Bissonnette conveyed to Reduxx, ‘Women shouldn’t have to bear the physical and psychological risks brought by a man’s decisions regarding his personal life and identity. There should be two categories: biological male and female.’ 

Katia Bissonnette, the boxer, opted to withdraw from a Canadian tournament upon discovering that her opponent was transgender.

Bissonnette also referenced a University of Utah study indicating that men can punch 163 percent harder than women. Research on the strength of transgender women suggests that hormone blockers may mitigate this biological advantage to some extent.

Boxing Canada recommends keeping the identity of a transgender fighter confidential if the transition occurred before puberty, aiming to prevent discrimination.

While Walmsley, originally from Australia, maintains an undisclosed history, Bissonnette notes that Walmsley’s file indicates ‘zero fights as a woman’ in Canada.

In response, Walmsley has criticized Bissonnette for publicly revealing her identity instead of addressing the matter privately for resolution.

‘This kind of behavior puts athletes at risk of being excluded or receiving personal attacks based on hearsay,’ Walmsley said in a statement.

‘I am afraid that this type of accusation could eventually be used to delegitimize athletes in the women’s category, and justify arbitrary and invasive regulations.’

Katia Bissonnette withdrew from the competition, citing a study indicating that men can punch 163 percent harder than women as one of her reasons.
The scheduled fight in Victoriaville, Quebec, last month has reignited the ongoing debate about accommodating transgender athletes in sports.

The graduate student in philosophy informed La Presse that she had not undergone a transition to pursue a career in boxing, expressing a sense of being reduced to a ‘political object’ throughout the entire experience.

She advocated for placing trust in coaches and athletes to make informed decisions about the appropriate gender categories for themselves.

The International Olympic Committee had previously decreed that transwomen could participate in female categories if they maintained their testosterone levels below a specified threshold.

Walmsley, however, confirmed that she was not required to undergo testosterone level testing before entering the championship. She contended that such tests were ‘arbitrary and invasive,’ and suggested that insisting on them would lead to a dead end.

This controversy has reignited discussions on the optimal approach to accommodating transgender competitors in sports.

The debate was further fueled by Fallon Fox, the first openly transgender MMA fighter, who disclosed that she had fractured the orbital bone of a female opponent in a match before retiring from the sport. Fox emphasized that such injuries are common in the sport, irrespective of gender.


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