Female Fighter Quits When Opponent Identity Is Revealed

Mya Walmsley, an Australian transsexual, won a women’s boxing competition in Quebec, Canada, by default at the end of October. From October 27-29, 2023, amateur boxers in Quebec’s Victoriaville competed in the Provincial Golden Glove Championship in hopes of advancing to December’s Canadian Championship.

Dr. Katia Bissonnette, a psychotherapist and former drug addict, felt she had a good chance in the 165-pound super welterweight division. Concordia University teaching assistant and philosophy major Walmsley, 27, found out one hour before the battle that her opponent was backing out.

Boxing Canada and the Quebec Olympic Boxing Federation (QOBF) did not inform that Walmsley was a man, as they feared it might break Safe Sports laws and constitute defamation.

According to Bissonnette, the fact that a seasoned referee was sent shows that the organizers were aware of the potential for harm.

Bissonnette, who was used to fighting female opponents, recalls wondering about whether or not they would be fighting “on equal terms,” adding that she would suffer from repercussions, like a concussion or even a coma, if the battle went badly.

The harsh reality check saddened the teaching assistant and philosophy major, Walmsley. He previously boxed in male tournaments but claims not to have transitioned for a competitive edge.

According to research published in the Journal of Experimental Biology in 2020, on average, a man is stronger than a woman regarding striking strength. According to research published in the journal Sports Medicine in 2021, the gender disparity in athletic performance widens significantly around puberty, often ranging from 10% to 50%, depending on the activity.

According to Walmsley, who was scheduled to fight Bissonnette, he did not need to have a testosterone test since doing so would be “arbitrary and intrusive.” He advocated allowing players more autonomy in determining their gender classifications inside sports organizations.

Bissonnette has high expectations that the federation would take this occurrence as an opportunity to clarify its regulations. She thinks males shouldn’t be able to make choices about women’s bodies and minds and then expect them to accept the consequences. Canada’s boxing governing body has acknowledged that a special committee addresses transgender athletes.