The former promoter of heavyweight boxing champion Lennox Lewis has shocked the sporting world by coming out as transgender.
Frank Maloney, 61, stunned boxing fans when he revealed in an exclusive interview with the Sunday Mirror that he is a living as a woman called Kellie – and is preparing to undergo sex reassignment surgery.
In a candid interview, Kellie bravely explained how she had always felt she had ‘a female brain’ but was unable to come out because of fears of how the macho world of boxing would respond.
‘I was born in the wrong body and I have always known I was a woman,’ she said.
‘I can’t keep living in the shadows, that is why I am doing what I am today. Living with the burden any longer would have killed me.’
The revelation is more surprising after controversial comments about sexual minorities made by Maloney while standing for UKIP in the 2010 General Election.
Maloney angered the LGBT community and was branded ‘a dangerous extremist’ when he told the BBC that he would not campaign in Camden because there were ‘too many gays…I don’t think they do a lot for society’.
However talking about the anger and denial Kellie felt as Frank may go some way to providing contexts for the outbursts.
The announcement took social media by storm.
Many users expressed disbelief with some even believing the story was a hoax.
Most, however, were quick to tweet messages of support for Kellie, who remains the only Brit to have ever managed an undisputed heavyweight champion.
All the best to Kellie, formerly Frank Maloney, in her new life. Great achievements happen in boxing, as elsewhere, irrespective of gender.—
Irvine Welsh (@IrvineWelsh) August 10, 2014
Good on Frank Maloney! Why should he hide his present/future life because of his past?!—
Adam. (@Adam1878) August 10, 2014
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.—
Stan Collymore (@StanCollymore) August 10, 2014