A female boxer in Quebec withdrew from a provincial boxing championship last month after being told without notice that she would have to fight a male-born transgender opponent.
Boxer Dr. Katia Bissonnette of Saguenay refused to step into the ring with transgender opponent Mya Walmsley during the 2023 Provincial Golden Glove Championship, which took place October 27 to 29, according to Reduxx.
The event hosted in Victoriaville, Quebec, by the Quebec Boxing Federation and the KO-96 boxing club was held to give novice fighters a shot at qualifying for the Canadian Championship in December.
But when Bissonnette was told of her match, she says she was unaware that she was to face a male fighter until an hour before fight time.
A female boxer withdrew from a championship in Quebec, Canada, after learning she was set to fight a trans-identified male.
— REDUXX (@ReduxxMag) November 15, 2023
“I came down from my hotel room to head towards the room where all the boxers were warming up. My coach suddenly took me aside and told me he received information by text message, which he had then validated, that my opponent was not a woman by birth. We did not have any other additional information,” Bissonnette told Reduxx.
She added that Walmsley was new to the area, having only moved to Canada from Australia two years ago, and had not been seen in the boxing community until that day.
“[Walmsley] would have boxed as a man in Australia,” Bissonnette explains. “In Quebec, on his file, it is mentioned that he had 0 fights as a woman.”
Because Bissonnette withdrew from the match and no other opponent stepped in to replace her, Walmsley was announced the winner by default.
After she refused to fight him, Walmsley — who has a recent history of political activism at a local university — began issuing threats about “outing” him and insisting that it will have grave consequences for the sport.
“Rather than turning to me, my coach, or the Quebec Olympic Boxing Federation for more information, she decided to turn directly to the media to out me,” Walmsley furiously wrote in a statement. “This kind of behavior puts athletes at risk of being excluded or receiving personal attacks based on hearsay … 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.”
He went on to say that there should be no regulations about transgender athletes and that women should just “trust” trans athletes.
Bissonnette claims that she refused the fight to protect her safety in the ring.
“According to a study, a male blow has 163% more impact than a women’s, even adjusted for weight,” Bissonnette told Reduxx. “In the group studied, the weakest man remains physically superior to the strongest woman.”
The statistic apparently came from a 2020 study on strength by researchers at the University of Utah.
Bissonnette added that trans athletes in close-contact sports are a danger to women.
“Women shouldn’t have to bear the physical and psychological risks brought by a man’s decisions regarding his personal life and identity,” she said. “There should be two categories: biological male and female.”