- Dr. Katia Bissonnette withdrew from the 2023 Provincial Golden Glove Championship in Victoriaville, Quebec after learning she was due to compete against Mya Walmsley
- Walmsley was declared the winner by default after organizers could not find a replacement for her to fight
- Bissonnette cited ‘physical and psychological risks’ as the reason for her withdrawal
A female boxer withdrew from a Canadian tournament after being told her rival is transgender, citing safety fears.
Dr. Katia Bissonnette, from Saguenay, claims she was given just an hour’s notice she was being matched with transgender fighter Mya Walmsley last month.
The two had been due to face off in the 2023 Provincial Golden Glove Championship in Victoriaville, Quebec.
But Bissonnette withdrew at the last second after learning the identity of her opponent, resulting in Walmsley being declared the winner by default as they could not find anyone else to take her position in the same weight class.
‘Women shouldn’t have to bear the physical and psychological risks brought by a man’s decisions regarding his personal life and identity,’ Bissonnette told Reduxx. ‘There should be two categories: biological male and female.’
Boxer Katia Bissonnette withdrew from a Canadian tournament after learning her opponent was transgender
Bissonnette did not want to fight Mya Walmsley amid safety concerns. Walmsley was declared the winner by default after the organizers could not find a replacement for Bissonnette in the fight
She also cited a study by the University of Utah which found that men can punch 163 per cent harder than women.
Studies on the strength of transgender women suggest that hormone blockers may reduce this biological advantage slightly.
According to Boxing Canada, a trans fighter’s identity should not be disclosed if a transition was undertaken before puberty to prevent discrimination.
Walmsley is originally from Australia her history is not known, Bissonnette said.
She claims that Walmsley’s file indicates ‘zero fights as a woman’ in Canada.
For her part, Walmsley has criticized Bissonnette for publicly outing her rather than approaching her directly for a 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.’
The Canadian fighter cited a study which said that men can punch 163 per cent harder than women as one of the reasons she withdrew
The fight was due to take place in Victoriaville, Quebec last month and has reignited the debate over how to accommodate trans athletes in sport
The philosophy Masters student told La Presse that she had not transitioned to become a boxer and that the whole ordeal had left her feeling like a ‘political object’.
She advocated trusting coaches and athletes to choose the correct gender categories for themselves.
The International Olympic Committee previously ruled that transwomen could compete in female categories if they lower their testosterone to a certain level.
But Walmsley confirmed she did not have to test her levels prior to enrolling in the championship.
She argued the ‘arbitrary and invasive’ tests would lead to a dead end to require this kind of tests’.
The controversy has reignited the debate around the best way to accommodate trans competitors in sports.
It comes after Fallon Fox, the first openly transgender MMA fighter, revealed she had fractured a female competitor’s bone during a bout prior to her retirement from the sport.
Tamika Brents sustained a broken orbital bone, which Fox pointed out is a common injury within the sport regardless of gender.