Former boxing promoter Frank Maloney has revealed she is undergoing gender reassignment therapy in an exclusive interview with Matthew Drake of the Sunday Mirror.
The 61-year-old, who was responsible for the rise of former world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis, retired from the sport in October last year.
She is quoted as telling the Sunday Mirror:
I was born in the wrong body and I have always known I was a woman.
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.
What was wrong at birth is now being medically corrected. I have a female brain. I knew I was different from the minute I could compare myself to other children. I wasn’t in the right body. I was jealous of girls.
Now named Kellie, the former boxing mogul believes being on hormones affected her judgement in managing another British heavyweight fighter, David Price.
Price fought American Tony Thompson twice in the space of five months, the rematch coming after the Liverpudlian suffered a second-round TKO in front of his hometown fans in February 2013.
The second fight didn't go much better for Kellie's fighter. Returning to the Liverpool Echo Arena, the fight ended once again with the referee intervening after Price took a number of heavy punches in the fifth round.
Kellie was quoted in the Sunday Mirror as saying:
With the Price fight I was unhappy with the rematch. I had made a bad decision over it. I tried my hardest to talk David out of that rematch and the old Frank Maloney would have won that argument.
But this time I didn’t have the energy to fight, and I walked out of that meeting and turned to my daughter and said ‘you know what? That’s the first time in my life I have let a fighter and a lawyer dictate to me. It is the worst decision I will ever make in boxing’.
I knew I was no longer cut out for this business. I had been on hormones for a year and I think they had softened me.
Kellie was one of the highest-profile promoters in boxing during her 30-year career in the sport.
Her partnership with Lewis saw the 1988 Olympic gold medallist become the first British world heavyweight champion in the 20th century after then-champion Riddick Bowe refused to fight the Londoner.
Lewis defended his title successfully on three occasions before being beaten by Oliver McCall in 1994.
Kellie was also responsible for the rise of David Haye during her career and guided Rendall Munroe to the WBA International Super Bantamweight title in 2011.
But Kellie told the Sunday Mirror she could no longer continue in that role as her desire to become a woman grew stronger.
She is quoted as saying:
My life was spiralling out of control. I was finding it harder to contain my desire. I was now doing the boxing business through instinct and memory. I used to shut myself away in the office. Thankfully, I had some good staff around me.
But I was very unhappy. My temper was getting worse. I was determined it wouldn’t beat me, but I knew it would always be there.
I remember having a row with a counsellor I was secretly talking to. All that I wanted him to say was that I wasn’t transsexual. He said: ‘I can’t tell you that.’ I said: ‘Well, how do you know I’m transsexual?’ and he said ‘Because you keep ringing’.
I checked myself into a private clinic where they dealt with drug, alcohol and depression issues. They were very good to me.
They didn’t use a lot of medical advice. I only told them I was suffering. I didn’t tell them why. I couldn’t. The way I looked at it was that I would either beat it or kill myself.
Kellie's decision to reveal her new life and plans for the future has been greeted with support and some joviality from the boxing and sporting community.