Ex-boxing promoter reveals plans for sex change
FRANK MALONEY, the former boxing promoter who guided Lennox Lewis to the world heavyweight title, is now living as a woman and plans to undergo a sex change.
The 61-year-old, who went public with her new female identity, Kellie, in a Sunday newspaper, said her work in the macho world of boxing was one of the reasons why she had "lived in the shadows" for decades.
The former Ukip candidate, who is twice married and has three daughters, told the Sunday Mirror she had been living as a woman for more than a year. "I wasn't born into the right body. I have always known I was a woman. I can't keep living in the shadows," she said.
Maloney, who has a history of heart problems, added: "Living with the burden any longer would have killed me. I hope society will be open-minded. I know I could have done my job in boxing as a female."
Maloney, who managed the late Irish boxer Darren Sutherland during his professional career, also revealed that he flew to Dublin for private underground dress-up sessions.
"I was starting to visit private underground dressing services where you can get a makeover and stay for a few years," Kellie told the Sunday Mirror.
"One was in Ireland and there was another in Manchester. I flew to Dublin for afternoon visits. They were based in shops off high streets and down back roads."
Reacting to the news, Darren Sutherland's father Tony said he never knew anything about Maloney's double life - but added that he couldn't care less. The two families fell out in the wake of the young boxer's death.
However, the reaction from the world of sport was almost universally supportive.
Olympic silver medallist Kenny Egan lent his support on Twitter, saying: 'This is the world we are living in now, good man @FrankMalony start living your life, happiness comes from within'.
Paul Smith Jr, the British super middleweight champion, said on Twitter: "Just seen the Frank Maloney stuff. Crazy story. Each to their own, hope he/she's happy."
Stan Collymore, the football pundit, said: "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."
Ex-world champion Lennox Lewis said he was shocked by the sex change but added: 'I respect Kellie's decision.'
Maloney, who was brought up a Catholic by Irish parents in the East End of London, said she had known she was "different" since childhood, and has already began hormone treatment, hair removal, voice coaching and counselling.
Under NHS guidelines a transsexual must spend two years as a female before qualifying for corrective surgery.
Maloney said telling her wife and daughters had been harrowing. But her mother, Maureen, had responded with warmth. Her mother joked: "Why didn't you come to me when you were younger? All we had to do was change the 'I' to an 'E' in your name, Francis." (Daily Telegraph, London)