Transgender Danny Baker, from north London, who was born a woman and transitioned in his twenties, now competes in semi-professional boxing bouts after time in jail that he blames on exploitation
Image: James Linsell-Clark/ SWNS)
After a long fight, Danny Baker has become Britain’s first transgender boxer to glove-up for a men’s semi-professional bout.
The 34-year-old was born female but transitioned in his 20s and has had to battle to compete in the sport he loves amid the controversy surrounding trans sportspeople.
Danny, of Enfield, north London, said: “When I’m boxing, I feel like the man I am. I feel included by the boxing community. My testosterone levels are kept within the natural human amount. When it comes to sport, I don’t have an advantage.
“I want to see more trans women, more trans youth, I want to see everyone come out and get the exposure they deserve – why should we stay hidden away?”
Danny, a support worker, first ventured into a boxing gym at 14 and was 21 when he realized he was transgender, while watching a documentary on the subject.
Danny Baker / SWNS)
A lack of cash meant he had to quit boxing and he then found himself in and out of jail when, he says, older people exploited him into selling drugs. But he was inspired to get back into the ring to raise money for LGBTQ+ youth – and then met trans boxing agent Kelly Maloney.
She introduced him to Jamie ‘Rocky’ Johnson, a trans man without testosterone who has been competing in women’s boxing for over 30 years.
Since then, Danny has boxed at the Sparta 300 Boxing Gym in Chingford. He also trains LGBTQ+ athletes who want to get into boxing.
Now, Danny and Jamie will represent Britain at the first World Gay Boxing Championships, which are being hosted in Australia in 2023.
James Linsell-Clark/ SWNS)
Danny said: “As a girl, I had boobs and long hair but the brain of a boy and I didn’t want to fight against women. After I transitioned I realized boxing was something I could do as a trans person.”
Danny has fought at two semi-pro events, winning one and losing one, and has another in July. And he has hit out at criticism of US trans swimmer Lia Thomas, who opponents claim has an unfair advantage because of her physique.
Lia, born a male, became the first transgender athlete to win a women’s national college title in March.
Danny said: “It’s just the shell we’re in and you can’t exclude someone for being who they are – at no age is bullying OK. Even for taller, broader trans women, the testosterone is killed by the oestrogen and there is a mental effect on aggression too.
“Rather than dismissing trans women, we should give them some time and the benefit of the doubt, then results will show for themselves.”