WBC says, “Boxing is for everyone!” – supports the “World Gay Boxing Championships” Tournament in Australia and increasing LGBTQ+ participation in boxing.
Nelson Mandela said, “Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire, it has the power to unite people in a way that little else does.”
LGBTQ+ people around the world face abuse, bullying, inequality and discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. There are countries and jurisdictions that criminalise LGBTQ+ people and where being LGBTQ+ is punishable by imprisonment or death.
LGBTQ+ people participate in sport at lower rates than straight people. Participatory sport is a key intervention strategy. Exercise and belonging to a ‘sport’ are known to increase fitness levels, improve mental and physical health outcomes providing a supportive place to socialise reducing isolation.
WBC’s values are loyalty, justice, integrity and equality. We elevate boxing and protect the health and wellbeing of all boxers above any interest. We are committed to protecting human rights, eradicating discrimination and helping the ones who need it the most. We believe boxing is for everyone. We are proud to be an ally to the LGBTQ+ community and support the “World Gay Boxing Championships (WGBC)” Tournament in Australia.
WGBC is an Australian not-for-profit aiming to disrupt homophobia and transphobia in sport by showcasing the best LGBTQ+ boxers in an inclusive environment. WGBC is holding the world’s first boxing championships for the LGBTQ+ community and allies from 18-22 February 2023 in Sydney at Australian Turf Club’s – The Winx Stand. The championships coincide with Sydney hosting Mardi Gras and WorldPride.
Already, fighters from all continents have signed up for the championships, the brainchild of Sydneysider Martin Stark who is WGBC’s Founder and CEO.
The competition will be sanctioned by Boxing Australia NSW and conducted under Boxing Australia rules with safe participation the number one priority.
WGBC is enabling participants to compete in a friendly and welcoming environment and promises to deliver an immersive fan experience with traditional and fun LGBTQ+ entertainment.
Charlie “The Hammer” Hall was appointed WBC’s Ambassador to WGBC in 2021. Charlie, who was diagnosed with autism and ADHD at 11, faced years of cruel bullying on an almost daily basis. It was only when he took up boxing that he regained his self-esteem and confidence.
He has since campaigned tirelessly around Australia to raise awareness about the serious consequences of bullying. In recognition of his anti-bullying campaigning, he was made a WBC Champion and Anti-Bullying Ambassador in 2019 by WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman.
“I always felt like I didn’t fit in, like I was different” he says. “It made me sad and lonely, but when I tried boxing, I fell in love with it and made some friends. It made me think that I wasn’t going to take it anymore. I wanted to do something to stop other kids going through it.
“The WGBC is about being proud of who you are, even if some people see you as different!”
Charlie led WGBC’s participation in this year’s Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade alongside Olympic boxing medallist Harry Garside and Martin Stark.
Martin Stark, WGBC Founder and CEO said:
“The WBC has helped us from the outset providing a statement of support and appointing Charlie Hall as an Ambassador who truly inspires WGBC and the LGBTQ+ boxing community. WBC has welcomed us into the boxing family positively promoting LGBTQ+ inclusion and participation in boxing.
We are honoured to have the support of the WBC. This signals a strong and positive message that the LGBTQ+ community and allies belong in the sport of boxing where everyone should feel respected, included, and valued. We are proud of our relationship and friendship with the WBC.”
Jill Diamond, Chair WBC Cares said:
“Boxing has a place for everyone. As long as it’s a well-matched fight and observes all the rules established for safety and fairness, we support it. The appreciation of Diversity is the foundation of our sport, our organization and our world.”
The World Gay Boxing Australia Championships are taking place from February 18-22, 2023 at Australian Turf Club’s The Winx Stand in Sydney coinciding with Mardi Gras and WorldPride. For more details, visit www.wgbc.org,au.
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