Much has been made of how difficult it is for gay athletes to “come out,” but many in the boxing community were blindsided by news few saw coming. Veteran fight promoter Frank Maloney announced that he had undergone “gender re-assignment” and was now to be known as Kellie.
Kellie, when she was Frank, was frank. Being born in Peckham, South East London and of Irish parents and growing up as a Millwall supporter you would have expected nothing else. After failed attempts to make it as a jockey and a footballer she started training boxers. She then worked with Frank Warren before going into management on her own and managing Lennox Lewis among other fighters.
Maybe one of the reasons it has come as such a shock is because Maloney stood in the 2004 London Mayoral elections and came fourth, however during the campaign in which she was standing as the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) candidate she was criticised for comments about lesbian and gay people. These included an explanation as to why she had failed to campaign in Camden saying that it was because there were “too many gays”. Maloney later attempted to justify these remarks, telling the BBC “I don’t want to campaign around gays…I don’t think they do a lot for society…what I have a problem with is them openly flaunting their sexuality.”
The boxing community have been shocked and Lennox Lewis has been reported as feeling “shocked” but that he respects Maloney’s decision. At 61 years of age and having had a heart attack in 2009 maybe she felt it was time. The good news is in today’s world it appears few have been judgemental.
Having retired from Boxing promotion in 2013 Maloney has expressed a desire to return to the boxing world as an administrator and advisor to young fighters. She has also apparently said she would be keen to manage any gay boxer prepared to “come out.”
In 2005 Maloney penned her autobiography titled “No Baloney – A journey from Peckham to Las Vegas” there may be a few who question the validity of the title now, however the door is open for a revised version, that is for sure.