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Danny Baker: Britain’s first transgender boxer and his amazing journey from prison 13 times to the ring

Britain’s first transgender boxer, Danny Baker, is set to fight in a professional contest against a cisgender male opponent. Danny was born female but transitioned in his 20s before following his dream of him to become a professional boxer.

Danny, a support worker from Enfield, London, first realized he was transgender when he was 21 after watching a documentary about the subject. Danny claims that he always felt like a man but he was born in a female body and was not aware that transgender people existed.

The boxer advocates for trans people in sports and works with LGBTQ+ youth to provide support and help to other people in a similar position. Additionally, Danny will be representing the British Team at the first ever World Gay Boxing Championships which are being hosted in Sydney, Australia, in 2023.

READ MORE: Transgender teenager ‘never imagined living past 18’ before he came out to his identical twin sister

Danny said: “When I’m boxing, I feel like the man I am – I feel included by the boxing community and I don’t feel trans, I just feel like a man. 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 first ventured into a boxing gym when he was 14 and had the opportunity to do private lessons with a local boxing coach. Sadly, he did not have the money to continue with his training and the lessons and he found himself in and out of prison across 13 different occasions by the age of 25.

In 2020, he was asked to compete in a white-collar boxing event to raise money for LGBTQ+ youth which included a training program prior to the match. At the event he met renowned trans boxing agent Kelly Maloney who introduced him to Jamie ‘Rocky’ Johnson – a trans man without testosterone who had been competing in women’s boxing for over 30 years.

Since then, Danny has continued to box at Sparta 300 Boxing Gym in Chingford, where he trains six times-a-week. He has competed in two matches against cis men, winning one and losing one, and continues to train under the supervision of his coach.

He has even been given the opportunity to use the gym as a space to train LGBTQ+ athletes who want to get into boxing. In the future, Danny and Jamie will be representing the British Team at the first ever World Gay Boxing Championships in Sydney, Australia, in 2023.

Danny said: “I was such a frustrated kid – for about ten years I was running about. I was being exploited by older people, selling drugs. I ended up in prison and I kind of liked it – the bed, the food, the three meals a day – it was just a bit of security.

“When I was 14, before I transitioned, I did some private boxing lessons at a gym in Essex – I didn’t have the money to carry on but it planted the seed for me. I was a girl, I had boobs and long hair, but I had the brain of a boy and I didn’t want to go in there and fight against women.

“After I transitioned, I had the opportunity to box in a white-collar charity event raising money for LGBT youth and I ended up meeting Kelly Maloney. I realized boxing was something I could do as a trans person. My dad loved boxing and the anniversary of his death from him is January 21-the training for the charity boxing event started on January 21, 2020 and it felt like a sign from him to go.

“I was very lost as a young person and had been to prison 13 times by the time I was twenty-five – boxing helped me move away from that lifestyle. Now I’m in my 30s and have spent time in the Fuerteventura pro gym working with pro trainers and sparring against pro and semi-pro fighters.

“I go monthly to get blood tests to make sure my testosterone levels are within the normal human range. I feel good, when I was younger I remember thinking why am I alive, but look at me – I’m alive and I’ve done it, I’m proud of me. There’s so many of us – we’re people and we exist.”

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