Former women's professional boxing world champion Go Shindo became the first fighter in Japan to change his family registration to a male fighter to spar with a male professional fighter under rules similar to that of an official match.
WBC = 36-year-old Shinmichi, a former champion of the World Boxing Council women's flyweight who later underwent gender reassignment surgery and changed his family register and aimed to become a male professional boxer, JBC = Japan Boxing Commission did not allow him to take the protest test because of concerns about safety management. I allowed myself to spar with male professional fighters at the venue where the official match was held.
In response to this, on the 10th, Shinmichi sparred with Katsuyuki Ishibashi, who has two wins in five professional fights, in a match held at the Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium in Naniwa Ward, Osaka.
The sparring was held in a three-round format, with the JBC referee judging and scoring the fight before deciding the winner, and both fighters did not wear headgear and wore 5-ounce gloves, just like in official matches.
In the first round, Shinmichi took control of the fight by using his speed to land hooks, one-twos, and punches to the body.
However, from the second round onwards, he was caught by his opponent more often in the fight, and in the third and final round, he was knocked down by a counter punch to the face.
Shinmichi then went on the offensive, but lost 2-3 as a result of the decision.
Still, after the match, he received a big round of applause from the approximately 8,1 spectators.
This was the first time in Japan that a fighter who had changed his family registration to a male professional fighter would spar with a male professional fighter under rules similar to that of an official match, and Shinmichi had to pass medical examinations such as MRI scans and blood tests.
Shindo Go "Really Happy"
Go Shindo said, "If you ask me if I'm satisfied with the result, I'm disappointed, but I genuinely enjoyed being able to fight with my fists. Overall, I don't think we were inferior in terms of technique."
He added, "I don't have to give up on something because of how I was born, but if I have faith, people will help me, and I'm really happy and grateful for my life. I don't want to think that it will never work out just because of how I was born, but I want to convey that 'if you look forward, you can give shape to what you want to do.'"
As for the future, he said, "I'm not thinking about the future because I've been working towards this day, it's about my body and my age. I can't decide on my own, so I want to think about it from now on."
How did sparring come to fruition?
Go Shindo is a 36-year-old from Wakayama City. I started boxing at the age of 20 and in 2013 I became the WBC = World Boxing Council Women's Flyweight Champion.
He was active while announcing that he had gender identity disorder, but in 2017, he retired from active duty after undergoing gender reassignment surgery and changing his family register, becoming a man, and marrying a woman.
Since then, I have devoted myself to management as a representative of a facility that supports learning for children with disabilities through sports, and in doing so, I felt that I wanted to show children how I was growing.
In addition, when my own child asked, "Why doesn't my dad go up in the ring?", I decided to become a professional as a man, and last year I submitted the documents to the JBC = Japan Boxing Commission to take the protest test.
In the course of the study, JBC consulted with a committee made up of gender experts and doctors, and the committee reported that it was possible to allow Shindo to take the test as a test case, based on his achievements and the results of physical fitness measurements.
However, the JBC did not allow the protest to take the test at the board meeting in July, citing a lack of knowledge in terms of safety management, such as damage sustained in matches.
Instead, we have established a new rule that allows athletes who were born female and then lead a social life as a man to spar with male athletes at official match venues only if they meet the standard value of the male hormone "testosterone" in a blood test.
In addition, Shinmichi was allowed to spar with professional male fighters as a special case, and Shinmichi said, "I couldn't take the protest test and thought about going overseas, but I thought that if I could fight under the same rules as professional fighters, I would like to try it."