After 30 years in the macho world of boxing, the former fight promoter Frank Maloney has revealed that he is undergoing a sex change and living as a woman called Kellie.
Kellie, 61, once the pugnacious manager of the former world heavyweight boxing champion Lennox Lewis, said that she has undergone hormone therapy and is now more than a year into the transition to becoming a woman.
"I was born in the wrong body and have always known I was a woman," she said. "I have a female brain. I knew I was different from the minute I could compare myself to others.
"I never felt comfortable doing boys' things, playing boys' games. But I buried myself in them to make sure I wasn't seen as different."
Frank Maloney grew up as a Milwall-supporting south Londoner, became a boxer and then a trainer, and achieved greatest success while working with Lewis, who became a world champion in 1992.
Having also managed the former world cruiserweight champion David Haye, Maloney appeared fearless, tough-talking and flamboyant, with a fondness for going to fights in Union Jack suits.
But Kellie, who gave her interview to the Sunday Mirror wearing a dress and stilettos, said she was constantly fighting the urge to dress as a woman. "Mentally I was tearing myself apart.
"I knew it was either continue and succeed, throw myself off a bridge or give into my urges and be ridiculed."
She admitted that she had spent years fearing her secret desire to be a woman would be exposed.
"I have never been able to tell anyone in boxing. Can you imagine me walking into a boxing hall dressed as a woman and putting an event on? I can imagine what they would scream at me. But if I had been in the theatre or arts world, nobody would blink an eye about this transition."
The twice-married father of three quit as a boxing promoter last October, saying he had "fallen out of love with boxing."
She admits now that she was preparing to withdraw from the public gaze so she could continue with a gender transition that had begun in her final year of managing boxers.
In the past two years, she has had hormone therapy, hair removal electrolysis, voice coaching and counselling.
She told her wife Tracey about her desire to become a woman in 2012. "We were standing in the kitchen and I said, 'I have to tell you that I have lived with this all my life. I've lived a lie and I really am a female in my head.'
"We are very good friends now. She is very supportive and very loyal to me."
Kellie said she was amazed by the supportive response of her elderly mother Maureen.
She added: "I hope society will be open-minded. I know I could have done my job in boxing as a female."
- UK Independent