UPDATE: Former undisputed world heavyweight boxing champion Lennox Lewis has spoken of his shock after hearing of his one-time promoter Frank Maloney's sex change, but also offered his support.
Maloney stunned the sport on Sunday by announcing that he was now a she and was undergoing a sex change.
The 61-year-old Londoner, who managed Lewis for more than a decade, told UK newspaper the Sunday Mirror that she was now living as a woman and calling herself Kellie.
“I was born in the wrong body and I have always known I was a woman,” she said.
“I can’t keep living in the shadows, that is why I am doing what I am today. Living with the burden any longer would have killed me.”
Maloney also managed David Haye, another British heavyweight who went on to win the world title.
She said she suffered crippling bouts of depression and heavy drinking as she struggled to come to terms with the situation.
"I have never been able to tell anyone in boxing," she said.
“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.”
Lewis posted on Facebook: "I was just as shocked as anyone at the news about my former promoter and my initial thought was that it was a wind up. The great thing about life, and boxing, is that, day to day, you never know what to expect.
"This world we live in isn't always cut and dried or black and white, and coming from the boxing fraternity, I can only imagine what a difficult decision this must be for Kellie (formerly Frank Maloney).
"However, having taken some time to read Kellie's statements, I understand better what she, and others in similar situations, are going through. I think that ALL people should be allowed to live their lives in a way that brings them harmony and inner peace.
"I respect Kellie's decision and say that if this is what brings about true happiness in her life, than so be it. #LiveAndLetLive."
Maloney quit boxing last year, saying she had fallen out of love with the sport. But she now says it was to give herself a chance to prepare for her new life.