UK’s ‘first gay male boxer’ challenges homophobic trolls to meet him in the ring

Mike in the ring and wearing a suit

A man thought to be Britain’s first openly gay male boxer says he fights to show “homophobic bullies not to underestimate a gay man”.

Mike Turner, from Swindon, recently got back into boxing aged 29 after more than a decade away from the sport.

At a recent fight he was introduced as the first gay male boxer to step into the ring  something he tells PinkNews “felt amazing to hear”.

While there are some out queer women in boxing – including Olympian Nicola Adams, who retired in 2019 – there are no well-known LGBTQ+ male boxers in Britain.

Mike says he understands why men in his sport might feel “afraid to come out” because of “nasty comments”, and the fact boxing is thought to be “manly”.

He feels from his own experiences that straight boxers “feel like they don’t want to be beat by a gay guy”.

“They’ve got to put a label on it as you’re a gay guy,” he says.

“I don’t mind that but I want to show people it doesn’t matter if you’re gay. I’ll get in the ring with anyone. I might not win against everyone, but I’ll still step up in the ring with anyone.”


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Being open about his sexuality means Mike is no stranger to receiving homophobic comments online from trolls who, he says, are “quick enough to pop up in comment sections” – but he doubts they’d ever step in the ring with him.

He’d love to face a homophobic troll in the ring, explaining: “I want to show the homophobic bullies not to underestimate a gay man, and I want to push boundaries and accomplish what no one else has before.”

Mike knew he was gay from a young age, but it was a reality he “never wanted” and one he “tried to hide”.

“As I got older I lived with it, accepted it, and embraced it,” he says.

Now, he is “proud” to be openly gay in his sport. It’s an “achievement” he hopes will inspire others.

“Anyone who has been a victim of homophobic abuse I dedicate what I’m doing to them,” he says.

“I want to inspire everyone to know it’s alright to be who you want to be.

“I hope to inspire people and normalise gay sportsmen.”

The 29-year-old recently competed in the Mr Gay England 2022 pageant where he finished in second place to winner David Allwood from Hertfordshire – a rival he describes as “amazing”.

Following his success in the pageant Mike is hoping to work on a campaign called “No Need to Hush” which will help people who are struggling with their sexuality to come out and “be themselves”, he added.