Boxer champion Alex Arthur has said that he won’t refer to his transgender former manager Kellie Maloney by her new name or gender.

Kellie Maloney, who also managed Lennox Lewis, revealed earlier this month that she is transgender.

Former super featherweight champion Alex Arthur praised his former manager, but told the Daily Record he “can’t understand” the transition.

He said: “What he’s done is so brave and you have to respect him. I’ll only ever value him for how nice he was with me.

“Just because I can’t understand what he has done doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the courage that it takes to do it.

“My wife said the other day that I’d just call him Frank when I next see him. And I will. I’ll have to apologise and say I admire him. But he’s still just Frank to me.”

He added: “I’d never seen any signs. There are people in boxing who I grew up with who were camp and so you wouldn’t be surprised if things were made public about them. But I certainly never thought anything like that about Frank.”

Maloney – who has entered the Celebrity Big Brother House – attracted criticism earlier this month when she said: “I’m not homophobic, I have gay friends… I still don’t think that children should be brought up in same-sex marriages.”