Guernsey Dinner Boxing Club chairman Micky Robert said there had been some resistance at the most recent AGM, but a desire for progress, better ticket sales and an audience that better reflected the participants were all factors in making the change.
Rules concerning dress code are also to be relaxed, with suits and ties being allowed, rather than formal black tie.
‘The membership is ageing,’ he said.
‘And if we want to encourage more young members to join, we have to accept youngsters don’t want to dress up in a dinner jacket and bow tie.’
He also acknowledged that the restriction on male-only attendees had become increasingly untenable.
‘We’ve got lady fighters, lady coaches, lady officials and lady doctors in attendance,’ Mr Robert said.
‘And the national boxing board had already told us we ought to be thinking about it.
‘We’re hoping the change will open the events up to a younger audience.’
He said he took a phone call last year from a potential customer who said they would be able to fill a corporate table if the club would allow women. Since the restriction has been lifted, one female customer has already enquired about putting a table together.
However, in all the time that the GDBC has been barring women from its shows, it had not received any complaints about the policy, he said.
The club recently celebrated its 50th anniversary and Mr Roberts acknowledged that some members were uncomfortable with the change to its traditional policies.
‘There’s been resistance from some members because the older generation don’t like change. I mean, I’m 74 myself, but for some it’s a bit of a shock. It’s not as if we’re going to have people turning up in jeans and a T-shirt. The men will still be in smart suits and the women can wear evening attire,’ he said, before quipping ‘but I don’t mean pyjamas’.
The GDBC holds four events each year – all at St Pierre Park – featuring boxers from the Amalgamated Boxing Club up against teams from the UK.
The next scheduled event is on Friday 25 November and tickets are available at www.gdbc.gg for boxing fans of all genders.