Orlando Cruz, highlighted in a recent Boston Spirit blog post (see below) as the first active professional boxer to come out as a gay man, made history again last night. Cruz, the World Boxing Organization's fourth ranked featherweight became the first openly gay boxer to step into the ring and, fittingly, he won.
Cruz won a unanimous decision again Jorge Pazos in Kissimmee Florida.
"That was my moment, my opportunity, my event, and I won," said Cruz. "I was very happy that they respect me. That's what I want — them to see me as a boxer, as an athlete and as a man in every sense of the word," he continued.
For the first time in the history of professional boxing, an active fighter has come out as gay. Featherweight Orlando Cruz, a 2000 Puerto Rican Olympian with a professional record of 18 wins, 2 losses, and 1 draw, released a statement yesterday in which he called himself “a proud gay man.”
From the statement:
"I've been fighting for more than 24 years and as I continue my ascendant career, I want to be true to myself. I want to try to be the best role model I can be for kids who might look into boxing as a sport and a professional career. I have and will always be a proud Puerto Rican. I have always been and always will be a proud gay man."
"I don't want to hide any of my identities. I want people to look at me for the human being that I am. I am a professional sportsman that always bring his best to the ring. I want for people to continue to see me for my boxing skills, my character, my sportsmanship. But I also want kids who suffer from bullying to know that you can be whoever you want to be in life, including a professional boxer, that anything is possible and that who you are or whom you love should not be impediment to achieving anything in life."
"I want to thank my family, especially my mom, who's my inspiration and my best reason to continue to live and my brother and my sister. I want to thank my friends for their love and support. And I also want to thank my team for believing in me and being so supportive not only in this decision, but throughout my career. I am and will always be a proud Puerto Rican gay man."
Cruz’s next fight is scheduled for October 19th , against Jorge Pazos, in Kissimmee, Florida.
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