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Best Gay News Magazine: Orlando Cruz comes out a pro Boxing’s first openly Gay Athlete
Orlando Cruz comes out a pro Boxing’s first openly Gay Athlete
Orlando Cruz comes out a pro boxing’s
first openly Gay Athlete
By Shaun Knittel
Best Gay News Magazine
Orlando Cruz, a professional boxer from San Juan Puerto Rico (18-2-1, 9 KOs), former Olympian and currently ranked No. 4 Featherweight by the World Boxing Organization (WBO), announced October 3 that he ”Is a proud Gay man.”
Cruz is the first openly Gay man in boxing history.
“I’ve been fighting for more than 24 years and as I continue my ascendant career, I want to be true to myself,” Cruz said in a press release. “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.”
Cruz has enjoyed an impressive career.
He began boxing at the age of 7 and posted an amateur career record of 178-11; won 7 Puerto Rico National Title's and spent 4 years on The Puerto Rican National Team; Cruz won 7 Gold Medals, 1 Silver and 2 Bronze in various international tournaments.
His amateur career culminated as a representative of the 2000 Olympic Team in Sydney, Australia. 2000 Olympic teammates included former world champions Miguel Cotto and Ivan Calderon.
On December 15, 2000, Cruz made his professional debut and won his first world title on March 22, 2008 (vacant IBA Featherweight Title) and a regional title on October 14, 2011 (WBO Latino Featherweight title).
His next fight is scheduled for October 19 at the Kissimmee Civic Center in Kissimmee, Florida in which he will defend his WBO NABO title against Jorge Pazos. A win against Pazos should position Cruz for a world title shot.
Cruz told the Los Angeles Times he’s received “unconditional, 100% support,” including text messages and Twitter and Facebook notes of endorsement from Puerto Rican singer Ricky Martin.
“I was physically and mentally prepared for whatever the reaction would be before this, and I can tell you from the response, this will never bother me again,” Cruz said. “I feel comfortable with myself.”
He also comes out as an advocate for marriage equality, saying, “The Gay community should have the same rights as the heterosexual community, and I want to be part of that movement to make that happen here.”