Puerto Rican featherweight boxer Orlando Cruz has ‘come out’ and is now the first openly gay man in the sport’s history.
Cruz told the Associated Press that he is relieved about his decision and had reservations about coming out in what he called a “macho” sport.
Cruz began boxing at the age of 7 and is the number 4 featherweight, as ranked by the World Boxing Organization.
“I’ve been fighting for more than 24 years and as I continue my ascendant career, I want to be true to myself,” said Cruz to USA Today. “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 stated that he met with psychologists before making his announcement and adds he has the full support of his family, trainer and manager.
His coming out is not only important for him as a gay man, but it an important move for the sport and the Latino community.
Cruz’a next fight is October 19 in Florida where he will defend his title against Mexico’s Jorge Pazos. A win could put Cruz in line for a major title shot.