ORLANDO-CRUZ

Out & Proud. Orlando Cruz announces that he is “proud gay man” making him the first openly gay professional boxer. In a statement he said: 

“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.”

Cruz, a former Olympian and current #4 WBO featherweight, joins a growing list of openly gay athletes.

Boxer Orlando Cruz finally finds happiness after telling the world that he’s gay | NY Daily News

When he was 19 years old, Orlando Cruz competed in the Sydney Olympics. He had a girlfriend in Puerto Rico and a growing reputation as a fast, tough, counter-punching lefthander. Before he left for home, he had his first sexual experience with a man, pitching him into a state of complete confusion. “I was wondering, ‘What is wrong with me? Am I crazy? What is going on?’” Cruz says.

Out & proud: Orlando Cruz wins first boxing fight since coming out

Orlando Cruz walked to the ring at Kissimmee Civic Center last night as boxing’s first openly gay fighter and as a man proud of both his Puerto Rican heritage and his sexuality.

Since coming out as gay back in early October, the featherweight boxer has had to keep his focus in preparation for last night’s match against Jorge Pazos which he won by a unanimous decision showing comfort and determination in a victory that Cruz hopes further his dreams and gives him a shot at a bigger match in the future. read more

pinknews.co.uk
Gay Puerto Rican boxer Orlando Cruz wins fight dedicated to Orlando Pulse victims
Gay Puerto Rican boxer, Orlando Cruz has won a fight he dedicated to the victims of the Orlando Pulse massacre.

Orlando Cruz, the first out gay boxer, dedicated the fight on Saturday to the victims of the 12 June shooting in Orlando.

During his fight in Kissimmee, Florida, Cruz rang 10 bells to honour the victims and their families and wore an outfit that will pay homage to the lives lost.

He knocked out Alejandro “Alex” Valdez in the seventh round of the main event of the fight card at the Kissimmee Civic Centre.

“It was a great opportunity to get the win and represent my people,” said Cruz after the fight.

“I’m proud to give them an equal opportunity to compete. It meant a lot to get this win tonight, because it provides the opportunity for a world title.”

Cruz, who is currently ranked fourth in the world and lives in Puerto Rico with his partner, was friends with four of the shooting’s victims.

Beautiful. Respect and love to Orlando <3 

gaystarnews.com
Orlando Cruz will fight to become the world's first gay boxing champion
Orlando Cruz made history when he became the world’s first openly gay boxer to come out and to continue playing professionally.

TW: gay slur

But the Puerto Rican athlete is ready to make history once again by fighting one more round before he goes up against WBO interim world champion super featherweight Miguel Berchelt.

‘We are working hard for this fight and hope to do well. We are facing Berchelt in January or February for the interim world title. But I have an excellent team and we have no hurry to get to that point. We are at the time of assimilating weight and going step by step,’ the boxer said in a report by El Vocero, a Puerto Rican newspaper.

He will go up against Luis Sanchez on 7 October.

‘At 35 years old – I feel great. I know my opponent will come to fight, but I am prepared and ready for victory and then to be crowned world champion. I’m focused on becoming the only gay world champion in boxing history,’ he added.

Cruz is already on a winning streak. He won his last fight in July after dedicating it to the victims of the Pulse shooting in Orlando, Florida. Cruz lost four friends in the mass murder that claimed the lives of 49 people.

While he was unable to attend the victims’ funerals because of training, he has been to visit Pulse to lay down gloves and flowers at the memorial. When the boxer came out in 2012, he said: 

‘They can call me maricón, or faggot, and I don’t care. Let them say it because they can’t hurt me now. I am relaxed. I feel so happy. 

‘But to make this announcement to the whole world I had to be very strong. … I am proud to be Puerto Rican, just like I am proud to be a gay man.’

During the fight he wore a multicolor boxing kilt with Puerto Rican flags on both sides. One of the flags was red, white and blue, the other flag’s stripes reflected the color of the rainbow as a sign of gay pride.

This is the second fight he wins after becoming the first active professional boxer to ever come out as a gay man back in October. As in the last fight, his mother was at the side of the boxing ring shouting encouragement throughout the fight. The venue was filled to capacity and attendees seemed to be overwhelmingly on Cruz’s side throughout the fight.

youtube

Orlando Cruz: Boxing’s Gay Superstar

Orlando Cruz is the first openly gay professional boxer.

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.

Malesoulmakeup - Queer Culture Blog

I developed physically and mentally to take such a big step in my life and in my profession, which is boxing, knowing that it would have pros and cons, highs and lows in this sport that is so macho. I kept this hidden for many, many years.
—  Puerto Rican featherweight boxer Orlando Cruz • Revealing his homosexuality in an Associated Press interview — making him one of the first openly gay professional athletes still in active competition. The 31-year-old Cruz, who has a WBO Latino title match in two weeks, made the announcement with the full support of his family. Response has been positive so far, by the way — as it should be.
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.
—  Orlando Cruz comes out as gay, becomes the first openly gay man in boxing.