Boxer Orlando Cruz publicly revealed on Wednesday that he is gay, making him one of the first athletes to come out while playing professional sports. He is believed to be the first openly gay boxer in the sport’s history.
Cruz made his announcement through a press release distributed late Wednesday.
“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. “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 is 18-2-1 with nine career knockouts. He is a former Olympian who competed for Puerto Rico at the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney, and currently ranked as the WBO’s No. 4 featherweight.
Cruz has been fighting professionally since December 2000. He started his career 16-0-1 and did not lose until 2009 when he lost to Cornelius Lock by TKO. Cruz also lost to Daniel Ponce De Leon in his next fight, but has won his two fights since then.
Cruz is scheduled to defend his WBO NABO title against Jorge Pazos on Oct. 19 in Kissimmee, Fla.
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