We have gay representation in the soccer world, diving and even bowling. Now, we have an out and proud athlete competing in the professional boxing circuit. Puerto Rican boxer Orlando Cruz is the first openly gay active boxer in history. The 31-year-old athlete will discuss his coming out in a sit-down televised interview next week.
Currently, Cruz is training and preparing for a run at the world title. Little by little, professional athletes have slowly come out of the closet. I applaud Orlando for taking this brave step, especially given the machismo nature of his sport.
Cruz is a former Olympian and currently ranked the No. 4 Featherweight by the World Boxing Organization (WBO). He made his professional debut on December 15, 2000 and won his first world title on March 22, 2008. Orlando’s next scheduled fight is for October 19 in Florida where he will defend his WBO NABO title. If he wins, it should position Cruz for a world title shot.
Featherweight boxer Orlando Cruz, from Puerto Rico, has become the first openly gay man in the sport’s history, describing himself Wednesday as a “proud gay man.”
Cruz (18-2-1, 9 KOs), the No. 4-ranked featherweight by the WBO, 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, 31, began boxing at age 7, and his amateur career culminated in his selection to the 2000 Puerto Rican Olympic Team in Sydney. His teammates included former world champions Miguel Cotto and Ivan Calderon.
Do you think other athletes in the boxing world will follow? Which sport do you think an athlete will come out next? Sound off below.