The currently ranked number four featherweight boxer in the world came out as a “proud gay man” in a press release last night.
Orlando Cruz, from San Juan Puerto Rico (18-2-1, 9 KOs), is a former Olympian and now 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,” 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 began boxing at the age of 7 and posted an amateur career record of 178 wins and 11 losses. He won seven Puerto Rico National Titles and spent four years on the Puerto Rican National Team. He has won seven gold medals, a silver and two bronze in international tournaments. His amateur career culminated in being chosen for the Puerto Rican Olympic team in the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games along with former world champions Miguel Cotto and Ivan Calderon.
Cruz made his professional debut on December 15, 2000 and won his first world title on March 22, 2008, the IBA Featherweight Title, and a regional title last October, the World Boxing Organization Latino Featherweight title. His next fight is scheduled for October 19 at the Kissimmee Civic Center in Florida, where he will defend his WBO number four rank against Jorge Pazos. A win against Pazos could position Cruz for a world title shot.
Orlando Cruz is sitting down with Telemundo’s Jessi Losada in an exclusive tell-all that will air next week.
Emile Griffith, a welterweight and middleweight champion from the ’50s and ’60s came out as bisexual after his retirement in 1977 in a 2005 Sports Illustrated article.