Puerto Rican featherweight Orlando Cruz steps into the ring on Friday for the first time since recently admitting to being homosexual.
Cruz made history by becoming the first openly active boxer – making headlines around the world. The 31-year-old who is ranked fourth in the world in his division said it was a difficult and long journey to reach the decision to tell his truth
Cruz said: “It’s been a long time since I’ve been dealing with this – twelve years. I moved to New York four years ago where I underwent psychological therapy with professionals to mentally and physically prepare me for this step which is so important in my life and I’m very happy. The only thing I want is to be respected. I’m an athlete. I’m a professional and my personal life should not matter to anyone.”
Cruz will fight little known Mexican Jorge Pazos on Friday for the WBO Latino featherweight crown in Florida. A bout that could propel him towards a world title fight.
On the eve of the fight Pazos said he had no problem with his opponent’s sexual orientation.
“I don’t care because that’s something personal. I know he’s a great boxer in the ring so that’s what I’m focused on,” said Pazos
Cruz’s record stands at 21 fights 18 wins 9 by knock out, two defeats and a draw. A record he will be hoping to improve when he steps into the ring for the first time as openly gay and proud.