Orlando "Fenómeno" Cruz, a professional boxer, former Olympian, currently ranked #4 in the World Boxing Organization in the featherweight division, today announced that he’s a "proud gay man." He is the first openly gay boxer in history. His next fight will be on Friday, October 19, at the Kissimmee Civic Center, in which he’ll defend his title.
Cruz said in a statement: "I’ve been fighting for more that 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 always been and will always be a proud Puerto Rican. I have always been and will always be a proud gay man. I don’t want to hide any of my identities. I want people to look at me for the human being that I am. I am a professional sportsman that always bring his best to the ring. I want for people to continue to see me for my boxing skills, my character, my sportsmanship.
"But I also want kids who suffer from bullying, to know that you can be whoever you want to be in life, including a professional boxer. That anything is possible and that who you are or whom you love should not be impediment to achieving anything in life.
"I want to thank my family, especially my Mom, who’s my inspiration and my best reason to continue to live and my brother and my sister. I want to thank my friends for their love and support. And I also want to thank my team for believing in me and being so supportive not only in this decision, but throughout my career.
"I am and will always be a proud Puerto Rican gay man."
Cruz has been boxing for more than 24 years, he has represented Puerto Rico in the Pan American Games, Central American Games, the World Cup and the Olympics.
In his amateur career, he had 189 fights, winning 178 of those. Now, as a professional boxer, he has fought 21 combats, with 9 KOs and only 2 losses. He’s currently the Latin Champion of the World Boxing Organization and he’s ranked #4 in the World in the featherweight (126 pounds) division.