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Boxer Orlando Cruz Comes Out, Making Him First Openly Gay Man In The Ring

OrlandoCruzOver two decades since he began boxing, Puerto Rican featherweight fighter Orlando Cruz came out this week, making him the first openly gay, still-competing boxer in the sport's history.(Former fighter Emile Griffith came out as bisexual after he retired.)

"I've been fighting for more than 24 years and as I continue my ascendant career, I want to be true to myself," 31-year old Cruz, who began fighting at the age of 7, according to USA Today.

"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, currently ranked 4th in his division, got his big shot in the ring during the 2000 Olympics, when he represented Puerto Rico in Sydney. The Pugilist offers more details on his career trajectory:

Cruz has been boxing since he was seven and boasted an amateur record of 178-11, taking in seven national titles in his homeland and seven international gold medals.

He turned pro shortly after the Sydney Games and won his first professional fight on December 15 2000 against Alfredo Valdez.

His highest profile bouts came with the end of his unbeaten record with back-to-back defeats against Cornelius Lock and Daniel Ponce De Leon in 2009 and 2010, the former battle taking place on the undercard of Mayweather-Marquez.

Cruz's next fight is on October 19th, when he'll defend his WBO NABO against Jorge Pazos. Before that, though, he'll be sitting down for a television interview to discuss his coming out.

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  1. Usually, it's female pop singers who claim to be for gay rights. Gay men devote themselves to these women without realizing that they are being used for the purpose of money. These female pop singers actually hinder our rights because they get in the way of gay male progress in the music industry.

    Now, with Chris Kluwe sticking up for us and Orlando Cruz coming out, the narrative is slowly changing. Men - yes, men - are fashioning a new narrative for us. It's an important time.

    Posted by: jason | Oct 4, 2012 9:01:55 AM

  2. Wow! Just Wow! It's gotta be tough being out in such a macho sport not to mention the Latino culture. Of course, he must be a tough guy to make it in that sport anyway. Good for him. I don't follow the sport, but I wish him continued success. Way to go! Orlando!

    Posted by: Alex Parrish | Oct 4, 2012 9:20:49 AM

  3. Great. Hopefully more dudes like him will come out. When a guy like Cruz publicly proclaims he's homosexual, and is proud, that's a big deal in many ways. The guy's got cojones.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Oct 4, 2012 9:24:59 AM

  4. More cojones than you or "Jason."

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Oct 4, 2012 9:30:56 AM

  5. I would say that the boxing world is more gay- and bi-friendly than Hollywood. Hollywood is about faking it. Boxing is about being out there and upfront.

    Any industry that is based on faking - such as Hollywood - is not good for gay rights.

    Posted by: jason | Oct 4, 2012 9:32:44 AM

  6. This is wonderful, but please Google the name Emile Griffith. Also, look up the documentary about him titled "Ring of Fire."

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Oct 4, 2012 9:36:52 AM

  7. I love this guy for coming out... In Puerto Rico there is a lot of homophobia-you just have to read the comments on this news today on Primera Hora or El Nuevo Dia (the 2 biggest newspapers on the island) to realize the vitriol many will throw at this guy for coming out...
    Bravo Orlando!

    Posted by: George F | Oct 4, 2012 9:37:15 AM

  8. No Mr. Ehrenstein, nature blessed me with big balls and I've always been afflicted with Skinny White Boy Syndrome.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Oct 4, 2012 9:40:34 AM

  9. My personal trainer, who trained me from an average guy to a totally in-shape guy who competes in a variety of fitness events, is a champion amateur boxer from a rough neighborhood. He's pro-LGBT equality and in our conversations he has always stressed that inner dedication and smart, consistent training are what makes for athletic success. It simply isn't about sexual orientation and you can definitely be a fierce competitor as a gay man if you have enough of the the aforementioned two things.

    Posted by: Hunter | Oct 4, 2012 9:43:04 AM

  10. Hehehe....Cruz. He He.

    Posted by: Johnson | Oct 4, 2012 9:45:03 AM

  11. Sorry, your reporting is wrong Nong Thoom, was an out Muay Thai boxer and famous champion in Thailand. Thailand held him as a hero, too bad other countries are not this forward thinking. And yes, he was out his whole career.

    Posted by: doug | Oct 4, 2012 9:45:57 AM

  12. A left hook coming at you really doesn't care if you're gay or straight.

    Posted by: keating | Oct 4, 2012 10:00:07 AM

  13. I certainly hope that they don't pull on him what they pulled on Tommy Morrison, which ended HIS career...

    Posted by: "The Gay" | Oct 4, 2012 10:04:01 AM

  14. Good for him and all the best for him.
    Very important step in society and sports.

    Posted by: Matt26 | Oct 4, 2012 10:12:20 AM

  15. Good for Mr. Cruz. Real good. Now let's put him in the ring with Little Kiwi who doesn't have the balls to post his real name on his bragger blog.

    And Ehrenstein what on earth would you know about who's got'em?

    Posted by: UFFDA | Oct 4, 2012 10:21:02 AM

  16. Wow, this news is awesome.

    Posted by: chasmader | Oct 4, 2012 10:24:27 AM

  17. More than you "UFFAD."

    What's your real name? Why don't you use it?

    Could it be that you have NO BALLS???!!!!

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Oct 4, 2012 10:34:05 AM

  18. Hey, wait a minute, what's so brave about a guy who can beat up anybody who might call him a faggot? Anyway, he's tough that's for sure and that's good enough.

    Posted by: UFFDA | Oct 4, 2012 10:36:03 AM

  19. Congratulations and thank you Mr. Cruz! If you get to meet Ben Cohen and get your picture taken with him can you please send me a copy? Thanks much!! :)

    @UFFDA re: LITTLEKIWI not using his real name...that's rich coming from you. LOL!

    Posted by: Gigi | Oct 4, 2012 10:36:31 AM

  20. Very cool Orlando...way to go!

    Posted by: JT | Oct 4, 2012 10:39:28 AM

  21. @Doug: the article doesn't say that Cruz is the first boxer of any type to overcome personal obstacles. Regarding Nong Toom: She has overcome a lot in order to win in the kickboxing world, to be sure. But she's not "an out gay male still competing in the ring." That is what the article is about.

    Posted by: GregV | Oct 4, 2012 10:47:58 AM

  22. I would take him on for 10 rounds, blow for blow, as many holds as possible match.

    Posted by: Bob | Oct 4, 2012 10:51:49 AM

  23. @Gigi: Yes, it is rich. Little Kiwi posted just last week an interview he did with one of Canada's most well-known news anchors, and she addressed him using his real name... And his face wasn't even pixilated!

    Posted by: GregV | Oct 4, 2012 10:52:41 AM

  24. Excellent.

    With more role models like this for young gay men to look up to--and with straight men increasingly becoming advocates for the eradication of homophobia, the culture of effeminacy will not be long for this world.

    Bravo, Orlando!

    Posted by: Rick | Oct 4, 2012 11:20:45 AM

  25. @JASON Will you please STFD and STFU already with your pathological misogyny and hatred for the feminine? I don't know if anyone has ever told you this but you are a Number One First-Class A-Hole.

    Posted by: jamal49 | Oct 4, 2012 11:21:43 AM

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