Orlando Cruz, the first openly gay professional boxer in the sport has the chance to become the sport’s first openly gay World Champion on Saturday when he faces WBO World Lightweight champ Terry Flanagan on Saturday at the Motorpoint Arena Cardiff.
“Terry Flanagan is a true World Champion and will defend his title with everything he has. However, I am prepared and ready for victory and to be crowned the new World Champion. I want to inspire the gay community by becoming a World Champion on Saturday. Terry is a great Champion and a real people’s person. More importantly, he respects my life and my choices. He sees the man boxing him and that is it. Everyone has been very supportive since I came out three years ago. I have the support of my family, friends and fans. When I look at my story, it makes me hopeful that more people will be inspired to come out. Right now my focus is fully on the big fight on Saturday and winning the WBO Lightweight belt.”
Cruz says he has heard slurs, but doesn’t care, he tells CNN:
“I don’t care if they say, ‘Orlando Cruz is gay. Faggot.’ I don’t care,” he defiantly tells CNN. “I look at my family when I walk in the ring. I look at my mum, sister, I look at my brother. I don’t care, you know, I’m just focused on my family…It was good (coming out), but sometimes I was scared. Half of Puerto Rico did not like my decision but I only care about my team and my family. I don’t care that other people talk about me, saying, ‘Orlando Cruz is gay, Orlando is bad or bulls***.”
This time his husband Jose will be watching him in the ring.