Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Puerto Rican featherweight boxer Orlando Cruz comes out

From a press release received tonight:

PROFESSIONAL BOXER ORLANDO CRUZ ANNOUNCES HE IS A “PROUD GAY MAN”

SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO (October 3, 2012)  --  Orlando Cruz, a professional boxer from San Juan Puerto Rico (18-2-1, 9 KOs), former Olympian and currently ranked No. 4 Featherweight by the World Boxing Organization (WBO), is announcing today that he ”Is a proud gay man.”

Cruz is 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.”

Orlando Cruz began boxing at the age of 7 and posted an amateur career record of 178-11.  He won 7 Puerto Rico National Title's and spent 4 years on The Puerto Rican National Team.  Cruz won 7 Gold Medals, 1 Silver and 2 Bronze in various international tournaments.  His amateur career culminated as a representative of the 2000 Olympic Team in Sydney, Australia.  2000 Olympic teammates included 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 (vacant IBA Featherweight Title) and a regional title on October 14, 2011 (WBO Latino Featherweight title).  His next fight is scheduled for October 19 at the Kissimmee Civic Center in Kissimmee, Florida in which he will defend his WBO NABO title against Jorge Pazos.  A win against Pazos should 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.

You can follow Orlando Cruz on his Twitter account here and his Facebook page here.

UPDATES: Los Angeles Times has reached out to Cruz and spoke to him. An excerpt:
[Cruz] said since his announcement that he’s received “unconditional, 100% support,” including text messages and Twitter and Facebook notes of endorsement from his 2000 Olympic teammate and former multi-division world champion Miguel Cotto and Puerto Rican singer Ricky Martin.
“I was physically and mentally prepared for whatever the reaction would be before this, and I can tell you from the response, this will never bother me again,” Cruz said. “I feel comfortable with myself.”
He also comes out as an advocate for marriage equaity:
“The gay community should have the same rights as the heterosexual community, and I want to be part of that movement to make that happen here,” Cruz said. 
About those tweets Cruz mentioned to the Times...
  • Orlando Cruz: "I am proud, as a boxer, to tell the world that I am and will always be a proud Puerto Rican man"
  • Ricky Martin: "Congratulations, Boricua, for your valor! I am so happy for you! Much strength!  Peace to you and your loved ones! Hugs"
Openly gay former professional rugby player Gareth Thomas also sent his regards...
So does Andra Fuller, who plays a hot-headed gay gangsta rapper on the CW's "L.A. Complex"...
And the great Wilson Cruz...
And "Noah's Arc" actor Darryl Stephens...
And openly gay former NFL player Wade Davis II...
Hudson Taylor, straight LGBT-rights ally and Columbia University wrestler, shared this...
NOH8 board member and Twitter extraordinaire Ben Patrick Johnson...
The lovely and amazing actress Rosie Perez...
The news also traveled like wildfire throughout Latin America. Alex Freyre, who made history with his hubby José Maria DiBello when they became the first same-sex couple in all of Latin America to be granted a marriage license, also took notice...
Related: 
Video: First round knock-out...

1 comment:

Son of a Bishop said...

What a wonderful act of courage from this young man who is hopefully not from an anti-gay religious culture like so many of us people of color are predisposed to... All the Very Best to him!

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