Boxer seeks to become first openly gay world champion


MANILA, Philippines – The world’s first openly gay boxer is planning to make history anew by becoming the first gay world champion.

Orlando Cruz of Puerto Rico said his quest begins by getting past Luis Sanchez on October 7, after which he will pursue a fight with WBO interim world champion super featherweight champion Miguel Berchelt.

“We are working hard for this fight and hope to do well. We are facing Berchelt in January or February for the interim world title. But I have an excellent team and we have no hurry to get to that point. We are at the time of assimilating weight and going step by step,” the boxer said in a report by El Vocero, a Puerto Rican newspaper.

Cruz, who sports a record of 24-4-1, with 12 KOs, made headlines in October 2012 after becoming the first boxer to come out as gay.

"I've been fighting for more than 24 years and as I continue my ascendant career, I want to be true to myself," he said in a report by ESPN that time. "I have always been and always will be a proud gay man."

Now, Cruz wants to cement his legacy with a world title.

“At 35 years old – I feel great. I know my opponent will come to fight, but I am prepared and ready for victory and then to be crowned world champion. I'm focused on becoming the only gay world champion in boxing history,” he added.

Cruz fought for Puerto Rico in the 2000 Olympics in Australia. - Dino Maragay

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