The world of boxing now has its first openly gay professional fighter who has come out whilst his career is still active.
Puerto Rican featherweight Orlando Cruz has said that he is indeed a gay man.
The 31-year-old released a statement to the media saying:
“I’ve been fighting for more than 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 and will always be a proud Puerto Rican. I have always been and always will be a proud gay man.”
Cruz has been boxing since he was seven and has won seven national titles and seven international gold medals.
He turned pro shortly after the Sydney Olympic Games and won his first professional fight on 15 December 2000 against Alfredo Valdez.
He will be taking on Jorge Pazos in the ring in Florida on 19 October.
According to BoxRec, Cruz is currently the No. 2 ranked featherweight in the United States and will be hoping to defend his WBO Latino featherweight title.
Cruz now joins a growing list of gay professional sports starts such as retired rugby player Gareth Thomas, Swedish footballer Anton Hysen, England cricketer Steven Davies and gold medal Olympic equestrian star Carl Hester.