Gay Puerto Rican boxer, Orlando Cruz has won a fight he dedicated to the victims of the Orlando Pulse massacre.
Orlando Cruz, the first out gay boxer, dedicated the fight on Saturday to the victims of the 12 June shooting in Orlando which left 49 dead and 53 injured.
During his fight in Kissimmee, Florida, Cruz rang 10 bells to honour the victims and their families and wore an outfit that will pay homage to the lives lost.
He knocked out Alejandro “Alex” Valdez in the seventh round of the main event of the fight card at the Kissimmee Civic Center.
“It was a great opportunity to get the win and represent my people,” said Cruz after the fight.
“I’m proud to give them an equal opportunity to compete. It meant a lot to get this win tonight, because it provides the opportunity for a world title.”
Cruz, who is currently ranked fourth in the world and lives in Puerto Rico with his partner, was friends with four of the shooting’s victims.
“At first, I was said,” Cruz said to the Orlando Sentinel. “Second, angry. I am very angry because people are homophobic, so they attacked my community. They attacked me.”
The boxer was unable to attend the victim’s funerals due to training camp but visited Pulse nightclub on Tuesday to pay his respects – leaving a pair of gloves and flowers to honour his friends.
This is not the first time Cruz has fought back against homophobia (pun very intended), the boxer wore rainbow shorts as a form of protest during a fight in Las Vegas in 2013.
When Cruz came out as gay in 2012, he released a statement to the media saying, “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.”
Despite the Pulse club being a LGBT+ venue, the FBI said earlier today that there was no evidence that the attack was a hate crime.
Following the horrific homophobic massacre, there have been repeated claims that Mateen was a gay man, with some claiming to have met him in Pulse nightclub before, or suggesting they had seen him on gay hook-up apps.
One man has even come forward claiming to be Mateen’s ex-lover – but the FBI has rubbished all of the claims after an extensive investigation of the shooter and his motives.
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49 people were killed and 53 injured in the terrorist hate crime attack,which saw a gunman open fire inside the Pulse gay bar in Orlando, Florida.
ISIS has since claimed responsibility for the attack, which was perpetrated by US citizen Omar Mateen. The majority of the victims were Latino.
In a statement, President Obama mourned the victims of the homophobic hate crime attack and called for greater restrictions on arms sales.
In response, Republican nominee Donald Trump said Obama should resign for failing to rally against Islam in his comments.
The attack has been condemned by American Muslim leaders, who addressed ISIS in saying: “You do not speak for us.”
But millions of people around the world have showed solidarity with the victims of the shooting and the community in Orlando,
A threat was posted to Craigslist in San Diego, praising the shooting in Orlando, and reading: “San Diego, you’re next”.
Two US Marines were investigated for posting a photo with an assault rifle with the caption “Coming to a gay bar near you” on Facebook.