Orlando Cruz: My sexual orientation doesn’t matter when I step in the ring
Boxer Orlando Cruz has said he wants to inspire gay people by becoming the first out gay world champion boxer on Saturday, and that other boxers “respect [his] life”.
Cruz hopes to make history once again after he became the first openly gay professional fighter in boxing. Cruz came out in 2012 and married his long term boyfriend José Manuel in 2013.
He challenges WBO Lightweight Terry Flanagan on Saturday.
“All the boxers respect my life,” he says. “When Orlando Cruz walks into the ring, Orlando Cruz is separate from my sexual orientation.
“Orlando Cruz is a professional boxer,” he adds – expressing that he plans to win on Saturday.
“Terry Flanagan is a true World Champion and will defend his title with everything he has,” said Cruz of the fight earlier this week.
“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.
“I’ve been feeling the love from the British people since I arrived here on Monday. Everyone has been very welcoming to me and I have nothing but respect for them. I am very happy to be here in Cardiff and fighting for another World title.”
The boxer has been an ongoing advocate for the LGBT community and was celebrated after winning a fight that he dedicated to the Orlando massacre victims.
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“At 35 years-old I feel great; I’m fitter and more determined than I have ever been,” said Cruz previously
Cruz previously spoke about being a role model for anyone who wants to take up boxing as a professional career. “I want to try to be the best role model I can be for kids who might look into boxing as a sport.”
At a weigh-in earlier this month, he wore rainbow-coloured briefs and stood in silence as a bell tolled 49 times—once for each life lost.
Earlier this year Cruz won a fight he dedicated to the victims of the Pulse massacre which left 49 dead and 53 injured.