Orlando Cruz lost the chance to become first gay world boxing champion
Orlando Cruz lost his chance to become the first gay world boxing champion last night.
Cruz was up against reining champion Terry Flanagan for the bid to win the WBO Lightweight Championship, and hoped he would become the first gay man to do so.
The boxer lost the fight to Flanagan who threw a powerful right hand punch which brought Cruz to the floor in the 8th round of the match.
Cruz said before the fight: “Terry Flanagan is a true World Champion and will defend his title with everything he has.”
“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.”
Cruz came out in 2012 and married his long term boyfriend José Manuel in 2013. He has been celebrated as an advocate figure in the community, having dedicated fights he won to the victims of the Orlando massacre.
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.
He 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 35 years-old I feel great; I’m fitter and more determined than I have ever been,” he added.