Gay boxer Orlando Cruz has been honoured for his contribution as a leading LGBT role model by Outsports.
The LGBT sports news outlet hailed the sportsman’s commitment to speaking up for the community.
“Pride. That’s the word that comes to mind when we think of Orlando Cruz”, stated Outsports upon making the announcement.
“That he continues to perform at such a high level in the uber-macho sport of boxing, wrapping himself in rainbow flags … makes his selection as 2016 Male Athlete of the Year that much sweeter”, the publication added.
Cruz follows in the footsteps of Canadian figure skater Eric Radford and American soccer player Robbie Rogers who picked up the gong in 2015 and 2014 respectively.
Last month the lightweight lost out on becoming the first gay world boxing champion. The boxer lost in a fight against Terry Flanagan, who threw a powerful right-hand punch which brought Cruz to the floor in the eighth round of the match.
Cruz came out in 2012 and married his long-term boyfriend José Manuel in 2013. Earlier this year the boxer dedicated fights he had won to the victims of the Orlando massacre.
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.”