Orlando Cruz made history when he became the world’s first openly gay boxer to come out and to continue playing professionally.
But the Puerto Rican athlete is ready to make history once again by fighting one more round before he goes up against WBO interim world champion super featherweight Miguel Berchelt.
‘We are working hard for this fight and hope to do well. We are facing Berchelt in January or February for the interim world title. But I have an excellent team and we have no hurry to get to that point. We are at the time of assimilating weight and going step by step,’ the boxer said in a report by El Vocero, a Puerto Rican newspaper.
He will go up against Luis Sanchez on 7 October.
‘At 35 years old – I feel great. I know my opponent will come to fight, but I am prepared and ready for victory and then to be crowned world champion. I’m focused on becoming the only gay world champion in boxing history,’ he added.
Cruz is already on a winning streak.
He won his last fight in July after dedicating it to the victims of the Pulse shooting in Orlando, Florida. Cruz lost four friends in the mass murder that claimed the lives of 49 people.
While he was unable to attend the victims’ funerals because of training, he has been to visit Pulse to lay down gloves and flowers at the memorial.
When the boxer came out in 2012, he said: ‘They can call me maricón, or faggot, and I don’t care. Let them say it because they can’t hurt me now. I am relaxed. I feel so happy.
‘But to make this announcement to the whole world I had to be very strong. … I am proud to be Puerto Rican, just like I am proud to be a gay man.’