KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Orlando Cruz, the first openly gay boxer in the world, won his first fight since coming out recently.
Cruz won a decisive and unanimous decision over Jorge Pazos in a featherweight bout at the Kissimmee Civic Center on Friday night. Judges scored the bout 118-110, 116-111 and 118-110.
The crowd cheered Cruz when he entered the ring, and the Puerto Rican boxer told the media after the fight that he was grateful for the support.
"I was very happy that they respect me,” Cruz was quoted in the media. “That's what I want - them to see me as a boxer, as an athlete and as a man in every sense of the word."
Cruz is now 19-2-1 with nine knockouts. Pazos, from Mexico, is now 20-4 with 13 knockouts.
With the victory, Cruz expects to get more headlines and better bouts, but being a first openly gay fighter also means that he will face intense media attention. So far, Cruz appears satisfied with where he is at in his life.
“I’m only one person,” Cruz told the media. “I feel happy with where I am. I’m free. I’m more at peace.”