MANILA, Philippines – Puerto Rican featherweight boxer Orlando Cruz, a former Olympian, announced that he is gay.
In a statement released to Boxing Scene, Cruz, 31, said he "is a proud gay man."
"I've been fighting for more than 24 years, and as I continue my ascendant career, I want to be true to myself," Cruz said. "I want to try to be the best role model I can be for kids who might look into boxing as a sport and as a professional career.
"I have and will always be a proud Puerto Rican. I have always been and always will be a proud gay man."
It is believed that Cruz is the first openly gay active boxer in the history of the sport.
Currently rated as the No. 4 featherweight by the World Boxing Organization, Cruz has compiled a record of 18 wins, two losses and one draw, with nine wins coming by knockout.
According to Boxing Scene, Cruz began boxing at the age of 7 and has an amateur record of 178-11. He was a part of the Puerto Rican national team for four years and won seven gold medals, one silver and two bronzes in international tournaments.
He represented Puerto Rico in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, along with current professional stars Miguel Cotto and Ivan Calderon.
Cruz is set to fight Jorge Pazos on October 19 in Florida in a bout for the WBO Latino featherweight belt. He currently has a two-fight winning streak.
Cruz is scheduled to speak with Telemundo for an "exclusive tell-all," according to Boxing Scene.