Although Cruz is not the first gay boxer, he is the first to come out whilst still professionally fighting. “I’ve been fighting for more than 24 years and as I continue my ascendant career, I want to be true to myself,” said Cruz. “I want to try to be the best role model I can be for kids who might look into boxing as a sport and 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.”
Orlando Cruz began boxing at the age of 7 and posted an amateur career record of 178-11. He won 7 Puerto Rico National Title’s and spent 4 years on The Puerto Rican National Team. Cruz won 7 Gold Medals, 1 Silver and 2 Bronze in various international tournaments. His amateur career culminated as a representative of the 2000 Olympic Team in Sydney, Australia. 2000 Olympic teammates included former world champions Miguel Cotto and Ivan Calderon.
Cruz made his professional debut on December 15, 2000 and won his first world title on March 22, 2008 (vacant IBA Featherweight Title) and a regional title on October 14, 2011 (WBO Latino Featherweight title). His next fight is scheduled for October 19 at the Kissimmee Civic Center in Kissimmee, Florida in which he will defend his WBO NABO title against Jorge Pazos. A win against Pazos should position Cruz for a world title shot.