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Puerto Rican featherweight Orlando Cruz announced to the world that he is gay on Wednesday, becoming the first practicing prizefighter to declare he is homosexual.
"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 in a statement after taping a spot on a Telemundo show, which will air Monday. "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."
Cruz, 31, is scheduled to fight Oct. 19 against Jorge Pazos in Kissimmee, Fla. Cruz, who represented Puerto Rico in the 2000 Olympics, will defend his WBO Latino featherweight crown.
This is a great day for all gays & lesbians athletes, and another step towards the day when they don't have to worry about staying in the closet to play the sport they love.