Boxer Orlando Cruz: 'Proud Gay Man'

The sport's first openly gay male athlete says he's ready to be true to himself and he wants to be a role model for kids.

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Orlando Cruz (EMC Events)

Puerto Rican boxer Orlando Cruz has been fighting in the ring for more than two decades, but a recent statement -- really, no more than a simple proclamation of the truth -- could rapidly transform him into a major player in the battle against homophobia in professional sports.

He described himself Wednesday as a "proud gay man," making him the first in the history of the sport. Why? "As I continue my ascendant career," the WBO's No. 4-ranked featherweight said, "I want to be true to myself." From USA Today:

"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, began boxing at age 7, and his amateur career culminated in his selection to the 2000 Puerto Rican Olympic Team in Sydney. His teammates included former world champions Miguel Cotto and Ivan Calderon.

Read more at USA Today.

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