Orlando Cruz: I Won’t Stop Until I’m The World’s First Gay Boxing Champion

The 35-year-old boxer is ready to break new ground.

Openly gay boxer Orlando Cruz says he won’t quit until he’s a world champion.

LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 12:  Orlando Cruz (R) throws a punch at Orlando Salido during their WBO featherweight championship bout at the Thomas & Mack Center on October 12, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Getty Images)
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Cruz, 35, announced his intentions ahead of his match against Luis Sanchez next week. If he bests Sanchez, he’ll move onto a final match-up against featherweight champion Miguel Berchelt.

“We are working hard for this fight and hope to do well,” Cruz told El Voerco. “We are facing Berchelt in January or February for the interim world title. But I have an excellent team and we have no hurry to get to that point. We are at the time of assimilating weight and going step by step.”

“At 35 years old, I feel great,” he added. “I know my opponent will come to fight, but I am prepared and ready for victory and then to be crowned world champion. I’m focused on becoming the only gay world champion in boxing history.”

KISSIMMEE, FL - JULY 15: Orlando Cruz reacts during his introduction prior to his fight against Alejandro Valdez at the Kissimmee Civic Center on July 15, 2016 in Kissimmee, Florida. Cruz was the first professional boxer to announce himself as gay and recently lost four friends in the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, he dedicated this match to his lost friends and won the bout by TKO in the 7th round.  (Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images)
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Cruz came out publicly in 2012, declaring “I have and will always be a proud Puerto Rican. I have always been and always will be a proud gay man.”

Since then, the featherweight fighter has gone on to marry his longtime boyfriend and become an advocate for the LGBT community.

In July, he dedicated a fight—and his eventual victory—to the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando.

At the weigh-in, Cruz wore rainbow briefs and stood in silence as a bell tolled 49 times, once for each life lost.

LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 11:  Boxer Orlando Cruz points to his briefs as he poses on the scale during the official weigh-in for his bout against Orlando Salido at the Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas on October 11, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Cruz and Salido will fight for the vacant WBO featherweight championship at the Thomas & Mack Center on October 12.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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Cruz, who sports a record of 24-4-1, will face Sanchez on October 7.

h/t: The Philippine Star

Texas native with a penchant for strong margaritas, early Babs and tastefully executed side-eye.