Boxer Orlando Cruz, who came out as gay earlier this month, has won his first fight since going public with his sexual orientation.
On Friday night, the 33-year-old Cruz was unanimously declared the winner in the match in Florida, roundly beating opponent Jorge Pazos, reported the Boston Herald.
“That was my moment, my opportunity, my event. And I won,” he said after the fight, with his mother Dominga Torres-Rivera sitting next to him.
He commented that he was pleased with the support from the crowd. “I was very happy that they respect me. That’s what I want — them to see me as a boxer, as an athlete and as a man in every sense of the word.”
Cruz, who says that he’s aiming for a world title, went on to add: “I feel happy with where I am. I’m free. I’m more at peace.”
By coming out, the featherweight from Puerto Rico became the first-ever openly gay man in professional boxing.
“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,” he said at the time.