Orlando Cruz is the first openly gay pro-boxer

Puerto-Rican featherweight boxer Orlando Cruz released a statement this week announcing his homosexuality. He is the first professional boxer to assert himself as gay during his career.

ESPN's Dan Rafael says Cruz called himself a "proud gay man."

An excerpt from the boxer's statement reads, "I don't want to hide any of my identities," he said. "I want people to look at me for the human being that I am. I am a professional sportsman that always brings his best to the ring. I want for people to continue to see me for my boxing skills, my character, my sportsmanship. But I also want kids who suffer from bullying to know that you can be whoever you want to be in life, including a professional boxer, that anything is possible and that who you are or whom you love should not be impediment to achieving anything in life.

"I want to thank my family, especially my mom, who's my inspiration and my best reason to continue to live and my brother and my sister. I want to thank my friends for their love and support. And I also want to thank my team for believing in me and being so supportive not only in this decision, but throughout my career. I am and will always be a proud Puerto Rican gay man."


PHOTOS: 2013 SunFest Music Festival