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Gay boxer Orlando Cruz comes out of the closet

Gay boxer Orlando Cruz is the first professional fighter to publicly come out of the closet.
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Orlando Cruz (EMC Events/Courtesy)

Orlando Cruz makes history by becoming the first professional boxer to come out of the closet.

The 31-year-old Puerto Rican native told USA Today on Wednesday that he's a "proud gay man."

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"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. "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."

A professional fighter since 2000, Cruz competed in the 2000 Olympics for Puerto Rico and is 18-2-1 this season with nine knockouts, according to BoxingScene.com.

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His next fight is Oct. 19 against Jorge Pazos in Kissimmee, Florida, ESPN reported.

However, he plans to sit down with Telemundo for an exclusive interview before that.

The Bleacher Report's Michael Walters was among several sports commentators who supported Cruz and his announcement.

"For Cruz to come out while still actively participating in what has to be considered one of, if not the, most macho sports is truly brave," Walters wrote.

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