• Orlando Cruz is the world's first openly gay professional boxer. (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
“It's a big moment for me, a big moment for my community, a big moment for my country.”
By
Ben Winsor

24 Nov 2016 - 2:20 PM  UPDATED 24 Nov 2016 - 2:20 PM

Orlando Cruz will compete for the World Boxing Organisation’s lightweight champion title this Saturday.

If he wins, the world’s first openly gay professional boxer will become the first openly gay world boxing champion.

The Puerto Rican boxer will be seeking to snatch the WBO Lightweight title from Terry Flanagan in Cardiff this weekend.

“It's a big moment for me, a big moment for my community, a big moment for my country,” Cruz told The Associated Press.

Cruz lost four friends in the Pulse nightclub shooting earlier this year, an attack which rocked the Hispanic gay community especially hard.

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"I want to quieten the homophobic people talking bad to the LGBT community," Cruz said. "I want it more for all the gay athletes in the world."

Cruz came out in 2012, and although initially quite anxious, he says it proved to be a good decision.

“It's just been support, support, support,” Cruz said about the reaction of fighters and fans.

“All the boxers respect my life, my decision. When Orlando Cruz walks into the ring, Orlando Cruz is separate from my sexual orientation. Orlando Cruz is a professional boxer,” he said.

In 2013, Cruz lost against Orlando Salido in the final for the WBO Featherweight title, but in the past year, has won four straight fights collecting continental titles, and now, the 35-year-old has a second chance to become the world champion.

But Cruz will have his work cut out for him—Flanagan is unbeaten in 31 fights.

“I want that other (gay) athletes are not scared to walk into the society. Don't be scared. Be happy with your life, and happy with your decision. All people are the same,” Cruz said.

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