Boxer Pat Manuel has become the first trans male to win a professional fight.
According to Out Sports, the 34-year-old emerged victorious from his clash with Hugo Aguilar at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California. It was his first fight in two years, due to various injuries and roadblocks.
“I wouldn’t trade any of it. It was worth everything I went through to get to this point,” Manuel told the Los Angeles Times. “I’m a professional boxer now.”
Speaking on camera following his win, Manuel said: “I think if people knew what it took to get to this moment, it’s been almost two years since I’ve been in a ring."
He continued: “I just have to say my opponent, hats off to him. He came to fight. He was fighting me the whole time. He fought me as a man, and I have so much respect for him.”
Manuel then addressed the scattered boos coming from the crowd.
“I hear some fans aren’t happy,” he said. “It’s OK, I’ll be back. I’ll make them happy then.”
“I just need to say to everyone that’s been along with this journey for like six years really, thank you so much,” Manuel said, according to Yahoo Sports.
“I couldn’t be here without you. I really needed that support to help push me to this point … There’s so many people that just wanted me to be here, and I’m so happy that I could perform for them."
Manuel has previously opened up about the challenges he faced navigating both his gender dysphoria and passion for sport.
“I originally started boxing as a female athlete as a way to cope with the gender dysphoria I was feeling," he said in a 60-second YouTube documentary.
"It was actually boxing that kept me from transitioning because I didn’t know if I would be able to continue competing if I decided to medically transition."