A boxer in the United States recently achieved a rare milestone as he became the first transgender male to compete in professional boxing in the country.
Patricio Manuel, a former US Olympic Team hopeful, appeared in his inaugural professional boxing fight last Saturday, making him the first professional transgender male boxer to compete in America. His debut was sweeter as he ended the night with a unanimous decision victory over Mexican opponent, Hugo Aguilar.
Transgender male boxer Patricio Manuel makes history with a win in his pro debut in Indio last night as he jumps into the arms of his trainer Vic Valenzuela. #boxing #patmanuel #latimes pic.twitter.com/rZalg1AVB9
— Wally Skalij (@WallySkalij) December 10, 2018
Before making history last Saturday, Manuel’s boxing journey experienced some major twist and turns. In 2012, one of the biggest setbacks in his career happened as he failed to make it to the prestigious quadrennial meet after an early exit in the US Olympic trials due to a shoulder injury.
Months after a disappointing outing in Olympic trials, Manuel began transitioning from female to male, underwent major surgery and hormone treatments, then went back to training to reach the pro ranks. However, he had to pass through the proverbial eye of the needle before getting a license from California’s boxing authorities. But a ruling from the 2016 Rio Olympics, stating that transgender athletes could compete “without restriction,” paved the way for Manuel to compete professionally.
Last weekend, he became the first transgender male boxer to compete in the United States. Manuel had to go through 12 minutes of intense actions to register his first win at the expense of Aguilar.
“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. 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.”
"It's a funny thing when just living your truth becomes historic."
— Golden Boy Boxing (@GoldenBoyBoxing) December 9, 2018
Manuel has taken to Instagram to thank the people who made it possible for him compete in professional boxing.
“Thank you. To family and friends. To my coaches, teammates, sparring partners and the boxing community. To sponsors, supporters and fans. And to @oscardelahoya, @makeawar, @goldenboyboxing for not waiting til it was “safe” to give a guy like me the chance to prove I deserve to compete in the sport I love. This story’s end is not written, it’s just beginning.”
Aguilar, who saw actions in the US for the first time, said he has no problem of his opponent being a transgender.
“For me, it’s very respectable. It doesn’t change anything for me. In the ring, he wants to win and I want to win too.”
But it is true that you cannot please everyone as some members of the crowd gave Manuel a resounding boo, a sign of their disapproval on his personal identity.
“I hear some fans aren’t happy. It’s OK, I’ll be back. I’ll make them happy then,” Manuel promised.
(Featured Image Source: Instagram/Pat Manuel and Twitter/Golden Boy Boxing)