After an intense year, Orlando Cruz has been named Athlete of the Year by Outsports.
Boxer Orlando Cruz has had a pretty intense year after fighting his way to the world championship title and losing it to opponent Terry Flanagan in Cardiff last month.
Despite the loss, Cruz has worked hard and dedicated his journey to the LGBT community, specifically the lives lost at the Orlando Pulse massacre.
To celebrate his journey and dedication, Cruz has been named Athlete of the Year by Outsports.
The publication revealed why they had chosen Cruz as their Athlete of the Year, stating that “pride” is the word that comes to mind whenever they think of him.
“The professional boxer has literally worn his Puerto Rican heritage proudly on his boxing trunks for years. After coming out publicly as gay, he added a rainbow flag to his boxing attire, even at one point showing up for a weigh-in wearing just rainbow-coloured underwear.”
“Cruz had a fantastic 2016, winning his first three bouts and claiming the WBO North American Boxing Organisation super featherweight title. In July he won his title bout against Alejandro Valdez after dedicating the fight to the victims of the Orlando Pulse massacre.”
Outsports stated that Cruz is “one of the world’s best boxers” and will have more chances at winning the world championship title in the future.
“That he continues to perform at such a high level in the uber-macho sport of boxing, wrapping himself in rainbow flags and welcoming his role as a role model for LGBT athletes the whole time, makes his selection as Outsports’ 2016 Male Athlete of the Year that much sweeter.”