10/24/2012 03:24 pm ET | Updated Feb 02, 2016

Orlando Cruz, Gay Boxer, Says He Is 'Very Happy, Free' After Coming Out

"[I'm] very, very happy. I am free."

That's how boxing's first openly gay fighter Orlando Cruz describes his feelings since publicly acknowledging his sexuality earlier this month. As it turns out, the 31-year-old former Olympian native has other reasons to celebrate, too: as USA Today reported, Cruz was victorious over Jorge Pazos in an Oct. 19 fight, his first since coming out.

In this excerpt from this poignant new interview with HBO Sports, Cruz also reveals that he used to cry at home before and after the gym before he came out. As to why he chose to discuss his private life with the press now, he told Jon Frankel: "I want respect...in the ring and outside, on the street."

Cruz's interview will air again on HBO Oct. 24 at 5:10 p.m. EDT and Oct. 26 at 10:30 a.m. EDT and 7 p.m. EDT on HBO2.


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