09/25/2013 03:57 pm ET Updated Feb 02, 2016

Orlando Cruz, Gay Boxer, Says He Came Out For 'Respect'

Taking a break between training sessions, professional boxer Orlando Cruz spoke with The Guardian about his decision to come out of the closet as a gay athlete and the overall response he's received from his fanbase.

“I want respect," he said. "That's it. It's my decision, it's my life." Cruz also added that 95 percent of the feedback he's received since coming out has been positive.

Cruz originally came out in late 2012, telling USA Today that he is a "proud gay man" and wanted to be true to himself. The professional athlete has also previously stated that he hoped coming out would make him a better boxer, and that he could put the strenuous energy it took to stay in the closet into training.

Cruz is slated to fight Mexico's Orlando Salido for the World Boxing Organization's featherweight title on Oct. 12.


LGBT Athletes
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