- Patricio Manuel became the first transgender male to compete as a professional boxer in the United States on Saturday.
- Manuel fought Hugo Aguilar over four rounds in Indio, California but his landmark victory was marred as fans loudly booed him from ringside.
- The 33-year-old addressed his “naysayers” in a post-fight speech in the middle of the ring and promised them he will win them over in his next fight.
Patricio Manuel made boxing history on Saturday night when he became the first transgender man to fight professionally in the United States.
Manuel, a featherweight fighter, beat Hugo Aguilar by decision after four rounds in a Golden Boy Boxing promoted event at the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California, but his victory was bittersweet.
After his win, he got on the microphone and called out fans who were loudly booing him from ringside. “I hear some fans aren’t happy,” he said in the ring, according to Golden Boy. “It’s ok, I’ll be back… I’ll make you happy then.
“I’ve got some naysayers out there that I need to prove that I deserve to be here. I’m not in here just for one show in one fight. This is something I love. I’m not done with this sport and I will be back.”
Of Aguilar, who has yet to win in six bouts, Manuel said: “My opponent… hats off to him. He came here to fight, he fought me like a man, and I have so much respect for him.”
Listen to the crowd, as well as Manuel’s response, in the clip below:
"It's a funny thing when just living your truth becomes historic."
— Golden Boy (@GoldenBoyBoxing) December 9, 2018
Manuel formerly competed as a woman in the 2012 Olympic Trials but a shoulder injury forced him to withdraw, according to the Palm Springs Desert Sun.
He later began hormone treatment to medically transition into a man in 2014, and had surgery in 2015.
He wanted to continue his career in boxing, albeit in the men’s category rather than the women’s.
“Everyone who has been along for this journey over the past six years, really. Thank you so much, I couldn’t be here without you,” Manuel said in the ring. “I really needed that support to help push me to this point.
“There’s a lot of people behind my corner, my coaches, my beautiful partner, my family and friends and fans. There are so many people who wanted me to be here and I’m so glad I was able to perform for them.”
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