First Openly Gay World Boxing Title Contender Dedicates Fight to Pulse Orlando Victims

By Sameer Rao Jul 14, 2016

Orlando Cruz shares a name with the city where, nearly a month ago, Omar Mateen shot and killed 49 predominantly Latinx people at the Pulse Orlando nightclub. The openly gay boxer visited the memorial on the one-month anniversary (July 12) after dedicating his upcoming fight to those killed in the country’s deadliest mass shooting. shared photos of Cruz visiting the memorial erected outside Pulse, where he laid boxing gloves and flowers near crosses erected for the dead. The website also reported that Cruz, a Puerto Rico native who lost four friends in the massacre, could not attend previous vigils because of training commitments for tomorrow’s (July 15) title fight in nearby Kissimmee.

"At first, I was sad [after the shooting],” Cruz told the Orlando Sentinel last Saturday (July 9). "Second, angry. I am very angry because people are homophobic, so they attacked my community. They attacked me.”

Cruz faces off against Alejandro Valdez in tomorrow’s contest. He told Puerto Rican newspaper El Vocero last month that he would dedicate the fight to the victims and survivors of the Pulse massacre, as well as the gay community as a whole.

(H/t The Advocate)