Transgender boxer Pat Manuel makes history with first professional win
Olympic boxing hopeful Patricio Manuel made history on Saturday evening by becoming the first transgender male to fight professionally in the United States.
The 33-year-old defeated Hugo Aguilar by unanimous decision at Fantasy Spring Casino in Indio, California.
The bout marks the end of a long road back to the ring for Manuel.
“I am a professional boxer now,” he said during his post-fight speech.
“I wouldn’t trade any of it. It was worth everything I went through to get this point.”
The highly decorated amateur boxer competed as a female fighter at the U.S. trials for London 2012.
He suffered a shoulder injury after his first bout and missed qualification to compete in the first Olympic boxing tournament for women.
But the end of Manuel's Olympic dream marked the start of his historic journey to transition from a female to a male.
After surgery and months of hormonal treatment, he got back to training.
It took him two years to return to the boxing ring, as a male boxer.
Being the first known transgender case, the California State boxing commission was reluctant to allow him to fight.
Manuel was only cleared to fight shortly after the International Olympic Committee in 2016 advised that female-to-male athletes can compete without any restriction.
"It's a funny thing when just living your truth becomes historic," he said.
Long road back to the ring
Manuel fought only twice in 2016, winning one bout and losing another. Since then he struggled with injuries and was also unable to find opponents.
His Mexican opponent only found out two days before the fight about Manuel’s story according to the "Los Angeles Times".
"It doesn’t change anything for me. In the ring he wants to win and I want to win too," Aguilar said, fighting in the States for the first time.
Manuel hopes there will be more wins to come.
"I’m not in here just for one show, for one fight. This is something I love. I’m not done with this sport. I’ll be back.”
Re-live his inspiring story in our original series.