The first transgender boxer to compete at the pro level in the U.S. made history Saturday night in Southern California – defeating a male opponent in his debut.
Patricio Manuel, 33, from the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles, won a unanimous decision over Mexican super-featherweight Hugo Aguilar at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, Calif., the Los Angeles Times reported.
“I wouldn’t trade any of it. It was worth everything I went through to get to this point,” Manuel told the Times. “I’m a professional boxer now.”
“I wouldn’t trade any of it. It was worth everything I went through to get to this point. I’m a professional boxer now.”
Manuel had competed as a woman in the 2012 trials for the U.S. Olympic team, then embarked on a long transition to become a male, the newspaper reported.
Scars from surgery were visible on Manuel’s chest and abdomen when he stepped into the ring, the Desert Sun reported.
When he resumed his boxing career, Manuel initially had trouble finding opponents willing to fight him, the Times said.
Aguilar, the opponent on Saturday, didn’t know Manuel was transgender until Thursday, the Times reported.
“It doesn’t change anything for me,” Aguilar told the Times. “In the ring he wants to win and I want to win too.”
Manuel was cheered on by nearly 70 friends and family members, the Desert Sun reported.
Other combat sports have had transgender athletes, including Fallon Fox in mixed martial arts and Parinya Charoenphol in Thai boxing, according to the Desert Sun.
Manuel plans to fight again in February, the Times reported.