A 33-year-old boxer entered the history books Saturday.
Pat Manuel is the first transgender male to fight professionally in the United States.
In a unanimous decision, Manuel was declared the winner in a fight against Mexican super-featherweight Hugo Aguilar in Indio, California.
“I’m a professional boxer now,” Manuel told the Los Angeles Times.
Saturday was not Manuel’s first foray into the boxing ring, however.
He competed as a female in the 2012 Olympic trials for the London Games. A shoulder injury after just one fight dashed his Olympic dreams of competing in the first Olympic boxing tournament for women.
The end of one dream allowed him to pursue another dream he had held even longer — transitioning from a female to a male.
After months of hormone replacements and surgery, Manuel was ready to enter the ring again, but this time as a male.
California boxing authorities were not sure about issuing Manuel a boxing license. That all changed, however, when the International Olympic Committee ruled before the 2016 Rio Games that female-to-male transgender athletes could compete “without restriction.”
California issued Manuel a license.
Aguilar, Manuel’s opponent Saturday, learned only two days before the fight about Manuel’s transition.
“It doesn’t change anything for me,” Aguilar said. “In the ring, he wants to win and I want to win, too.”
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