Published On: Thu, Apr 11th, 2024

Transgender boxer releases statement after suffering 21-second KO | Boxing | Sport


Transgender boxer Patricio Manuel has released a statement confirming that he will continue boxing, despite suffering the first loss of his professional career. Manuel was a five-time US Women’s amateur champion before undergoing gender reassignment surgery nearly a decade ago and suffered a surprise defeat to Joshua Brian Reyes.

Manuel had become the first transgender man to box professionally in 2018 and had been unbeaten at 3-0 before taking on Reyes at the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California. Reyes had won four of his six previous fights and was considered the underdog, but stunned Manuel by knocking them out in just 21 seconds.

Despite the early defeat, Manuel has promised to continue his boxing career and remains the only transgender boxer to compete professionally. “I’m not one to hide my face no matter the outcome….I lost last night,” Manuel wrote on Instagram. “I trained my a** off, had great sparring, cut no corners. But sometimes s*** doesn’t go your way.

“It’s a risk we all take when we step in the ring. It’s what is exciting about boxing – and also the most heartbreaking. The most important part is I am healthy. I am deeply disappointed and to be honest, my ego is bruised.

“But I refuse to bow my head in shame. I’ve never been one to play it safe and sometimes that means I fail. And life has taught me over and over again that failure will not break me. Thank you to everyone who has been (and hopefully will still be) in my corner.”

A busy 2023 saw Manuel claim a four-round win over Hieun Huynh and backed that victory up in June with a unanimous decision over Alex Gutierrez, where he landed twice as many blows as his opponent.

But a 21-second bout with Reyes left Manuel on the floor for the first time in his professional career. He struggled to get up with wobbly legs and the referee ended the fight as a technical knockout.

Though plans remain to continue boxing professionally despite the loss, Manuel has openly discussed the joy he gets from competing since undergoing gender reassignment surgery in 2015.

“One of the most gender-affirming things I think I’ve experienced is the affirmation as I walk in the gym,” he told Outsports in 2022. “I spend most of my time not being a trans man, but just being a man. There’s not a moment now when I’m in a gym where I ever do not feel just being a man, it’s not even about being cis or trans, but just being a man in that space. I take a lot of pride in that.”



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