After Multiple Hurdles, He Comes Out On Top
Patricio Manuel made history on Saturday when he climbed into the boxing ring and defeated Hugo Aguilar, becoming the first U.S. trans man to professionally box and win his match.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Manuel had an emotional journey on his road to a W.
The 33-year-old from Boyle Heights, L.A. fought in the 2012 Olympic trials as a female, then months later he began his transition to male. Once he transitioned, Manuel lost a coach and a training facility.
As an amateur, Manuel couldn’t find an opponent willing to fight a transgender boxer. As a pro, it took some assistance from Oscar De La Hoya‘s company, Golden Boy Promotions, to get him licensed.
Meanwhile, Mexico’s Hugo Aguilar was the first to step up and fight Manuel. It was Manuel’s first fight in two years.
For Aguilar, fighting a trans man wasn’t an issue. “For me it’s very respectable,” he said in Spanish. “It doesn’t change anything for me. In the ring he wants to win and I want to win too.”
Manuel and Aguilar went three rounds before the three judges scored 39-37 in favor of Manuel.
“I would have liked a knockout. I think I was trying to go for that in the second round when I got stupid,” Manuel said. “Then I just fought afterward.”
When asked what was next for Manuel, he promised that he has more in store.
“I’m going to take some time off, enjoy the holidays and then fight at the end of February. That’s the goal,” he said. “I definitely want to keep going. It’s been so long since I fought.”
As for his long journey, Manuel said he wouldn’t trade it for anything. “It was worth everything I went through to get to this point,” Manuel said. “I’m a professional boxer now.”
He continued, “The best part of tonight — once I got to the arena and starting getting ready, get the adrenaline rushing, step through those ropes, [greet] my opponent — I loved it all.”