Boxer wins first match as first transgender male to debut as a professional

The two scars between his chest and abdomen remain visible, but Patricio Manuel insisted on no special treatment before or during Saturday’s fight. He made that abundantly clear at Friday’s fighters meeting, and even requested that ringside commentators not so much as mention that he was once a woman.

Of course, that was unlikely to happen as that is an enormous part of his story, and why his professional boxing debut on Saturday evening at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio was historic.

Manuel's unanimous decision victory over journeyman Hugo Aguilar in the 128-pound super featherweight division was significant but will likely be viewed by the masses as a mere footnote. What was of more consequence was that Manuel became the first transgender male to compete as a pro boxer in the United States, according to Golden Boy Promotions.

“It’s a high right now,” said Manuel, 33. “I’m just really happy. This is the definition of true happiness in this moment.”

The bout, though, wasn’t a gimmick. Golden Boy Promotions President Eric Gomez wouldn’t have been up for that. He heard about Manuel’s story, that he was a five-time national amateur champion who competed as a woman in the 2012 Olympic Trials before a shoulder injury forced him to withdraw.

Manuel described that blessing in disguise.

“I needed all that to happen,” he said. “I don’t know if I would be able to perform. I think it needed to happen this way. I’m just really glad with the way everything played out.”

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