Patricio Manuel, 33, has defeated Mexican super-featherweight Hugo Aguilar by a unanimous decision. The fight took place at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California.
Manuel began his transition just months after competing in the 2012 Olympic trials in the women’s category, where his dreams were cut short due to a shoulder injury.
It had since been an uphill climb for Manuel. Upon his coming out five years ago, both his coach and the facility where he trained had refused to work with him. Boxing authorities in California were also not sure whether to issue him a boxing license.
Things began to change in 2016, when just prior to the Rio Olympics, the International Olympic Committee ruled that female-to-male transgender athletes could compete without restrictions. The policy change, along with some help from Oscar De La Hoya’s company, Golden Boy Promotions, helped him to receive a license to box professionally in California.
“I wouldn’t trade any of it,” Manuel, told the Los Angeles Times. “It was worth everything I went through to get to this point. I’m a professional boxer now.”
The Times also reported that Manuel opponent, Hugo Aguilar, was fighting in the United States for the first time, and that he was unaware that Manuel was transgender until two days before the fight took place. To Aguilar, the fact that Manuel was transgender made no difference.
“For me it’s very respectable,” Aguilar said in Spanish. “It doesn’t change anything for me. In the ring he wants to win and I want to win too.”
As for what is next for Manuel, he says his journey is just beginning.
“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.