Patricio Manuel is a transgender man who was assigned female at birth. He made history with a resounding victory over Alexander Gutierrez in an Golden boy promotions match.
Competing in the men’s category, Manuel, formerly known as Patricia Manuel, secured a fourth-round unanimous decision win at Golden Boy FN on June 8 in Indo, California.
This latest triumph brings Manuel’s professional record to 3-0, with all three victories taking place under the banner of Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions. However, Manuel’s journey to the world of professional boxing has not been without its challenges.
Before undergoing gender reassignment surgery in 2013, Manuel was a prominent figure in women’s amateur boxing.
In fact, Manuel competed in the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials, where she showcased her skills as a five-time national amateur women’s boxing champion. Unfortunately, her dreams of representing the United States in the London Games were shattered due to a shoulder injury.
Reflecting on her setback, Manuel shared, “It’s really hard to say my shoulder injury was good for me… but having that downtime gave me time to look into myself and see what did I want beyond competing,” in an interview with LA Weekly in 2015.
It was during this period of introspection that Manuel began to embrace his true identity and made the decision to transition.
The transition marked a significant turning point in Manuel’s boxing career. In 2018, he made history as the first transgender professional boxer in U.S. history. Since then, Manuel has participated in two more bouts against relatively unknown opponents, maintaining an undefeated record in the men’s division.
However, finding opponents willing to face Manuel has proven challenging. He attributes this difficulty to the unique life he has consciously constructed since embracing his true identity. Manuel’s success in the ring has sparked conversations about transgender athletes in the sport and raised questions about inclusivity and safety.
Earlier this year, the World Boxing Council (WBC) proposed the possibility of creating a separate league for transgender athletes. WBC President Mauricio Sulaimán emphasized that the decision was driven by concerns for safety and inclusion. While the proposal aimed to welcome transgender boxers to the sport, it was met with criticism from Manuel and others who felt it dehumanized transgender individuals.
Manuel expressed disappointment with the WBC’s stance, stating, “It is heartbreaking to me to have the WBC, a leader in my sport, argue that I don’t have a place in the ring as a man.” He firmly believes that such rhetoric undermines the rights and identities of transgender people.
The boxing community has not been without its skeptics regarding Manuel’s abilities in the ring. Controversial podcaster Joe Rogan, known for his outspoken views, expressed doubts about Manuel’s chances against male opponents. Rogan even made disparaging comments about Manuel’s physique, comparing his shoulders to those of comedian Andy Dick.
‘My first thought was; this guy’s going to get lit up if he fights actual men. That’s a female to male, yep look at those shoulders; they look like Andy Dick’s shoulders,’ he said look at a photo of Manuel.
‘The women competing as men like [Manuel]… I haven’t sparred in forever, I’ll knock that dude the f*** out. ‘
‘There’s just no way. There’s a difference, there’s a giant difference. [Manuel] is never gonna beat Deontay Wilder. He’s never going to beat a real boxer.’
Despite the criticism, Manuel remains determined to prove his worth and challenge preconceived notions about transgender athletes. He aims to continue making strides in the sport he loves and hopes that his success will pave the way for greater acceptance and opportunities for transgender individuals in the world of professional boxing.
Since 2014, Benny A. King has been fully immersed in the world of combat sports. Starting with a blog about Greco Roman wrestling, Benny’s passion for combat sports has led him to explore various disciplines.