- The Washington Times - Friday, September 27, 2019

Everlast boxing brand has chosen Patricio Manuel, the world’s first transgender professional boxer, as the face of its new “Be First” campaign, the company said Friday.

“At a time when transgender people are being questioned whether we have a place in the sporting world or even being recognized by the world at large, for Everlast to endorse me is huge,” Mr. Manuel told CNN. “It’s a bold statement and I think it personifies the saying ‘Be First.’

“I really hope it pushes other companies to think outside the box,” he said. “This world is so incredibly diverse, we all deserve to have our identities and stories highlighted.”

As a female, Mr. Manuel was a USA national amateur boxing champion who fell into depression after a shoulder injury during the Olympic qualifiers, Everlast said in a press release.

Mr. Manuel made the decision to transition to male and spent the next six years fighting to reclaim his standing in the boxing industry, the release said.

“He climbed into the ring at the Fantasy Spring Resort Casino in Indio as the first transgender male boxer, and climbed out victorious,” the release said. “Manuel is dedicated to striking the notion that people should fall into restrictive boxes of identification and inspiring others to be celebrated when they fight against those norms.”

Other athletes to join the “Be First” campaign include amputee fighter Jinji Martinez and Mexican American brothers Karlos Balderas and Jose Baldera.

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