Patricio Manuel – first transgender male boxer – to make history

LONG BEACH — Patricio Manuel will make history this week as the first transgender man to enter the ring as a professional boxer in the United States.

The match, promoted by Golden Boy Promotions, will take place Saturday at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio. The event will be streamlined live on Facebook starting at 6 p.m. PST on the Golden Boy Boxing page.

“I’m excited to let you know it’s on,” Manuel said in a social media post Friday.

Manuel will compete in a four-round super featherweight fight. His opponent will be Hugo Aguilar.


Manuel is no stranger to making history. Manuel also is the first boxer in U.S. history to fight as a woman and later as a man.

The 33-year-old Long Beach resident has competed in boxing tournaments since he was a high school student, but ended his career fighting as a woman boxer during the 2012 Olympic Trials.

Patricio Manuel Transgender Boxer

Patricio Manuel will make history this week as the first transgender man to enter the ring as a professional boxer Photo: Pat Manuel.

Manuel started his transition in September 2013. In the spring of 2014, Manuel had gender-confirmation surgery; his breasts were removed and his chest was reconstructed into male-contoured shape.

“I’m a masculine person, but I don’t want to be a man necessarily,” Manuel told the Los Angeles Times  last year. “I want to be, I guess, free of those binds. But because we live in a world where it’s male or female, I have to shift over. … I want to be able to compete with males.”


On May 5, 2016, during a three-round match, Manuel made history as the first U.S. boxer who had transitioned from female to male.

The state boxing commission, which regulates professional boxing in California, had never dealt with a situation like Manuel’s, so it demurred on giving him permission to fight.

But USA Boxing, the national governing body for amateur competition, offered a way out. When the International Olympic Committee changed its policies in 2016, ruling that female-to-male transgender athletes should be allowed to compete “without restriction,” USA Boxing approved Manuel’s license.

Saturday’s match has been a long time coming for Manuel.

“I’m super excited to show the world I deserve the opportunity to compete against men just like anyone else,” Manuel said in the social media post.

About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBTQ community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBTQ students.

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