Transgender boxer Patricio Manuel has made history a fourth time, but who’s counting.
Manuel also is the first boxer in U.S. history to fight as a woman and later as a man.
This week, the former long-time Long Beach resident who lives in Boyle Heights, landed in the history books with his fourth achievement: Iconic boxing brand Everlast named Manuel the face of its company, joining previous product endorsers and boxing legends Jack Dempsey, Sugar Ray Robinson, and Canelo Álvarez.
In addition to Manuel, Everlast announced amputee fighter Jinji Martinez and the Balderas family, immigrants from Mexico who are amateur boxers, as part of its “new crop of trailblazers.”
“These fighters and their stories not only humanize the world of fight sports, but they also relate to many struggles people face around the world today,” Everlast said in a statement.
Everlast, which launched in 1910, is the world’s leading manufacturer and licensor of boxing, mixed martial arts and fitness equipment.
Manuel has overcome many struggles in his road to victory — He risked everything to compete as a male boxer.
Manuel has competed in boxing tournaments since he was a high school student. His career as a female competitor included five national amateur championships and a stint in the 2012 Olympic Trials.
But after suffering a shoulder injury, Manuel was eliminated from those trials.
This injury and the subsequent depression were a defining moment for Manuel, who realized his truth and decided to transition from female to male during recovery.
During his transition, Manuel lost his coach, his gym, two jobs, and a handful of friends and acquaintances. But the process only made him fight harder, Manuel says.
“Living in your truth is going to hurt, but it’s worth it,” Manuel says in an Everlast video.
After a six year journey of reclaiming his identity and fighting for what he believed in and the sport he loved, Manuel entered the boxing ring December 8, 2018, and made history.
At the Fantasy Spring Resort Casino in Indio, Manuel competed in a four-round super featherweight fight with Hugo Aguilar.
Manuel was victorious.
“So many people had said that it’s impossible for a trans man to be able to compete against a non trans man and win,” Manuel says in the video. “I proved them all wrong that night.
“It was a victory greater than just having my a successful pro debut,” he says. “It challenged assumptions about what people like me can do.”