Transgender boxer Patricio Manuel loses first fight

Patricio Manuel transgender boxer loses

Patricio Manuel, the first out transgender boxer in U.S. history, left, was knocked out by Joshua Bryan Reyes 21 seconds into their fight in Indio on April 4.

Boxer Patricio Manuel remained defiant after suffering the first loss of his career.

The first out transgender boxer in U.S. history was knocked out by Joshua Bryan Reyes 21 seconds into their fight in Indio on April 4. Despite the quick exit, Manuel took to social media to assure fans he was not going to hide or step away from the ring.

Manuel, 38, said he was “deeply disappointed” by the loss and suffering from a “bruised ego,” but the former Long Beach resident refused to be ashamed. 

“I’m not one to hide my face no matter the outcome….I lost last night,” Manuel wrote.

“It’s a risk we all take when we step in the ring. It’s what is exciting about boxing – and also the most heart breaking,” Manuel said.

“The most important part is I am healthy. I am deeply disappointed and to be honest, my ego is bruised,” Manuel said.

Patricio Manuel – first transgender male boxer – to make history

Manuel fought in the opening bout of the Golden Boy Fight Night at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino.

Manuel was sent to the canvas 21 seconds into the fight after Reyes gave him a sharp punch to the chin, according to Outsports. Manuel struggled to regain his footing, and the referee stopped the fight.

“I’ve never been one to play it safe and sometimes that means I fail,” he wrote. “And life has taught me over and over again that failure will not break me.”

Manuel has overcome many struggles and 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.

In 2019, Everlast named Manuel as part of its historic “Be First” campaign. Manuel was the first trans boxer selected by the company to endorse its brand.

“These fighters and their stories not only humanize the world of fightsports, but they also relate to many struggles people face around the world today,” Everlast said in a statement at the time.

Manuel discussed his journey for the campaign.

“So many of us are being forced into these restrictive boxes of identification, but very few of us actually fit,” Manuel said in the video. “And I want to see all of us be celebrated when we fight against those specific restrictive norms.”

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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