Transgender Boxer Patricio Manuel Makes History In Pro Debut

Patricio Manuel wins debut for himself and the culture.

The LGBTQ community won yet another battle, both literally and figuratively.

Transgender boxer Patricio Manuel made history after becoming the first transgender male to fight professionally in the United States.

The super-featherweight fighter is biologically female, and beat Mexico’s Hugo Aguilar by unanimous decision last weekend. The bout was part of a Golden Boy Promotions card.


Manuel competed as a female in the Olympic trials ahead of the 2012 London games until an unfortunate shoulder injury sidelined him. He then underwent hormone surgery to become a man. However, once his decision was public, his coach wouldn’t work with him. 

The California State Athletic Commission didn’t immediately pounce on the idea to grant Manuel a boxing license. However, a ruling from the International Olympic Committee laid the foundation.

The IOC stated that female-to-male transgender athletes could compete “without restriction” before the 2016 Rio games. That cleared the way and the CSAC issued Manuel a license.

Aguilar, Manuel’s opponent, learned of the gender transition only two days before the fight.

“It doesn’t change anything for me,” Aguilar told the Los Angeles Times. “In the ring, he wants to win and I want to win, too.”


Manuel is not the first transgender athlete on a pro level. The Australian Handball Federation allowed Hannah Mouncey to compete on the women’s team, despite being born male.

After taking a unanimous decision victory over Aguilar, Manuel is breaking barriers during the sweet science’s resurgence. 


Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. Rhett hosts the PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider's take featuring the world's biggest names.