Puerto Rican boxer Orlando Cruz has announced that he's “a proud gay man,” making him the first boxer to come out during his career.

The 31-year-old Cruz is currently ranked No. 4 in the world by the WBO. At 126 pounds, he competes in the featherweight division.

“I've been fighting for more than 24 years and as I continue my ascendant career, I want to be true to myself,” Cruz said in a statement. “I want to try to be the best role model I can be for kids who might look into boxing as a sport and a professional career. I have and will always be a proud Puerto Rican. I have always been and always will be a proud gay man.”

In a Twitter message, Cruz added in Spanish: “I love my life and how I am and should be.”

Cruz, who began his boxing career at the age of 7, represented Puerto Rico at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia.

His October 19 fight at the Kissimmee Civic Center in Kissimmee, Florida against Jorge Pazos could position Cruz for a world title shot.

The boxer is expected to expand on his announcement during a Telemundo interview set to air next week.