Celebrity News: Upon entering the ring this fall, the young man could become the first transgender boxer to compete as a woman and as a man.
“The next step for me as a male boxer is to become professional no matter how difficult it seems. I’ve never been a challenge to him,” he explained in an interview with Efe Pat Manuel.
Although the 32-year-old Hispanic started at an early age to face challenges it was boxing that gave him the strength to choose and win the battles he had to fight.
The boxer remembers that everything began 16 years ago when his maternal grandmother gave him some gloves at Christmas. By that time Pat was called Patricia and still did not know she was transgender.
However, the sport of “flat noses” offered him something that nothing, nor anyone had given him: “It was definitely a release, it made me feel confident in my body and capable of myself.”
Soon the young person of Latin American and African American ancestry was coupled as a woman to a sport that is still masculine and that keeps women in the background.
Pat Manuel’s first challenge would be to prove that she was a good boxer and deserved to be a member of the US women’s Olympic team.
Under the direction of coach Roberto Luna, who had already brought three boxers to the Olympics, Pat Manuel began to prepare to achieve his dream.
But while in the ring the boxer fought a fight, the human being fought another ’round’ within itself, seeking its true identity. In both clashes he declared himself a winner.
The women’s boxing career was thwarted in 2012 when in the midst of the Olympic trials she had to retire due to a shoulder injury, which was Pat Manuel’s last bout as a woman.
“My decision to make the medical transition and continue boxing was done at the same time. I do not think I can see myself as a man without being a boxer, both are connected,” he insists.
In September of 2013, the Hispanic began with hormone replacement therapy, and a year and a half later underwent surgery to complement the transformation.
For Daniel Sanchez, one of Pat Manuel’s current coaches at the Duarte Boxing Club in California, good fighter skills are innate in this youngster.
His dexterity, speed and dedication make him an integral sportsman.
“As a woman, she was always very good, now she is of more value,” he explains. “If you have to push a little harder to work a hard, if you have to give a ’round’ more, two ’round’ more, it does,” he adds.
The process was not easy and, although he had the support of his mother and his maternal grandmother, others turned their backs on him and did not want to be in his corner.
“He had many difficulties in other gyms, did not want to work with him,” recalls Sánchez.