Gay boxer wins first bout since coming out: 'that was my moment'
KISSIMMEE — The past two weeks have weighed heavily on Orlando Cruz.
But as soon as he walked out to a cheering crowd displaying flags of his native Puerto Rico, boxing's first openly gay fighter could finally breathe and do what he came to do, slug his way to a victory, this one by unanimous decision over Jorge Pazos.
"That was my moment, my opportunity, my event," Cruz, 31, said after the featherweight bout late Friday. "And I won."
Cruz was touched by the support at the Kissimmee Civic Center, the latest in a continual outpouring since his announcement two weeks ago that made him the first active male athlete in a major sport to come out.
"I was very happy that they respect me. That's what I want, them to see me as a boxer, as an athlete and as a man in every sense of the word," he said.
Cruz (19-2-1, 9 KOs) quickly negated Pazos' longer reach with his fleet feet. Pazos (20-4, 13 KOs) spent most of the night lunging after Cruz. Pazos threw more punches, but Cruz made his count, getting a 118-110, 116-111, 118-110 decision.
U.S. women tie Germany in first post-Sundhage game
Abby Wambach scored in the second minute, but the top-ranked Americans were forced to settle for a 1-1 tie with world No. 2 Germany after squandering several chances in the second half of an exhibition Saturday night at Bridgeview, Ill. It was the Americans' first game without Pia Sundhage, who stepped down as coach in September after five years, two Olympic gold medals and a World Cup final appearance. It also was their first game in a month. "It didn't feel funny without Pia," Wambach, a former Gator, said. "What did feel funny is we haven't played much together. The fact we could get this result against a good German team is a credit to us."
England: First-place Chelsea beat Tottenham 4-2 to preserve a four-point lead over Manchester United and Manchester City in the Premier League. Wayne Rooney scored twice for Man U in a 4-2 win over Stoke. Man City rallied for a 2-1 win over West Bromwich Albion. … Man U manager Alex Ferguson criticized defender Rio Ferdinand for failing to wear a T-shirt promoting an anti-racism campaign, calling the decision "embarrassing for me" and hinting at disciplinary action. League players wore the shirts during warmups as part of a campaign by anti-discrimination group Kick It Out. Ferdinand didn't to protest what he has said is Kick It Out's lack of action during recent high-profile racism cases. Chelsea defender John Terry was recently banned for four matches for racially abusing Ferdinand's brother Anton during a league game last season.
WNBA: Indiana can win its first championship tonight (8, ESPN2) with a victory over visiting Minnesota. The Fever has a 2-1 lead over the defending champion in the series.
Tennis: Venus Williams reached her first final in almost 2½ years, defeating Andrea Petkovic 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 in the Luxembourg Open semifinals. Williams, hampered for two seasons by injuries and an autoimmune disease, plays Monica Niculescu. … Tampa resident Sam Stosur and Caroline Wozniacki earned three-set victories to reach the final of the Kremlin Cup at Moscow. Stosur rallied past former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic 2-6, 6-3, 6-2. Wozniacki advanced by beating Sofia Arvidsson 6-3, 6-7 (4-7), 6-4.
Figure skating: American Ashley Wagner skated a clean short program to grab the lead in the women's competition at Skate America in Kent, Wash. American Christina Gao was third.
Football: The United Football League said it is postponing the second half of its eight-game season until spring. The league said it didn't have sufficient funds to cover all its costs. Teams are in Omaha, Neb.; Sacramento, Calif.; Las Vegas, and Norfolk, Va.