What do you do when you’ve already made history at the age of 34? You do it again.
On December 8, 2018, Patricio Manuel became the first male transgender boxer to have a professional fight.
When the 12-minute match was over, Manuel was named the winner over Mexican boxer Hugo Aguilar in a unanimous ruling from the judges.
“I wouldn’t trade any of it,” Manuel told the Los Angeles Times after the win. “It was worth everything I went through to get to this point,”
Today, Manuel makes history again as he has been chosen by Everlast (THE brand in boxing equipment since 1910) as one of the faces of the fitness brand’s global Be First campaign.
Be First encourages people from all walks of life to carve out their own path to success.
Previous world-class athletes who have been associated with Everlast include boxing icons like Sugar Ray Robinson, Jack Dempsey, and Canelo Álvarez.
The campaign derives its title from the well-known boxing term ‘be first,’ which encourages boxers to set the pace of a boxing match forcing your opponent to follow your lead.
Manuel certainly embodies that concept as part of Everlast’s “new crop of trailblazers.”
Beginning his boxing career in the early 2000s as a female competitor prior to transitioning, Manuel was already a force in the boxing ring winning five national amateur championships.
In 2012, Manuel took part in the Olympic trials but suffered a shoulder injury resulting in being eliminated from contention.
During the recovery period, Manuel experienced depression as well which led to some soul searching and an epiphany.
He realized that he was living a lie.
“Once I realized that I was trans, I knew that I needed to live my life being seen as a man,” Manuel told CBNC.
It would be a year, though, before he would begin to transition. Manuel had to wrap his head around the idea that in living his full, authentic life he might lose the sport he loved so much.
Some of those fears were realized during his transition as he lost his coach, his gym, jobs and some friends.
But the pushback just served to empower him that much more.
His advice to people today is to know yourself, what it is you want in life, and how far you’ll go (or what you’ll give up) to achieve your dreams.
“Regardless of what your goals are, whether you are trans, whether you are an athlete or not, our dreams have big costs to it, and it all requires risk for us to find that reward,” he told CNBC.
“We only have one life to live,” explains Manuel. “As cliché as that sounds, I really try to live my life having the least amount of regrets as possible.”
Watch Manuel share his journey in the video below from Everlast.