Orlando Cruz
Cruz has had one previous shot at a world title in 2013 where he was overpowered by Orlando Salido. Getty


  • 'El Fenomeno' has his second world title fight in November in Cardiff.
  • Flanagan making the fourth defence of his WBO lightweight title.

Orlando Cruz will bid to become boxing's first openly gay world champion when he challenges Briton Terry Flanagan for the WBO lightweight championship in Cardiff next month.

The 35-year-old Puerto-Rican is currently ranked No 2 in the world at super-featherweight but will move up to challenge Flanagan on 26 November at the Motorpoint Arena in the Welsh capital.

Manchester-born Flanagan, undefeated in his 31 professional fights, will be making the fourth defence of his title in just over a year having seen off Diego Magdaleno, Derry Mathews and Mzonke Fana since winning the belt in July 2015.

Cruz meanwhile will be attempting to win a world title for just the second time in his career, having lost out to Orlando Salido when fighting for the vacant featherweight title in Las Vegas three years ago.

The southpaw became boxing first openly gay boxer when he came out in October 2012. After beating Alejandro Valdez via knockout in July last summer in Florida, Cruz dedicated the victory to the victims of the Orlando Pulse nightclub shootings, which left 49 dead.

The victory took him back to the brink of another shot at the featherweight championship but instead has moved up to 135lbs mark.

Cruz has won his last five fights and while Flanagan is wary of his opponent, he is determined to send a message to the rest of the division and the weight's No 1 fighter Jorge Linares.

"I do what I need to get the win, but if I feel the stoppage is there, I'll go for it," Flanagan said. "Cruz is a strong fighter and very dangerous and more than capable of causing an upset.

"I'm out to prove a point and show everyone that I'm world-class. [Jorge] Linares is seen as No 1 in the division after beating [Anthony] Crolla, and it would be good to get that fight and do something that Crolla couldn't do to prove I'm the best around."