Patricio Manuel, pro boxing's first transgender fighter, describes his uphill climb

Patricio Manuel made history and headlines in December 2018, becoming the first transgender person to have a professional fight in the United States. But the super featherweight and five-time amateur boxing champion didn't break barriers without some push-back. Not by a long shot.

When the 33-year-old Santa Monica-native made the decision to transition from female to male after the 2012 Olympic Trials, undergoing hormone treatments to satisfy childhood desires for boyhood, his family still loved and accepted him.

"There was never any fear that I was going to get thrown out," he said in "A Fighter's Chance," a Pride Month feature on his journey. "We tend to highlight more the people who have been thrown out."

Things were different, however, in the ring.

"The gym I had been training at made it very clear that I could train there, but no one could know that I was a part of the gym," he said. "So I walked out of the gym that day, and I never came back ... It wasn't like I could keep this quiet."

Eventually, Manuel explained, he came into contact with coach Victor Valenzuela of Duarte Boxing in California. The two struck up a conversation, Valenzuela learned of Manuel's "falling out," and before long, the future Golden Boy Promotions fighter was working side by side with countless other training fighters.

"They're all boxers," Valenzuela said, explaining why Manuel wasn't announced as transgender to his other trainees.

"I never have to explain who I am," Manuel said. "He sees me as just one of the guys in the gym, and he always trained me as such."

Check out Manuel's complete story in the video above.

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