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In 2004 Worapoj Petchkoom was a Thai national hero having claimed an Olympic Silver medal. Although he was clearly beaten in the final his loss was no shame having come to one of the greatest of all time in Guillermo Rigondeaux.

Over the following few years he had claimed various other titles including 2 Gold medals at the Southeast Asian Games (putting him on to 4 medals in the competition) and fought at both the 2007 World Amateur Champions and the 2008 Olympics.

There was absolutely nothing wrong with the Thai's boxing but in 2009 he suffered a 3 month ban (denying him of a 5th successive Southeast Asian Games Gold medal) due to the fact he had "tarnished the reputation of professional athletes".

How had Worapoj tarnished the reputation of athletes? Well he'd been photographed and interviewed for gay lifestyle magazine "STAGE" (the cover of which can be seen above).

Despite the pictures not being obscene or indecent he was still forced to serve the ban by the Amateur Boxing Association of Thailand (ABAT) in what may be one of the gayest reasons for a ban in history (see what I did there?).

 
 
Late last year Puerto Rican fighter Orlando Cruz (19-2-1, 9) came out as being openly gay. His coming out made not only the boxing news but was mentioned across the sporting world and was seen as a major step forward for gay competitors in sport.

Whilst Cruz coming out was big news, it's often forgotten that he wasn't the first gay man in the boxing world. In fact it's actually hard to know who was the first though one man who came out before Cruz was Canadian Olympic medalist Mark Leduc.

Leduc, who won an Olympic Silver medal in 1992 (losing in the Light Welterweight final to Cuban Héctor Vinent) was a stand out amateur compiling a hugely impressive record of 158-26 in the unpaid ranks. Included in his amateur record were victories over Shannan Taylor, Fitzroy Vanderpool, Robert McCracken, Héctor Vinent, Howard Grant and Leonard Doroftei (Leonard Dorin).

After his solid amateur career Ludec would turn professional and make his debut in November 1992 stopping Jeff Williams. He would swiftly add 3 more victories to his record and claim the Canada - Professional Boxing Council Light Welterweight title as he moved to 4-0 by mid April 1993.

After winning his first 4 bouts as a professional Ludec would fight just once more losing a close split decision to Michel Galarneau for the Canadian Light Welterweight title bout. Following the loss Ludec (4-1, 2) retired from the sport aged 31.

Less than year after retiring from the sport Ludec came out as being gay on a documentary and was later featured on a radio show talking about his homosexuality and later working with AIDS charities.

In 2009, aged just 47 Ldeuc was found dead in a hotel's sauna, not living to see Cruz come out as gay whilst the Puerto Rican was still competing.