100 Women We Love

photo by Wally Skalij, LA Times
Patricia "Cacahuate" Manuel
The nationally ranked boxer nicknamed “Cacahuate” (Peanut) began her journey in the ring as an overweight teenager. She quickly fell in love with the directly competitive nature of the sport and the focused discipline needed to excel in it. Literally fighting her way to the top of her weight class, Manuel became one of the first women to participate in the Olympic Trial Box-Offs in preparation for the 2012 Olympics. Despite a medical disqualification during the trials, she is planning to join the professional ranks. “I thrive on rising to the challenge and going to battle. There is nothing more gratifying than putting in hard work and seeing the results in a competitive environment,” states Manuel, who says she’s motivated by her role within the LGBT community. At a time when many top athletes are afraid to come out of the closet, Manuel is using boxing as a means to increase the LGBT visibility. “I have always prided myself in being a butch athlete and ignoring outside pressures to soften my look,” she says. “The fighter I am has been shaped by the person I am outside the ring.”