By Gary “Digital” Williams
Photos courtesy Renee Aiken
There are very few female matchmakers in the boxing business and if “The Boxing Diva” Renee Aiken has her way, there won’t be anybody – male or female – that will do the job any better. The native of Brooklyn, New Yorker will have her matchmaking skills on display in Baltimore on the Bang Time Boxing card Saturday, September 10 at Du Burns Arena. Aiken began her boxing career as the personal assistant to heavyweight contender Monte Barrett but it was her family relationship to former world champion Zab Judah that enabled Aiken to wear a lot of hats in the business.
“Zab is my nephew and through him, I got a number of boxers in contact with promoters,” Aiken said. “I worked with Don King, Top Rank and others at the top of the line.” I worked boxers in getting them endorsements, but I wasn’t sure if that was my niche in the sport.”
“I relocated to Delaware and met a promoter who introduced me to Mike Tiberi and he got me involved in matchmaking,” Aiken continued. This was a show in New Jersey where we had a lot of problems. I started working with the show and realized I kind of liked this. I went ahead and got my licenses and my first show was in Salem, NJ in 2008 and I was determined that I wanted to make my mark in history as a female matchmaker.”
However, Aiken, a former New York corrections officer, did not start matchmaking full-time until 2009 and is licensed in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Mississippi and Ohio.
Aiken told Fightnews what the best part of matchmaking a bout is. “For me, the most exciting boxing match is a competitive one with two guys willing to go toe-to-toe. That’s how I try to make my matches. I want the fans to be involved. I want the fighters to be involved.”
“For me, my reputation, my skills and my successes are more important than a dollar amount,” Aiken continued. “With success, money comes, but since I’ve been focused on other things than money, that’s why I’ve been successful.”
On July 2, Aiken put together her first ESPN2 television bout when she made Francisco Contreras’s eight-round unanimous decision over Eric Cruz in Ontario, CA. The bout marked only the second time that Contreras has gone the distance. The show was Aiken’s debut with TKO Promotions, one of a number of promotional companies that Aiken has worked with.
“I’ve been so blessed to work with so many people who have helped me,” Aiken said. “I’ll be doing some work with (Baltimore trainer) James Hogan in the near future as far as matchmaking for his promotion. There have been so many people who have helped me to get this far and I am so thankful!”
But Aiken’s number one fan is her eight-year-old son, Christian, who is by his mother’s side at virtually every boxing card.
“I’m doing all of this for him,” Aiken said. “He’s been my blessing. Christian’s tall and he’ll probably play basketball one day, but I’m force feeding him this and he enjoys it. I see him being a promoter in his own right one day.”