Latina boxing matchmaker taking the sport by storm

Anthony Johnson Image
Friday, July 22, 2022
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She's breaking barriers. Latina Diana Rodriguez is making waves in the male-dominated world of matchmaking. Yes, boxing match-making. Anthony Johnson has the story.

EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (WABC) -- Latina Diana Rodriguez is breaking barriers, making waves in the male-dominated world of matchmaking.

Boxing match-making, that is.

"A lot of guys feel intimidated by me," Rodriguez said.

That's because she has built a track record over 20 years.

The former New York State corrections guard got involved in boxing because her partner "Downtown" Leona Brown was making a name after winning the Golden Gloves in the late 90s.

From there, the requests started growing.

"People would call me for Leona to fight," she said. "I would tell them that she had something coming up, she's not available. They would say, 'What about her sparring partner? If you know somebody else, we'll pay you.' I said, 'Really? You can get paid for that? Sure.' So that's how I got involved in matchmaking."

Rodriguez has set up matches for of the biggest promoters in the sport, but later this month, she will showcase her biggest night of matches featuring fighters from New York and New Jersey.

"Once you find the fighter, you got to get a medical, and you just got to follow up with these people like they are your kids," she said.

At 62 years old, Brown is training one of the female fighters on the upcoming card which includes two women's bouts.

She and Rodriguez say there's room for growth for women in boxing if they take it seriously.

"You got to sleep it, eat it, run it," Brown said. "This is no game. You can play baseball, basketball, but you can't play boxing."

Rodriguez is taking women into the future of pro boxing behind the scenes, focusing on the fighters and those who come to see the matches.

"When people are walking around and they're like, "Ah did you see that? That was a great show. When's the next one?' that makes me feel so good," Rodriguez said.

The next big night of boxing will take place at the American Dream on July 29, featuring more than 10 matches all set up by Rodriguez.

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