Aileen Eaton

From Academic Kids

Aileen Eaton (1909-1987) was a boxing promoter who was influential in the United States' west coast's boxing scene for five decades. Eaton was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Eaton's husband, Cal Eaton, was an important boxing promoter in Los Angeles. Aileen Eaton got involved in her husband's business in 1942. During her career as a promoter, she would get involved with big name promoters and fighters, sometimes travelling to other states in search of business.

In 1966, her husband Cal died. Nicknamed The Redhead, she took over presidency of her husband's company and went on to stage more than 10,000 boxing shows at the L.A. Olympic Auditorium, promoting such fighters as Floyd Patterson, Danny Lopez, Carlos Palomino, Joe Frazier and George Foreman before she retired in 1980. When alongside her husband, she had also helped promote fights of Sugar Ray Robinson and Carmen Basilio, among others. Eaton was also an acquaintance of Muhammad Ali, with whom she took photos.

Eaton's son, Gene Lebell, went on to become a martial arts champion and business owner himself.

When Eaton died in 1987, she probably couldn't imagine the impact she had in women's sports: After being inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2002, as the first woman in the hall, many women athletes and feminists alike began to see her as a symbol of their causes.

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