Living up to the legacy of a grandfather who is considered the greatest in the world of boxing may be a daunting task.
To the world, it may be continuing the legacy of the greatest fighter that ever lived but I don’t see it that way. I see it as continuing the legacy of my grandfather.”
Nico is the grandson of former heavyweight champion and boxing legend Muhammad Ali. He made a successful professional debut on Saturday in a scheduled four-round middleweight bout in Oklahoma, defeating Jordan Weeks by technical knockout.
He is the son of Robert Walsh and Rasheda Ali Walsh, Muhammad Ali’s daughter. The 21-year-old signed a deal with Bob Arum’s Top Rank Boxing in June ahead of his first professional fight in the U.S state of Oklahoma. Rasheda had suggested other sports like soccer or basketball, “like a normal kid,” she recalled. But Nico Ali Walsh wouldn’t have it. So, seven years ago, he started training seriously.
Sugar Hill Steward, his trainer also trained two-time world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury. Steward sees promise in the “beginner” fighter. “He can fight,” he told ESPN.
Ali Walsh, who wore trunks made for his famous grandfather in the 1960s, knocked down his opponent Weeks midway through the first round before the referee stopped the fight at 1:49 of that round.
Nico Ali’s bout was promoted by Bob Arum, who famously organised Muhammad Ali fights. Arum, 89, first promoted an Ali fight in 1966 and organised another 27 of Ali’s fights between 1966 and 1978. One of those bouts was the memorable ‘Thrilla in Manila’ against Joe Frazer.