Muhammad Ali’s grandson Nico Ali Walsh scores TKO win over Jordan Weeks in pro boxing debut

Muhammad Ali’s grandson Nico Ali Walsh scores TKO win over Jordan Weeks in pro boxing debut
A third generation of Muhammad Ali’s family is officially in professional boxing.
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Middleweight Nico Ali Walsh, The Greatest’s 21-year-old grandson, stopped Jordan Weeks in the first round of his pro debut Saturday at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tulsa, Okla.Ali Walsh, wearing trunks his grandfather gave him, landed a right to the chin that forced Weeks to touch the canvas for a knockdown. He followed with a barrage of hard shots that prompted the referee to stop the fight.The crowd, which chanted “Ali! Ali!” during the action, went wild when at the conclusion.“This lived up completely to my expectations,” said Ali Walsh, the son of the late Hall of Famer’s daughter Rasheda Ali Walsh. “It’s been an emotional journey, this whole ride, these last couple of months.“… Obviously, my grandfather, I’m thinking about him so much. I miss him. It’s just an emotional journey, and thank you to Jordan Weeks and his people. Tough, tough kid. I think me and him made a little bit of history tonight.”Weeks (4-2, 2 KOs) is a raw fighter, which means the victory for Ali Walsh doesn’t mean much. However, it’s a first step.Bob Arum of Top Rank promoted Muhammad Ali. He now works with Ali Walsh. Top Rank matchmaker Bruce Trampler told ESPN that the younger Ali, who is trained by SugarHill Steward, won’t be rushed.

Steward also trains heavyweight titleholder Tyson Fury.

“Step-by-step, play it by ear, watch his development and bring him along as fast as he’s able to go,” Trampler said. “I’ve seen him in the gym every day for a month. He’s learning. … It’s about building a relationship between the trainer and fighter and you can imagine the pressure on the fighter tonight.

“It was fun and he’s a terrific kid.”

Muhammad Ali’s daughter Laila Ali also was a professional boxer.

Nico Ali Walsh Steps Into The Ring For Boxing Debut 

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Middleweight prospect Nico Ali Walsh, grandson of “The Greatest,” Muhammad Ali, trains in Las Vegas with head coach Sugar Hill Steward earlier this month, ahead of his pro debut in Oklahoma.

Nico Ali Walsh, grandson of boxing legend Muhammad Ali, will make his professional fighting debut Saturday night in Tulsa, Okla. And though the 21-year-old is aware of the clout carried by his name, he says he is boxing for himself — not for fame, or a fighter’s purse.

Ali Walsh’s mother, Rasheda, is the daughter of one of the greatest boxers of all time. That said, there was no pressure for Ali Walsh to pick up his grandfather’s gloves, ESPN reported. His mother had suggested other sports instead — soccer or basketball, “like a normal kid,” she recalled. But Ali Walsh wouldn’t have it. So, seven years ago, he started training seriously.

Though it’s early in the middleweight’s career, it’s been a bumpy road for Ali Walsh. He’s won some fights, and he’s lost some, according to ESPN. But his grandfather, “Poppy” to Ali Walsh, told him that his amateur record doesn’t matter. And when the young fighter occasionally doubted himself, Poppy was there to encourage him to stay in the fight.

Now, he will square off with Jordan Weeks, 29, at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in a four-round special attraction fight. The main event, at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN, may be the third bout between Andrew Moloney and Joshua Franco III, but Ali Walsh’s premiere fight is already drawing buzz in the boxing community.

The promoter of the fight is Bob Arum, who promoted Ali for the first time in the boxer’s world heavyweight title fight against George Chuvalo in 1966. “It’s still surreal to me that more than 50 years after I began promoting The Greatest, his grandson [Ali Walsh] turns pro on our [Top Rank Boxing] show Saturday night,” Arum tweeted. “A true moment of pride for me.”

Ali Walsh’s trainer, Sugar Hill Steward, trained two-time world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury. Steward sees promise in the “beginner” fighter. “He can fight,” he told ESPN.

“He’s not scared,” Steward said. “He’s not shy to get hit or thrown down. It’s just a matter of him learning to fight better.”

The legacy of the Ali name may weigh on the young fighter’s shoulders, but Ali Walsh doesn’t foresee the pressure posing a problem. He isn’t concerned about those who believe he is fighting for “name or fame” he said in a Top Rank promotional video. He said his boxing career is about proving something to himself and to his family.

“I feel like success doesn’t mean going 30-0, it doesn’t mean going 50-0, I think it’s a feeling,” he said. “At some point I’ll know that I felt like I continued this legacy right. At that point I’ll know that I’ve had a successful boxing career.”

Muhammad Ali’s grandson Nico Ali Walsh wins first pro bout

Nico Ali Walsh
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Ali Walsh celebrated the win in the ring with his team including promoter Bob Arum (blue suit) and his godfather rapper Flava Flav

Nico Ali Walsh paid tribute to his grandfather Muhammad Ali as he won his debut professional bout wearing a pair of shorts he had given him.

The 21-year-old made easy work of the fight, knocking down Jordan Weeks after 70 seconds.

The middleweight fight in Catoosa, Oklahoma, on Saturday night was eventually stopped before the end of the first round.

“It’s just an emotional journey, this whole ride,” Ali Walsh said.

“This lived up completely to my expectations.

“Obviously, my grandfather, I’ve been thinking about him so much. I miss him.”

Muhammad Ali won boxing’s world heavyweight title on three occasions and his legendary status across sport saw him picked as BBC Sports Personality of the Century in 1999.The fighter known as ‘The Greatest’ died in 2016 and had been battling Parkinson’s syndrome for over three decades.

Ali Walsh, who is studying for a business degree, is the son of Ali’s daughter Rasheda Ali.

After the win Ali Walsh celebrated in the ring with Bob Arum, who also promoted 27 of his grandfather’s fights. Ali Walsh is signed to Arum’s Top Rank company.

Ali’s grandson wins in pro debut

Nico Ali Walsh trains at Top Rank Gym, Monday, July 12, 2021, in Las Vegas, Nev. Walsh, 21, and a boxing great Muhammad Ali, is ready for his boxing career to truly take off. Last month he signed with Top Rank, a locally headquartered promotional company, to end his amateur career and turn pro in the middleweight division.  (Wade Vandervort/Las Vegas Sun via AP)
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Nico Ali Walsh trains at Top Rank Gym, Monday, July 12, 2021, in Las Vegas, Nev. Walsh, 21, and a boxing great Muhammad Ali, is ready for his boxing career to truly take off. Last month he signed with Top Rank, a locally headquartered promotional company, to end his amateur career and turn pro in the middleweight division. 

 

Nico Ali Walsh made a successful pro debut Saturday night, winning in the first round and then paying homage to his grandfather, Muhammad Ali.

Wearing trunks made for his grandfather, Ali Walsh knocked down his outmatched opponent midway through the first round before the middleweight fight was finally stopped at 1:49 of the round with Ali Walsh landing unanswered punches to the head.

“It’s been an emotional journey, this whole ride,” Ali Walsh said. “Obviously, my grandfather, I’ve been thinking about him so much. I miss him.”

The fight between Ali Walsh, a 21-year-old college student, and Jordan Weeks was notable not because of anything the two had done in the ring, but because Ali Walsh was trying to follow in his grandfather’s large footsteps into boxing.

Still, Ali Walsh looked competent for a relative novice and displayed good hand speed and power against Weeks, an MMA fighter who had been stopped in his last boxing match.

Ali Walsh celebrated with family members in the ring afterward along with 89-year-old promoter Bob Arum, who promoted 27 of Muhammad Ali’s fights.

“I’m a believer in genes,” Arum said.

Ali Walsh said the white trunks with black lining were made for his grandfather, who gave them to him.

“I’m never wearing these trunks again,” he said.

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