Nico Ali Walsh, middleweight boxing prodigy and heir to the great Muhammad Ali, won his first professional bout by TKO in Oklahoma on Saturday night.
Stepping into the ring with all of his grandfather’s success on his shoulders, Ali Walsh proved that the talent of the greatest sportsman of all-time flows through his veins as opponent Jordan Weeks was knocked down to the floor within 70 seconds.
The 21-year-old Ali Walsh came at Weeks with a barrage of right-handers at the ringing of the opening bell and his opponent could do nothing to protect himself from the tenacious youngster, succumbing to an explosive blow in the first round.
Weeks was able to get back to his feet but, unsurprisingly, it didn’t last long as Ali Walsh came at him again with his hammer of a right hand and the 29-year-old could not handle the energy of the young debutant. The referee was forced to intervene as Weeks was taking blow after blow and the fight was ended, handing Ali Walsh the perfect start to his professional career.
A good omen for the youngster heading into the fight was the fact he was wearing white shorts gifted to him by ‘The Greatest’. Posing similarly to his grandfather, Ali Walsh celebrated with his mother Rasheda ringside. Also in his corner was Sugarhill Steward, his mentor and also trainer to Tyson Fury. Steward is the nephew of the late Manny Steward, who trained Thomas Hearns and Lennox Lewis among others.
It has been five years since Ali’s passing, and Ali Walsh was overcome with emotion in the aftermath of his fight. Talking of his grandfather, he said: “I’ve been thinking about him so much. I miss him.
“It seems like a lot of pressure, but to me he’s just my grandfather. To the crowd he is the greatest fighter who ever lived and maybe the greatest person. To me? He’s the greatest grandfather!”
It is 55 years since promoter Bob Arum staged his first of Ali’s fights, and Ali Walsh was overwhelmed at being promoted by the same person. It was in 1966 that Arum first promoted the iconic world heavyweight champion, the first of 27 fights together including ‘The Thrilla in Manila’.
“He promoted my grandfather and now me. It’s ridiculous. Something that should be in a Hollywood movie,” added Ali Walsh.
All eyes will be on Ali Walsh ahead of his next bout, with a stiffer test than the 4-2 Weeks expected to be teed up for his second professional fight as he looks to make a name for himself in the boxing world.