Nico Ali Walsh: “This lived up completely to my expectations, it’s been an emotional journey.”
By Gary Kittilsen
Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum said: “If you would have told me in 1955 that I would be promoting Muhammad Ali’s grandson’s fight I would have said you were crazy,” but that’s exactly what happened on Saturday night in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Nico Ali Walsh, the 21-year-old grandson of the legendary three-time heavyweight champ made his highly anticipated professional debut in front of a packed house at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
There was a crowd that included his Godfather, Hall of Fame Hip Hop artist, Flavor Flav.
Ali Walsh, who now fights out of Las Vegas, Nevada, and is trained by Sugar Hill Steward, who also trains heavyweight champ Tyson Fury, entered the ring in a familiar outfit. The traditional white robe with black trim on top of the legendary white trunks, with black trim. A look that his grandfather donned decades ago.
In fact the trunks he wore were designed for and given to “The Greatest” and passed down to Ali Walsh, who saved those trunks for this exact moment. A moment that the 21-year-old prospect seized as he attacked his opponent, Jordan Weeks (4-2) from Lexington, South Carolina, from the opening bell.
A right hand from Ali Walsh, dropped Weeks just moments into the fight. With the crowd in a frenzy chanting “Ali! Ali! Ali!” the pumped-up youngster got to work and jumped on his opponent like a dog on fear. Unleashing one vicious right hand after another. Some were missing but others landing repeatedly with precision leaving Weeks covered up, defenseless, and unable to continue forcing the referee to wave off the bout just past the midway point of the opening round and giving Ali Walsh a successful pro debut, nearly 61 years after his grandfather made his successful pro debut.
Ali Walsh certainly displayed a type of energy, flair, and charisma that Muhammad Ali would certainly be proud of.
The 21-year-old also demonstrated humbleness post-fight, in the midst of adoring fans chanting his name. Ali Walsh said:
“This lived up completely to my expectations, it’s been an emotional journey. Obviously, my grandfather, I’ve been thinking of him so much. I miss him.”
He continued to speak emotionally of his grandfather:
“He’s the greatest fighter who ever lived, maybe the greatest person. … I’m never wearing these trunks again.” he said while fighting back tears of joy.
That’s one fight down and infinity to go to live up to the legacy set by his historic grandfather.
However, It was an impressive, if not spectacular, pro debut for Ali Walsh. A pro debut that warrants attention and future fights on major televised cards. Where his legacy goes from here is anyone’s guess, but watching the “legacy continue” is going to be one exciting ride for fight fans.
Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank