Nico Ali Walsh, the grandson of boxing icon Muhammad Ali, floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee in his professional boxing debut, as the 21-year-old did his family name proud to win by first-round finish.
Ali Walsh, who wore shorts given to him by his grandfather in his maiden fight, made light work of his opponent Jordan Weeks, knocking him down just over a minute into the fight before a further barrage of blows forced the referee to halt proceedings before the end of the first frame.
His piston-like right hand proved to be the difference maker in the fight, using it to first send Weeks to the canvas before going back to the well once his opponent got back to his feet, leading to the stoppage which came a minute before the end of the opening round.
Afterwards, Ali Walsh paid tribute to his grandfather by adopting a famous pose once employed by his legendary grandfather.
Like his famous family member, Ali Walsh is represented by Bob Arum and Top Rank – the promoter who oversaw 27 of Muhammad Ali’s career bouts – and appears poised for more robust tests of his skills in future bouts some 55 years after Arum and Ali first linked up.
“It’s just an emotional journey, this whole ride,” Ali Walsh, who is the son of Ali’s daughter Rasheda Ali, said afterwards.
“This lived up completely to my expectations.
“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!
“Obviously, my grandfather, I’ve been thinking about him so much. I miss him.”
One the dust had settled, Ali Walsh took to Instagram Sunday morning to thank his supporters and state how proud he was to continue the legacy of his family name.
“I’m blessed and honored to say that I continued history tonight,” he wrote. “Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone that supported me! I brought my grandfather in the ring with me by wearing his shorts for the first and final time as a professional fighter. I’m more than proud to say: The Legacy Continues…“
Ali Walsh – who had Sugarhill Steward, trainer of Tyson Fury, in his corner. -also noted the full circle nature of his own association with Arum, likening it to something that one might expect to see on the silver screen.
“He promoted my grandfather and now me. It’s ridiculous. Something that should be in a Hollywood movie,” he said.