Muhammad Ali is a widely beloved sports legend—he didn’t earn the nickname “The Greatest” for nothing, after all. The iconic Ali is still regarded as one of the best heavyweight boxers of all time—if not the very best—and also fondly remembered for his activism. Now, his legacy is being carried on by his grandson, Nico Ali Walsh. On Aug. 14, Ali Walsh made his professional boxing debut with a big win. Read on to see him in the ring, wearing his grandfather’s boxing trunks.
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Nico Ali Walsh won in his professional boxing debut.
In his boxing debut, 21-year-old Ali Walsh won by technical knockout against 29-year-old Jordan Weeks. Ali Walsh is the son of Muhammad’s daughter, Rasheda Ali Walsh. Although the young man had big shoes to fill, he seemed up for the challenge. In a review of his performance, the Associated Press said that for a “relative novice,” Ali Walsh “looked competent” and “displayed good hand speed and power against Weeks, an MMA fighter who had been stopped in his last boxing match.”
Ali Walsh knocked Weeks down about halfway through the first round, and the referee stopped the fight soon after.
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Ali Walsh wore his grandfather’s trunks during the match.
“This lived up completely to my expectations,” Ali Walsh told ESPN of the fight. “It’s been an emotional journey … Obviously my grandfather, I’ve been thinking of him so much. I miss him.”
The young boxer wore black-and-white trunks that were made for his grandfather, who then gave them to him before his death in 2016. “I brought my grandfather in the ring with me by wearing his shorts for the first and final time as a professional fighter,” Ali Walsh wrote on Instagram.
The young boxer acknowledged the weight of the legacy that he’s carrying on.
Ali Walsh recognizes that his boxing career will have many eyes on it thanks to his lineage. “It seems like a lot of pressure; to me, it’s just my grandfather,” he told ESPN. “He’s the greatest fighter who ever lived—maybe the greatest person.”
The boxer later shared his gratitude on Instagram. “I’m blessed and honored to say that I continued history tonight. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone that supported me!” Ali Walsh wrote. “I’m more than proud to say: The Legacy Continues.”
Ali Walsh’s mother, Rasheda, displayed her pride on Instagram and also noted the legacy. “I’m so proud of you,” she wrote beneath a carousel of photos. “Incredible legacy to continue.” She added that her father “would have been over the moon!”
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Ali Walsh is working with his grandfather’s promoter.
The trunks aren’t the only hand-me-down from Muhammad Ali that Ali Walsh brought into the rink with him. After his win, the boxer celebrated with his family members and 89-year-old promoter Bob Arum in the ring. Arum promoted 27 of Ali’s fights and signed a deal with Ali Walsh in June. The AP reported that Arum said, “I’m a believer in genes.”
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