Ali’s grandson wins in pro debut

Sports

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)

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — 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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