(Courtesy: Mikey Williams / Top Rank via .)
LAS VEGAS – Nico Ali Walsh, the grandson of Muhammad Ali, signed a multi-fight promotional contract with Top Rank and will turn pro in a four-round middleweight bout on Saturday, August 14, live on ESPN.
Ali Walsh is the son of retired United States Marine Corps Sergeant Robert Walsh and Rasheda Ali Walsh, the daughter of Muhammad Ali and a prominent public speaker who uses his platform to raise funds for Parkinson’s research.
“I’m doing what I love,” Ali Walsh said. “Signing with Top Rank is a dream come true. I will have fun on August 14 and all the next times I fight. Top Rank will give me the names, dates, and location, and I’ll have a great time. I am honored to continue the legacy my grandfather started. It is a responsibility that I do not take lightly ”.
Ali Walsh, who was born on the South Side of Chicago and now resides in Las Vegas, had about 30 fights as a fan. As a kid in Chicago, he made his amateur debut at a St. Baldrick Foundation benefit event and did the famous “Ali Shuffle.” Ali Walsh graduated from Bishop Gorman High School in 2018 and is currently a full-time student at UNLV, where he is on track to graduate with a Bachelor of Business next spring.
The 20-year-old will be juggling classes and his fighting career as he embarks on his professional career under the guidance of Bob Arum, who promoted 27 of his grandfather’s fights, including the epic “Thrilla in Manila” fight against Joe Frazier and the fight against Ken Norton at Yankee Stadium. Ali Walsh’s uncle, Mike Joyce, brokered the deal with Top Rank and will serve as his nephew’s manager, agent and attorney.
“The family’s history and legacy were an important factor in Nico signing with Top Rank,” Joyce said. “I have signed many fighters with Top Rank and Bob has always treated them fairly. Nico was a bit in awe of Bob, and that cemented his belief that he was with the right promoter. He believes this will be a historic trip. “
“Nico’s grandfather was a pretty good fighter,” Arum joked. “Hopefully, Nico will emulate his success. He is a young man of great character, what one would expect of Muhammad Ali’s grandson. “
Ali Walsh has recruited a couple of the Kronk Gym’s most notable figures for his development in the ring. SugarHill Steward, nephew of the late Emanuel Steward and head coach of WBC heavyweight world champion Tyson “The Gypsy King” Fury, will serve as his second head trainer. Richard T. Slone, who held numerous positions at the Kronk and is now a world-renowned artist, will be in Ali Walsh’s corner as coach and cut man. During a recent training camp in Las Vegas, he sparred against former world champion Julian Williams and undefeated junior welterweight contender Shohjahon Ergashev.
Some of Ali Walsh’s earliest memories at the gym are with her grandfather by her side. Ali remains a symbol of sport and humanity to countless people, but to Ali Walsh, he is the beloved grandfather she called “Poppy.”
Ali Walsh said: “For me, I was hanging out at the gym with my grandfather. Sometimes I have to remind myself that he is everyone’s idol ”.