Ali Walsh is the grandson of boxing legend Ali looking to emulate him

Nico Ali Walsh is the grandson of boxing legend Muhammad Ali and is looking to follow in the iconic heavyweight’s footsteps… the middleweight knows he’ll ‘have a target on my back’ but is ready to ’embrace’ it all ahead of his pro debut

  • Nico Ali Walsh makes his professional boxing bow on August 14 at middleweight
  • The 20-year-old will face a as of yet unnamed opponent in a four-round bout
  • Ali Walsh is the grandson of heavyweight boxing legend Muhammad Ali 

It may be a different weight class, but the famous surname of Ali is once again returning to the men’s professional boxing ranks.

Nico Ali Walsh makes his debut on August 14 in a four-round middleweight bout against an unnamed opponent.

Ali Walsh is the grandson of the sport’s greatest-ever boxer Muhammad Ali, the three-time former heavyweight world champion, and knows that his family heritage only adds to extra scrutiny.

Nico Ali Walsh, the grandson of the iconic Muhammad Ali, will make his pro debut on August 14

Ali was the heavyweight champion of the world three times during an illustrious boxing career

Now his grandson hopes to emulate his success as he begins his career as a middleweight

Ali Walsh pictured when he was younger with his grandfather in a heartwarming throwback pic

For years the 20-year-old would shy away from his grandfather’s legacy, choosing not to carry the surname. However, as he embarks upon progressing into the professional ranks, the American has decided to embrace the famous surname – even though it comes with having a target on his back.

‘Everyone wants to knockout Muhammad Ali’s grandson,’ he told MyBettingSites.

‘I would never tell anyone who I was but they’d always find out. And when they did, they’d always try to knock me out or hurt me because they wanted to be able to say: “hey, I hurt Muhammad Ali’s grandson, I knocked out Muhammad Ali’s grandson”. I say being Muhammad Ali’s grandson is a blessing and a curse and that falls under the curse category.

‘My last name is Walsh, so I tried to hide behind Walsh. But at some point every coach I had told me that at some point you have to become the name, be the name, and accept it because there was no hiding from it.

‘I stopped wearing shirts with my grandfather on the front, I had a tattoo of him on my arm and I would start hiding it. But there was no point of hiding it because people would find out anyway. So I embraced the name. I stopped hiding from the name and embraced it when I realised I could not hide from it any longer.

‘The two biggest reasons were: I didn’t want to be treated any differently and I didn’t want to be looked at as the enemy of all the boxers in whatever gym I was in. Those were the two reasons that really shied me away from embracing my name. But once I realised there was no hiding from it, I chose to embrace it, and that’s where I’m at now.

‘I’ll definitely have a target on my back as a professional but where I’m at now mentally, I’m able to handle the pressures. And I’m grateful for that, because this all started back when I was 10 when I first put on a pair of gloves.’

The Chicago-born fighter, who fought 30 times an amateur, has signed with American promoter Bob Arum, who promoted 27 of his grandfather’s fights.  

Ali Walsh has a tattoo of his grandfather on his right forearm – something he used to cover up

As well as embarking on his pro debut, the American is currently finishing a business degree

Currently in the final year of study for a business degree at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, he is the son of retired US Marine Corps Sgt Robert Walsh and Rasheda Ali Walsh – Ali’s daughter and a noted public speaker who uses her platform to raise money for research into Parkinson’s disease.

Sadly, Ali will not be present to watch his grandson in action following his death in 2016 aged 74 after battling Parkinson’s for over three decades.

However, Ali Walsh did seek council from ‘The Greatest’ during his younger days as an amateur. That advice coupled with the fact he’s working with Arum, mean Ali Walsh believes his grandfather would be delighted with his progress so far.

‘I think my grandfather would be really proud,’ he continued. 

Ali Walsh has signed with Top Rank promoter Bob Arum – who used to work with his granddad

Ali was a master of avoiding hits during his career, something his grandson wants to emulate

‘My whole family is a family of tradition and we love keeping the tradition and keeping the legacy. The fact that I’m with Top Rank and he was with Bob Arum, it’s perfect. I really think he’d be over the moon right now if he could be here.

‘The biggest piece of advice that I remember the most, he said: ‘moving and dancing makes a fighter’. Moving and dancing isn’t something a lot of fighters do nowadays; hitting and not getting hit. He did that very well and that’s what I want to emulate the most. But I don’t want to be the same exact fighter he was – I don’t believe there is a way even I wanted to be – he is one of a kind.

‘I’m more similar to him outside of the ring. We have the same kind of sense of humour, telling stupid jokes. He was huge on magic tricks and I’m huge on magic tricks, so we’re similar in that sense. Inside the ring I’d say we have the same work ethic. His work ethic was outstanding. I emulate that.’

‘It’s an exciting story – history is repeating itself. If you are a fan of my grandfather’s then I’m sure you’d love to tune in and watch the fight. There’s always been a level of pressure on me because of my name. This is a new level of pressure but grandfather is my grandfather. I don’t have the pressure of continuing the legacy of the great Muhammad Ali because, I’m continuing the legacy of Pappy – my grandfather.’ 

The 20-year-old begins his pro debut in a four-round bout against an unnamed opponent

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