Another member of Muhammad Ali’s family is about to step through the ropes.
Nico Ali Walsh, the 20-year-old grandson of the late heavyweight icon, has signed a multi-fight contract with Top Rank and will make his pro debut in a four-round middleweight bout on Aug. 14. The fight will be televised on ESPN.
Ali Walsh is the son of Rasheda Ali Walsh, the legendary champion’s daughter, and U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Robert Walsh.
“I’m doing what I love,” Ali Walsh said. “Signing with Top Rank is a dream come true. I’m going to have fun on Aug. 14 and the next time I fight. Top Rank will give me the name, date and location, and I’ll have a great time.
“I am honored to continue the fighting legacy that my grandfather started. It is a responsibility I don’t take lightly.”
Nico Ali Walsh (right) stands with new promoter Bob Arum next to a photo of Arum with Muhammad Ali, Ali Walsh’s grandfather. Mikey Williams / Top Rank
Ali Walsh, who lives in Las Vegas, had roughly 30 amateur fights, according to Top Rank. He reportedly did the Ali Shuffle during his amateur debut as a child.
He said that some of his earliest memories in boxing were with his grandfather.
“To me, I was hanging out in the gym with my grandfather. Sometimes I have to remind myself that he’s everyone’s idol,” he said.
Ali Walsh is a student at UNLV and on track to graduate with a business degree next spring.
The Ali family has a history with Top Rank. CEO Bob Arum promoted 27 of “The Greatest’s” fights, including the “Thrilla in Manila” against Joe Frazier and the third fight with Ken Norton.
Ali Walsh’s uncle, Mike Joyce, brokered the deal with Top Rank and will serve as his manager, agent and attorney.
“Family history and legacy was a big factor in Nico signing with Top Rank,” Joyce said. “I’ve signed many fighters to Top Rank, and Bob has always treated them fairly. Nico was a little bit in awe of Bob, and it cemented his belief that he was with the right promoter. He thinks this is going to be a historic journey.”
Quipped Arum: “Nico’s grandfather was a pretty good fighter. Hopefully, Nico will emulate his success. He’s a young man of great character, which one would expect from Muhammad Ali’s grandson.”
Ali Walsh is working with trainer SugarHill Steward, the nephew of the late Emanuel Steward and the trainer of heavyweight titleholder Tyson Fury.
Laila Ali, another daughter of Muhammad Ali, also fought professionally.