Middleweight Nico Ali Walsh, The Greatest’s 21-year-old grandson, stopped Jordan Weeks in the first round of his pro debut Saturday at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tulsa, Okla.
Ali Walsh, wearing trunks his grandfather gave him, landed a right to the chin that forced Weeks to touch the canvas for a knockdown. He followed with a barrage of hard shots that prompted the referee to stop the fight.
The crowd, which chanted “Ali! Ali!” during the action, went wild when at the conclusion. “This lived up completely to my expectations,” said Ali Walsh, the son of the late Hall of Famer’s daughter Rasheda Ali Walsh. “It’s been an emotional journey, this whole ride, these last couple of months.
“… Obviously, my grandfather, I’m thinking about him so much. I miss him. It’s just an emotional journey, and thank you to Jordan Weeks and his people. Tough, tough kid. I think me and him made a little bit of history tonight.”
Weeks (4-2, 2 KOs) is a raw fighter, which means the victory for Ali Walsh doesn’t mean much. However, it’s a first step.
Bob Arum of Top Rank promoted Muhammad Ali. He now works with Ali Walsh. Top Rank matchmaker Bruce Trampler told ESPN that the younger Ali, who is trained by SugarHill Steward, won’t be rushed.
Steward also trains heavyweight titleholder Tyson Fury. “Step-by-step, play it by ear, watch his development and bring him along as fast as he’s able to go,” Trampler said. “I’ve seen him in the gym every day for a month.
He’s learning. … It’s about building a relationship between the trainer and fighter and you can imagine the pressure on the fighter tonight.
“It was fun and he’s a terrific kid.” Muhammad Ali’s daughter Laila Ali also was a professional boxer.—AP