Before grandfather – light years. Muhammad Ali’s grandson suffers his first professional loss
Igor Nekrasov August 28, 2023, 19:00 Moscow time
Nico Walsh is trained by a tough trainer and promoted by Bob Arum. But for now, he is a pale shadow of the Greatest.
A boxing tournament was held in the United States over the weekend, in one of the main events the grandson of the legendary Muhammad Ali, Nico Ali Walsh, entered the ring. Prior to this, Walsh had eight wins in his professional career, plus one more fight was ruled a no contest. This time, Niko failed to extend his winning streak and suffered his first loss, losing in a close majority vote matchup to 35-year-old Cameroonian Sonia Akala.
Walsh, 23, is the son of Rashedha Ali and Bob Walsh. Since he was a child he was interested in boxing and, of course, his grandmother was an example for him and his main adviser. According to Walsh, he and Mohammed often watched various fights, including recordings of Ali’s own fights, and did extensive analysis. Mohammed was flattered that someone in his extended family wanted to continue the boxing dynasty, so he tried to pass his experience on to his grandson.
Of course, from the beginning of his career, Walsh received increased attention. “Ali’s grandson” – this is how they began to call him in the press. By the way, unlike, for example, Tim Tszyu, who cannot get rid of the “son” prefix, Niko absolutely did not mind being in the shadow of his legendary grandfather.
“When Mohammed left, I gave him my word to continue his work and be as successful as possible. He is the best boxer of all time, so any representative of this sport is in his shadow. I am not an exception. And I can say that being in that shadow is amazing,” Niko said in an interview.
On Nico Walsh’s early fights:
Are you sure about Muhammad Ali’s grandson? Heir to the Greatest hits only captures
After spending a few fights in amateur boxing, Niko turned professional. Interestingly, he made his debut wearing the white shorts of his legendary relative. Of course, a lot of attention was paid to each battle of Ali’s grandson and various comparisons with Muhammad were used. And at first, Walsh lived up to the hype: In the first six months of his career, he had five fights and wins everywhere, and four of them early. True, Niko’s rivals were, to put it mildly, passable.
But as soon as the level of opposition to Ali’s grandson began to grow, closer fights began to appear. The young boxer defeated Billy Wagner and Eduardo Ayala by decision of the judges, and the fight with Danny Rosenberg ended in a draw. True, this fight was declared invalid because Rosenberg failed the doping test.
Mohammed’s grandson really likes to cut himself in the ring. At the same time, Walsh still doesn’t have the defense and reaction his legendary relative could boast: Niko misses too much in exchanges; this is his main problem. This brought Niko down in the duel with Akale: the undersized Cameroonian constantly closed in at close range and dragged him into the wheelhouse, where he heckled his opponent. When Niko kept his opponent at a distance due to the growing advantage, then the fight took place at his dictation, but this happened very rarely. Not in vain, two of the three judges considered the grandson of the legend a loser.
Photo: Brandon Magnus/Getty Images
Walsh’s first loss should lessen some of the media interest in him and perhaps help ease the weight of the enormous expectations. After all, Ali’s grandson trains under the guidance of Tyson Fury’s mentor, Sugar Hill, and is promoted by one of the most famous promoters in the world: Top Rank head Bob Arum. Of course, all this buzz around Walsh affects his career, his performances and his training.
Walsh’s most beautiful victory:
Grandpa style knockout. Mohammed Ali’s grandson repeated the legend’s trick. Video
While Niko doesn’t look like a future superstar in the ring. She has obvious gaps in technique and tactics, which his past opponents used. Of course, Walsh is constantly compared to his grandfather, and these comparisons are far from favoring his grandson. But Walsh chose this path himself, following in the footsteps of his legendary relative. On the other hand, Niko is only 23 years old and this is the first loss in his career. There is still a long way to go, which will show whether Niko will remain in the shadow of his grandfather or declare himself as the same children of Tszyu. So far, Walsh is just the grandson of a legend, nothing more.