Walking in the footsteps of greatness can be a challenge for any athlete, but particularly for one who’s grandfather is literally renowned as “The Greatest of All Time.”
Such is the case for Nico Ali Walsh, the grandson of boxing icon Muhammad Ali, who just scored the first victory in his pro boxing career in a middleweight bout against Jordan Weeks this past Saturday (Aug. 14). The fight, which took place at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Catoosa, Okla, ended with a first-round stoppage of Weeks by Ali Walsh, who wore a pair of his grandfather’s shorts in a show of tribute to the former champ, who passed away in 2016 following a lengthy battle with Parkinson’s disease.
In the aftermath of his victory, Ali Walsh took to social media to celebrate the victory and carrying on the tradition set by his grandfather during his three-decade-long pro boxing career.
“I’m blessed and honored to say that I continued history,” Ali Walsh wrote in the caption of a photo of himself after the fight posted on Instagram. “Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone that supported me! I brought my grandfather in the ring with me by wearing his shorts for the first and final time as a professional fighter. I’m more than proud to say: The Legacy Continues.”
Being the offspring of one of the greatest athletes in sports history is sure to put a spotlight on you and generate expectations, which is something Ali Walsh says he’s learned to accept throughout his journey.
“I’ve never been able to escape my grandfather, no matter what sport I played,” Ali Walsh, who is the son of Muhammad Ali’s daughter Rasheda, recently shared. “I’m starting to embrace it. It’s very hard to do, but you have to embrace the legacy, no matter what it is. Everybody becomes stronger when they embrace what they’re destined to do.”
Signed with boxing promoter Bob Arum’s Top Rank, the same company Ali fought under during his career, Ali Walsh will certainly have many opportunities to make his namesake proud and follow in the footsteps of his grandfather, as well as his aunt, former world champion Laila Ali.
Watch highlights from the fight below: