Muhammad Ali's grandson Nico Ali Walsh signs pro deal with Top Rank

Nico Ali Walsh said: "To me, I was hanging out in the gym with my grandfather. Sometimes I have to remind myself that he's everyone's idol" | watch Vasiliy Lomachenko's comeback live on Sky Sports on Sunday at 3am

Bob Arum and Nico Ali Walsh
Image: Promoter Bob Arum with Nico Ali Walsh

Nico Ali Walsh, the 20-year-old grandson of Muhammad Ali, has signed a multi-fight promotional pact with Top Rank and will turn pro in a four-round middleweight bout on August 14.

Ali Walsh is the son of retired US Marine Corps Sgt Robert Walsh and Rasheda Ali Walsh, Muhammad Ali's daughter and a noted public speaker who uses her platform to raise money for research into Parkinson's disease.

"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 August 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 honoured to continue the fighting legacy that my grandfather started. It is a responsibility I don't take lightly."

Nico Ali Walsh
Image: Nico Ali Walsh will make his professional debut in August

Ali Walsh, who was born on Chicago's South Side and now resides in Las Vegas, had roughly 30 amateur fights. As a young child in Chicago, he made his amateur debut at a benefit for St Baldrick's Foundation and broke out the Ali Shuffle.

He graduated from Bishop Gorman High School in 2018 and is currently a full-time student at UNLV, where he is on track to graduate with a bachelor's degree in business next spring.

Ali Walsh will be juggling classes and fighting as he embarks on his pro career under the guidance of Bob Arum, who promoted 27 of his grandfather's fights, including the epic "Thrilla in Manila" bout against Joe Frazier and the rubber match against Ken Norton at Yankee Stadium.

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Nico Ali Walsh
Image: Nico Ali Walsh is turning pro with Top Rank

Ali Walsh's uncle, Mike Joyce, brokered the deal with Top Rank and will serve as his nephew's 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 an historic journey."

Arum joked: "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 has enlisted a pair of Kronk Gym's most notable figures for his in-ring development.

Nico Ali Walsh
Image: Nico Ali Walsh with Sugarhill Steward, who will be his chief second when he joins the professional ranks

Sugarhill Steward, nephew of the late Emanuel Steward and the head trainer of WBC heavyweight world champion Tyson Fury, will be his chief second.

Richard T Slone, who held numerous positions at Kronk and is now a world-renowned artist, will be in Ali Walsh's corner as a trainer and cut man. During a recent training camp in Las Vegas, he sparred former world champion Julian Williams and unbeaten junior welterweight contender Shohjahon Ergashev.

Some of Ali Walsh's earliest gym memories are with his grandfather by his side. Ali remains a symbol of sport and humanity to countless people, but to Ali Walsh, he's the beloved grandpa he calls "Poppy."

Ali Walsh said: "To me, I was hanging out in the gym with my grandfather. Sometimes I have to remind myself that he's everyone's idol."

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