In Boxing: Muhammad Ali’s grandson wins debut.

New York : The grandson of legendary boxer Muhammad Ali wins knockout in professional debut. Nico Ali Walsh, wearing shorts worn by his grandfather, came to the ring and knocked down his opponent in the first round to seal the victory. Nico’s victory over Jordan Weeks in the middleweight division. Niko’s mother is Rashidah, the daughter of Muhammad Ali.

On September 15, 1978, boxer Muhammad Ali defeats Leon Spinks at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans to win the world heavyweight boxing title for the third time in his career, the first fighter ever to do so. Following his victory, Ali retired from boxing, only to make a brief comeback two years later. Ali, who once claimed he could “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee,” left the sport permanently in 1981.

During the Vietnam War, Ali refused to be inducted into the U.S. armed forces and in 1967 was convicted of draft evasion and banned from boxing for three years. He stayed out of prison as his case was appealed and returned to the ring in October 1970, knocking out Jerry Quarry in Atlanta in the third round. On March 8, 1971, Ali fought Joe Frazier in the “Fight of the Century” and lost after 15 rounds, the first loss of his professional boxing career. In June 1971, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Ali’s conviction for evading the draft.

The grandson of the boxing great Muhammad Ali, Nico Ali Walsh, made a successful professional debut on Saturday in a scheduled four-round middleweight bout in Oklahoma. Ali Walsh had been fighting amateur but then signed with Top Rank, a locally headquartered promotional company to turn pro in the middleweight division. The 21-year-old took on Jordan Weeks, a former MMA fighter, at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Tulsa in Oklahoma and the grandson of “The Greatest” recorded a TKO win.

Adding more drama to the event, Nico Ali’s bout was promoted by Bob Arum, who famously organised Muhammad Ali fights. Arum, 89, first promoted an Ali fight in 1966 and organised another 27 of Ali’s fights between 1966 and 1978. One of those bouts was the memorable ‘Thrilla in Manila’ against Joe Frazer.

Nico Ali knows his lineage will be the constant buzz when he steps foot in the four-squared ring as his first pro contest occurs 61 years after Muhammad Ali’s first professional fight.

Born in Chicago but a resident of Las Vegas since he was four years old, Nico Ali wasn’t captivated by the sport that gave his grandfather eternal fame. His mother Rasheda Ali, who was the daughter of Muhammad  Ali’s second wife, was also initially opposed to her son’s desire of practicing the same ‘trade’ as his grandfather.

Born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. in Louisville, Kentucky, on January 14, 1942, the future world champ changed his name to Muhammad Ali in 1964 after converting to Islam. He earned a gold medal at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome and made his professional boxing debut against Tunney Hunsaker in October 1960, winning the bout in six rounds. On February 25, 1964, Ali defeated the heavily favored Sonny Liston in six rounds to become heavyweight champ, after which he famously declared, “I am the greatest!”.

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