Boxing: Nico Ali Walsh, grandson of Muhammad Ali, signs pro boxing deal

Nico Ali Walsh (third from left) said he will be juggling classes and being a professional boxer.
Nico Ali Walsh (third from left) said he will be juggling classes and being a professional boxer.PHOTO: TOP RANK BOXING/TWITTER

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - Nico Ali Walsh, the grandson of former heavyweight champion and boxing legend Muhammad Ali, has signed a deal with Bob Arum's Top Rank Boxing and will have his first professional fight on Aug 14.

The middleweight Ali Walsh, 20, is the son of Robert Walsh and Rasheda Ali Walsh, Muhammad Ali's daughter.

"Signing with Top Rank is a dream come true," Ali Walsh said of the multi-fight deal. "I am honoured to continue the fighting legacy that my grandfather started. It is a responsibility I don't take lightly."

He said he will be juggling classes and being a professional boxer as he works to graduate next spring from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

The signing brings 89-year-old Arum's career, which began when he promoted his first fight for Ali in 1966, full circle.

"This is amazing," said Arum. "Who would have believed that so many years later, we'd be promoting the pro debut of his grandson?"

In all, he promoted 27 of the late Ali's fights including the epic "Thrilla in Manila" bout against Joe Frazier and the rubber match against Ken Norton at Yankee Stadium.

"Nico's grandfather was a pretty good fighter," Arum quipped. "Hopefully, Nico will emulate his success. He's a young man of great character, which one would expect from Muhammad Ali's grandson."