Muhammad Ali’s grandson Nico Ali Walsh told talkSPORT he gets his grandfather’s blessing as he heads to his professional debut.
The 20-year-old has signed a promotional deal with Top Rank Bob Arum and will begin his middleweight career on August 14.
Arum started promoting with Ali in 1966 and now, 55 years later, he is promoting his grandson.
Although the legendary heavyweight champion who called himself “The Greatest” passed away in 2016 (when Walsh was 15), the youngster still has fond memories of him.
Walsh reminded talkSPORT’s James Savundra, “I spent a lot of my life with him because he was my only grandfather.
“We drove all the time to visit him, we spent the holidays with him, Thanksgiving, a whole bunch of stuff.
“We had a great time, it was fun.
Ali was aware of his grandson’s amateur career and encouraged him to continue the family legacy in the sport he conquered half a century ago.
Walsh continued, “I asked him directly because I wanted to know if this was something he wanted me to do.
“I wanted his blessing and if I didn’t have his blessing I wouldn’t box today.
“After he gave me the blessing, I repeatedly asked him if I should keep boxing and prepare for the pressure that comes with it.
“He said yes every time I asked him. He never wavered in that decision, so I didn’t either.
By signing with Top Rank, Walsh is now a stable partner with current heavyweight champion Tyson Fury.
They’ll also share a trainer, with Fury’s trainer SugarHill Steward expected to feature in Ali’s grandson’s corner.
Walsh explained, “My favorite fighters today are Canelo and Tyson Fury.
“I admired Tyson Fury, not just in boxing, but in life in general. He’s a very motivating figure.
“Just being around him in the gym and being able to watch him, learn from him, it’s a huge blessing…
“I met him outside the gym the day I signed with Top Rank.
“He just told me that the greatest thing about a fighter is being able to fight.
“Whatever your experience or your lack of experience, if you can fight, then you can fight.
“I took it to heart. He is right.”
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