LAS VEGAS — Bob Arum promoted Muhammad Ali. Now he’s putting on the professional debut of Ali’s grandson.
Arum told ESPN on Saturday that Top Rank will be putting on the first fight of Nico Ali Walsh’s career on Aug. 14 as part of the undercard of the Andrew Moloney-Joshua Franco fight.
The fight presents a bit of lineage for Arum. The first fight Arum promoted was Ali’s title fight in 1966 against George Chuvalo on March 29, 1966, a fight Ali won by unanimous decision. Now, generations later, Arum will promote a fight for another Ali.
“And so it’s a hell of a story,” Arum said. “After all these years.”
Ali Walsh told ESPN on Saturday night he couldn’t envision going with any other promoter because of his family’s connections.
“I know for certain that my grandfather wouldn’t have wanted me with any other promoter aside from Bob Arum,” Ali Walsh said Saturday night. “In the sport of boxing, as you’ve seen how Don King handled my grandfather and Mike Tyson, a lot of people can’t be trusted in boxing and Bob Arum is one of those people that is well-respected, not just in boxing but in business in general.
“He’s just one of those guys where he has a massive amount of respect. I’ve always wanted to be a part of Top Rank … [this] is the most tremendous blessing that I can imagine. So yeah, it’s just incredible.”
Ali Walsh said he first learned of the possibility two weeks ago during a meeting with Arum — the first time he had met the promoter who had been so close to his family. Arum mentioned the idea of August 14 and Ali Walsh said, “I couldn’t be more excited, really. I couldn’t.”
Arum said Ali was the one who started him in the business in which he has become one of the top boxing promoters in history.
Walsh had initially tweeted in March 2020 that he was turning professional and that his first fight would be by the end of the year. Weeks after that tweet, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, altering sports and timelines for events across the world.
Arum told ESPN that Walsh has done some work with SugarHill Steward, the trainer of heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, and that Arum has been told “he has a real talent.”
Ali Walsh is the son of Ali’s daughter Rasheda Ali Walsh.
“I know what my last name means,” Ali Walsh told the Chicago Sun-Times in 2018. “Because that’s my family.”
ESPN’s Andres Ferrari contributed to this report.