Nico Ali Walsh has extended his undefeated run as a professional boxer, stopping Jeremiah Yeager via second-round TKO during the Robson Conceicao-Xavier Martinez undercard, and with all the stylistic flair of his legendary heavyweight champion grandfather.
The latest notch in his belt comes weeks after a mediocre performance against Reyes Sanchez at Madison Square Garden as part of the Vasiliy Lomachenko-Richard Commey undercard – which saw Ali Walsh eek a majority-decision victory many have described as “unconvincing.”
Returning to Tulsa’s Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Nico Ali Walsh faced a 1-2-1 middleweight who had predominantly been competing as a mixed martial artist in Jeremiah Yeager; which required a measure of adaptation given how MMA strikers approach the sweet science in a way purist boxers deem unconventional. Ali Walsh absorbed a decent amount of blows but avenged what he conceded twice-fold by letting those heavy hands fly.
With 45 seconds remaining in Round 2, Ali Walsh landed a clean right-left combination which sent Yeager crashing into the canvas. Yeager beat the count, only to be swarmed with vicious combinations from Ali Walsh, who broke out the iconic Ali Shuffle before sending his dazed opponent into the ropes with another left hook. Referee Gary Ritter stepped in to halt the action at precisely 2:39.
“I didn’t plan [the Ali Shuffle],” admits Nico Ali Walsh.
“It was emotional, of course. So much has been going on, but yeah, I didn’t plan on doing that. It’s just something that happened. I think the main thing was staying calm, which I did.”
“Another thing was head movement and defence, which I felt like I did improve on. I fought last month. So if I can make those small improvements in this such a short amount of time, who’s telling what I can do in my next fight?”
Some may recall Walsh’s spectacular one-sided demolition job of a professional boxing debut against Jordan Weeks last August. The 21-year-old talent dictated the terms at every possible moment in the lead up to securing a first-round TKO. And in the very trunks gifted by Muhammad Ali, no less, which young Nico has since vowed to retire (“I’m never wearing these trunks again.”).
“I think me and him made a little bit of history tonight,” Nico Ali Walsh said of his debut.
“This lived up completely to my expectations. It’s been an emotional journey… Obviously, my grandfather, I’ve been thinking of him so much. I miss him.”
“Step-by-step, play it by ear, watch his development and bring him along as fast as he’s able to go,” says Top Rank matchmaker Bruce Trampler, who also worked with Muhammad Ali back in the 80s.
“I’ve seen him in the gym every day for a month. He’s learning.”
When we last reported on Nico Ali Walsh, the rising star was being trained by the one and only SugarHill Steward – the same bloke training current WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury. Since then, Walsh has (amicably) parted ways with Steward due to the latter’s ongoing commitment to Fury, and linked up with a new head trainer, Richard Slone.
“Working with Nico is something I never anticipated but I have known him for most of his life and I know that he has a good work ethic,” says Richard Slone; who himself has spent over a decade training boxers, working corners for top fighters alongside Emanuel Steward (uncle to SugarHill), as well as being a former protege to the great Joe Frazier.
“Nico has worked very hard in preparation for this fight and I think that will show in his performance.”
“Working with Slone is a blessing to my career,” says Nico Ali Walsh.
“Most people recognize Rich Slone as the world’s greatest boxing artist but I’ve known him for many years. I know his extensive background working with Joe Frazier and Emanuel Steward as a professional boxing trainer. Together we will do great things.”
At the time of this writing, Nico Ali Walsh retains a perfect professional boxing record of 4-0.
Check out the full fight between Nico Ali Walsh and Jeremiah Yeager above. If you don’t have time to stream the entire thing, skip to around 8:30 where the headline-making action begins.