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Muhammad Ali’s grandson marks professional boxing debut with a victory

LAS VEGAS, NV -JUN 07: Nico Ali Walsh, Grandson of Muhammad Ali, visits with Hall of Fame Boxing Promoter Bob Arum in Las Vegas, Nevada on June 7, 2021. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

(CNN) — The continuation of a legacy was how Nico Ali Walsh — the grandson of Muhammad Ali –– described making his professional boxing debut in the sport on Saturday.

Wearing a pair of his grandfather’s white trunks, the 21-year-old Walsh won his middleweight bout against Jordan Weeks with a first-round stoppage at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Catoosa, Oklahoma.

“I’m blessed and honored to say that I continued history,” Walsh wrote on Instagram.

“Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone that supported me! I brought my grandfather in the ring with me by wearing his shorts for the first and final time as a professional fighter. I’m more than proud to say: The Legacy Continues.”

Dubbed “The Greatest,” three-time heavyweight champion Ali died in June 2016 after a lengthy battle against Parkinson’s disease.

He had nine children, including daughter Laila, who, like her father, became a world champion boxer.

“I’ve never been able to escape my grandfather, no matter what sport I played,” Walsh, who is the son of Ali’s daughter Rasheda, recently told The New York Times.

“I’m starting to embrace it. It’s very hard to do, but you have to embrace the legacy, no matter what it is. Everybody becomes stronger when they embrace what they’re destined to do.”

Walsh is a boxer with Top Rank, which is headed by Bob Arum, who founded the company in 1966 when he began promoting Ali.

“What a magical night for this young man,” tweeted Arum after Walsh’s victory. “His grandfather would have been so proud of the way he’s honoring him in his own way.

“We at Top Rank are looking forward to leading him on his professional journey.”

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