“Felt Worse Than an Actual Loss”: Unbothered by Boxing Records, Muhammad Ali’s Grandson Reveals the Fight Which Hurt Him More Than His First Pro Loss (Exclusive)

Published 01/07/2024, 11:19 AM EST

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As they announced Sona Akale‘s name, a surprised Nico Ali Walsh looked back at his corner. Muhammad Ali‘s grandson suffered his first loss in professional boxing in August last year. Despite being the favored contender, Walsh faced stiff competition from Akale, an 8-1 pro boxer and hip-hop artist. The six-round bout saw Akale relentlessly pressuring Walsh, and in the end, the judges awarded him a majority decision victory. Was this the hardest fight for Walsh?

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Despite the loss, Nico Ali Walsh revealed in an Exclusive Interview with EssentiallySports that the fight barely caused him any mental strain. In fact, it barely felt like a loss. Instead, he recounts another instance which he calls “gut-wrenching.”

No Contest Disappointed Nico Ali Walsh

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Following a monthly agenda hearing by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, a prior eight-round split-decision draw between Danny Rosenberger and Ali Walsh was officially changed to a No-Contest. This might have restored Walsh’s undefeated streak, but Walsh was not too happy about it. The decision resulted from random drug testing conducted after their May 20 bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, revealing elevated testosterone levels in Rosenberger’s sample.

In his Exclusive Interview with EssentiallySports, the young pugilist revealed why the revelation hurt more than a professional loss. “That felt more gut-wrenching that he tested positive, that I took hard coz I was just like I worked so hard just for someone to cheat like that so that felt terrible, that felt worse than an actual loss,” said Walsh while talking about how he dealt with his first loss.

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Boxing records do not concern the boxer too much because his focus is on putting up a good performance every time he steps inside the ring. However, knowing that his opponent did not respect the sport enough to remain clean and honest, broke his heart.

What does Nico Ali Walsh suggest for drug testing?

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Walsh indicated that simply broaching the topic in larger forums could bring the desired attention to the issue. He believes that there have been shortcomings in testing procedures which should not be ignored anymore. He proposed a solution, suggesting that camps could engage in discussions and mutually agree to test each other. Shifting the focus to his own experience, Walsh stated that testing at his level is not given enough emphasis.

Read More: Grandson Biaggio Walsh Recalls Handling Bullies After Landing in Fights Due to Muhammad Ali Surname (Exclusive)

However, he recalled being tested when he fought on the undercard of Devin Haney and Vasiliy Lomachenko’s first pay-per-view event. This reflected the strict standards that the Nevada Athletic Commission in Vegas follows. Walsh concluded by reiterating the importance of regular testing for every boxer, regardless of the scale of the fight.

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As evident from his conversation with Kevin for the EssentiallySports Fancast, Nico Ali Walsh is a strong advocate of stricter rules for testing in the boxing industry. Such practices will ensure a level playing field where the outcome is only decided based on the capabilities and skills of the fighter. Do you agree with Ali Walsh on the topic? What are your views on it?

Watch This Story: Muhammad Ali Losses

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Written by:

Prachi Prava Senapati

526Articles

One take at a time

The Greatest aka Muhammad Ali would always say, “We can’t be brave without fear.” I am a Boxing author at EssentiallySports and was first drawn to the boxing gym when a friend of mine came to meet me with her hand wraps still on. After arranging enough resources, I joined the gym and eventually tried my hand at MMA as well.
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Edited by:

Gokul Pillai

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