Muhammad Ali’s grandson Nico Ali Walsh was handed his first defeat as a professional last night as he slumped to a controversial split decision loss to Sona Akale.
The 23-year-old had won all eight of his first fights before May when he drew with Danny Rosenberger, which was eventually overturned after a failed drugs test. And his result was a little bit worse last night when Akale after a back-and-forth contest was announced as the winner with just one round swinging the contest.
Fans immediately took to social media to claim that Ali Walsh had been ‘robbed’ of at least a draw in the six-rounder, with one writing on Twitter : “Nico Ali Walsh of Vegas just got robbed in Tulsa. He won that fight.” Another added “Robbery! Nico Ali Walsh won every round!”
After a series of big uppercuts and hooks that wobbled Akale, the Cameroon-born fighter appeared to edge back key rounds based on pressure to earn his victory, bringing him back to winning ways after a TKO loss last time out. Ali Walsh was enraged by the decision, while Akale appeared delighted to have picked up a victory on the big stage after a series of club fights.
Ali Walsh was flanked by his usual team that included mother Rasheda Ali and godfather Flavor Flav, who is one of rap music’s greatest hype men. They have travelled around America to support both Nico and his brother Biaggio, who is making his way in the world of MMA as an amateur on the PFL.
It’s the latest in a string of strange news for the younger brother, after drawing his previous outing in Las Vegas on the undercard of Devin Haney and Vasyl Lomachenko back in May. Rosenberger returned a positive drugs test after the fact and was suspended, with the result being overturned and Ali Walsh restored to a perfect 8-0 in time for last night in Tulsa.
The fight took place on the undercard of Jared Anderson’s stunning win over Andriy Rudenko, with the youngster dominating from start to finish in an awkward outing that saw Rudenko deducted a point. He eventually forced referee Gary Ritter to end the fight with a series of unanswered shots in the fifth round.