Biaggio Ali Walsh, the grandson of legendary boxer Muhammad Ali, is set to face Joel Galarza Lopez in the Professional Fighters League, with many MMA fans anticipating a significant challenge for the 25-year-old.
Despite his 5-1 record in cage fighting, Ali Walsh’s toughest battle was overcoming drug abuse and depression. His November 25 bout is crucial, as success could propel him into the professional ranks.
Ali Walsh, part of the renowned Ali boxing legacy alongside his brother Nico Ali Walsh and Laila Ali, is set to carry on the family tradition in pro boxing. However, his venture into MMA is not solely motivated by financial gains or fame.
The 25-year-old, who began cage fighting in June the previous year, faced significant challenges after concluding his American football career, as reported by the Daily Mail.
Residing in Las Vegas, often referred to as Sin City, Ali Walsh said the prevalent accessibility to party drugs and the vibrant nightlife scene became one of the hurdles he had to battle. After hanging his boots on his football career, he experienced a sense of liberation, leading him to indulge in a lifestyle free from the structured routines of athletic commitments. He conceded that embracing the freedom of engaging in activities of his choosing sent him on a path he wasn’t in any way proud of.
Opening up about his past struggles, he revealed that his engagement in partying and substance use was a way to numb the mental pain he experienced. Disappointment in football, coupled with unmet expectations, fueled this coping mechanism.
However, since dedicating himself to MMA training and actively participating in fights, Ali Walsh said he has undergone a transformative journey. Taking the sport seriously has not only changed his lifestyle but also compelled him to embrace a healthier way of living.
Despite the boxing legacy associated with his surname, Ali Walsh chose MMA over boxing. When asked about this decision, he explained that growing up, he identified as the “bad kid” with an underlying anger issue. For him, MMA, known for its brutality and aggression, aligns more with his personality, providing an outlet for his intensity and serving as a suitable expression of his inner disposition.
Ali Walsh, following an initial loss in which he was choked out, has secured five consecutive victories in MMA, all through striking rather than submission.
Crediting his success in the cage, he said his grandfather, the legendary Muhammad Ali, has been one of his biggest influences given the fact that he is considered by many as possibly the greatest boxer ever. He revealed that since he was a child, he has been watching his grandfather’s fights.
He admitted that he has picked key elements from his grandfather Muhammad Ali’s boxing style, particularly Muhammad Ali’s jab and the strategic use of right hands to set up hooks. He added that he has learned valuable lessons from Muhammad Ali’s greatest rival, Joe Frazier, who handed Muhammad Ali his first professional loss.
He noted that studying Frazier’s left hook and head movement is an aspect he has incorporated into his own approach in the MMA arena.