Nico Ali Walsh lands a direct hit on Eduardo Ayala. [Mikey Willliams/Top Rank/Via Getty Images]

Ali Walsh makes it 8/8 in Arizona

Middleweight Nico Ali Walsh made it eight wins out of eight in the paid ranks with a six-round unanimous decision over Eduardo Ayala at Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Arizona, last week.

Ali Walsh had the hometown favorite on the canvas in the second round. But Ayala, with the crowd behind him, gutted it out to go the distance with Muhammad Ali’s ever improving grandson.

One judge scored all six rounds for Ali Walsh [60-53], while the other two had him winning 59-54 [five rounds to one].    

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"He was a big guy, and I wanted to show that I could muscle him around on the inside,” the 22-year-old said. “Ayala was the hometown favorite. That was a new experience for me, but it was a valuable one."

Ali Walsh, with Irish roots on both sides -- his mother Rasheda is a daughter of the great Ali, whose great grandfather hailed from Ennis and his father Bob is Irish American -- upped his ledger to 8-0 [5 KOs]. Ayala dropped to 9-3-1 [3 KOs].

Fighting out of Las Vegas, Ali Walsh is promoted by Top Rank.

Dashaun “Too Sweet” Johns, a Bronx native and former amateur standout, is Ryan “The Silent Assassin” O’Rourke’s opponent on the March 4 “Jersey City fight night” card at the historic White Eagle Hall in downtown Jersey City, New Jersey. The bout, in the welterweight division, is scheduled for eight rounds.

O’Rourke, who’s 23 and a Dubliner, believes this is a stepping stone to the next stage of his 9-0 [2 KO] career. 

“I am really looking forward to getting back in the ring and back to the States,” he said. “his is a good step-up for me as I go back to eight rounders. I’m really starting to feel the support in the States after just two fights, and I think being able to showcase my skills against a good opponent in Dashaun will elevate my fan base even more.

“I know there’s big plans for me and this fight is the perfect opportunity to set up a big year ahead with the continued support of the Irish communities in New York and now New Jersey. I feel we can go all the way. Come out and see me in an all-action fight March 4.”

The southpaw Johns [4-2 2 KOs] will enter the ring having won two of his last three bouts – both via first round KO.  “I stay ready.” said Johns. “The goal is to fight the best regardless of their record. I’m here to continue my legacy.”

Star Boxing CEO Joe DeGuardia is anticipating an exciting bout.  “Ryan has been developing nicely and improving every time out. In this fight, he faces a tough challenge in Dashaun, who is both a southpaw and skilled boxer. An exciting Irish prospect of the year vs. a talented, quick and experienced Bronx raised fighter is a fight we are proud to have on this card. We are anxious to see this fight and know fans are looking forward to it as well.” 

Also on the Jersey City Card is Harley “Heavy Hands” Burke, Galway–born with concussive punching power and the latest Irish prizefighter to sign with Star Boxing. The 7-0 super middleweight with six KOs meets Joseph Aguilar [4-1-1, 2 KOs] from Portland, Oregon.


Derry middleweight Connor Coyle is now ranked #5 by the World Boxing Association [WBA].

“I’m happy to be ranked #5,” Coyle [18-0, 8 KOs] told the Echo. “I’m working my way closer to the end goal of being a world champion. I want big names this year and to prove I’m a world level fighter! I’m fighting April 29 in Florida to defend my NABA belt, and would really love to have a fight on the Katie Taylor card in Dublin on May 20.”

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