At the conclusion of last year, the World Boxing Council bestowed “Prospect of the Year” honors upon super middleweight Nico Ali Walsh. In 2023, he has set out to improve upon three knockout victories he earned in 2022. The first step in the latest chapter of his career began with a six-round bout against Eduard Ayala.
Ali Walsh may have earned “Prospect of the Year” honors in 2022, but there were a few things that observers felt he could improve upon. Most notably, former super middleweight champion Andre Ward noted that he had been hit with too many right hands in his most recent fight. Throughout the first round of tonight’s six-round bout, Ayala was able to use the right hand to his advantage. However, there was a turn of events in round two as Walsh ironically dropped Ayala with a right hand. The Phoenix native was able to get up from the canvas, but the “Prospect of the Year” was able to get comfortable fighting from the pocket and began throwing a flurry of power punches to the body.
The second half of the fight was much like the first. The rising super middleweight displayed improved defense and began uploading upstairs and downstairs. Despite Walsh’s onslaught, Ayala was durable. The Phoenix native continued to be active and seemingly opened a cut on Walsh’s cheek. Still, it wasn’t enough as Walsh turned in the most impressive performance of his career. All three judges delivered the following scores in favor of the popular prospect: 60-53, 59-54 and 59-54.
Walsh’s victory made way for the rest of the main card on ESPN. Olympian Richard Torrez returned to the ring for the first time in 2023 while Emmanuel Navarrete fought Liam Wilson for a vacant title.
.@NicoAliX74 is in total control — can he finish it? ? #NavarreteWilson pic.twitter.com/ElUhnirAvx
— ESPN Ringside (@ESPNRingside) February 4, 2023