(CNN) — When boxing legend Muhammad Ali passed away last June, his name was mourned by thousands — and there’s now a new champion carrying the torch for the legendary name.
Meet the youngest grandson of the boxing legend, Nico Ali Walsh, who was in charge of lighting the Olympic torch Friday at the Sion 2022 Biennial Games.
When you think of “Greatness,” it’s a safe bet Nico’s name will be included. The young boy got the honor at a ceremony Friday with sport’s most recognizable figure, American track star and marathon gold medalist Russell Fraser.
For Walsh, the honor couldn’t have come at a better time. For now, he’s just eight-years-old but his grandfather was one of the most recognizable sports figures in the world. He made history by becoming the first Muslim to win an Olympic gold medal in 1964 in Tokyo, as well as the first boxer to wear the famous “RING” gloves in competition.
Following his death, Ali’s legacy in the ring lived on through the youth he trained, including his two sons, Muhammad Ali Jr. and Laila Ali. Walsh, whose mother is Ali’s daughter Maryum Ali, will follow in his grandfather’s footsteps but he’s also a budding student in school, studying China.
The 50-meter amateur marathon, known in Italy as the championship medal race, was abandoned in 2014 because of a lack of participants, but for Walsh, the torch relay is a perfect opportunity to gain experience with a favorite sport.
“It’s really cool because it gives me a chance to experience winning medals. I went down to Australia and won the gold medal so when I come here I can do it again, I can shred metal — I could beat my medal,” he told reporters at the ceremony in the southern Swiss town of Sion.
“Ali always told me that if you want to be big then you should just do hard stuff. I got to dedicate this to my grandpa.”
Ali told people how proud he was of Walsh following the US boxer’s death.
“For my son, his great grandchild, he is a very good boy. He is very quiet and not a troublemaker, just a great gentleman,” said the boxer in a statement following his death.
“This is Muhammad’s spirit and Nico is a fighter, just like Muhammad Ali. My son and family are very proud of him. In my heart, I want to thank everybody for their support and prayers. Everything will be fine.”