Stalker seeking Olympic glory

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© Trinity Mirror

Boxing has created many a fairytale story in the past, and the life of Olympic hopeful Thomas Stalker is a fine example of it.

Stalker, who fights in the 64kg category, began boxing relatively late at the age of 19 but now finds himself representing Great Britain at this summer’s Olympic Games in London.

He said: “I’ve been told every venue for the boxing has been sold out and it holds around 10,000, so to box in front of a crowd like that is going to be a dream come true for me. I’m going to enjoy the experience more than anything and I’ll give 110%.

“Before I started boxing I was going off the rails so boxing has kept me away from silly nights out and taking drugs, so it’s changed my life completely, making me a better person in the process.”

The 27-year-old Liverpudlian considers his Olympic qualification, winning gold at the Commonwealth Games and bronze at the World Championships as his greatest achievements so far.

But while many would be greedy in dreaming for more success, level-headed Stalker’s feet remain firmly on the ground. “Obviously I dream about winning gold every night but a lot can happen in boxing,” he continued.

“Every interview I’ve done, if I’d have said I want to win that gold medal it would put a lot of pressure on me, so I’m just going to be in the best possible condition that I can be and fingers crossed that I can win the gold.”

Having achieved everything possible as an amateur, the Salisbury ABC based fighter has announced that he will turn professional after London 2012 to take his impressive career to the next level.

“I’m turning professional after the Olympics, but at the end of the day all my thoughts at the moment are on me being an amateur. But it’s a dream of mine to turn professional.

“By the time the Olympics arrives I’d have been on the GB team for five years and I’ve won medals in everything I’ve competed in, so there’s nothing left for me to stay in the amateur ranks for and I feel I’ve served Team GB well, so the next step for me is to turn professional.”

Stalker will be accompanied at the Olympic Games by fellow Scouser Natasha Jonas, who is appearing in the first ever women’s boxing event, while young Callum Smith is also hoping to fly the flag for Liverpool in London.

The city’s boxers are clearly coming to prominence, something Stalker is very pleased about: “At the moment it’s brilliant. We’ve got Derry Mathews fighting for a world title, the Smith brothers, big David Price, as well as a lot of promising kids coming through.

“It’s great to be from such a great city. We each stick together and we’re all close and that’s what’s nice about it, that we all like to see each other do well.”

About Daniel Webster, JMU Journalism