Tom Stalker, who captained the Team GB’s boxers at the London 2012 Olympics, has today announced that he is to turn professional.
The 28-year-old Liverpool light-welterweight has put the disappointment of his controversial loss at the Games behind him and has opted to become a paid fighter, following in the footsteps of boxers such as Amir Kahn and Audley Harrison, as well as London 2012 bronze medalist Antony Ogogo.
It is understood that he has signed a contract with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Sport and will make his debut next month before a possible second bout at the Liverpool Echo Arena in March, which will see him feature on the same card as fellow Liverpudlian Tony Bellew.
Stalker, who won Commonwealth Gold in Delhi in 2010, was the number one ranked fighter in his division going into the Olympics and was seen as a major medal hope, before losing in the last eight to Mongolian veteran Munkh-Erdene Uranchimeg, by a score of 23-22.
Following his defeat Stalker said: “I have done everything I could possibly do as an amateur, bar winning an Olympic medal. Even though I didn’t medal myself, as a team I have captained the most successful amateur boxing team we have ever had and that was a big thing for me.”
The southpaw, who trains at the Everton Red Triangle Boxing Club, expects his transition from amateur boxing to be a fruitful one. He said: “I feel I am going to be exciting to watch as a professional boxer.”
Matchroom Chairman Barry Hearn said: “Tom is one of Britain’s most successful ever amateurs and we are so excited about joining forces on this journey.
“Tom has a wealth of experience and we are looking to fast track him to a title shot within 12 months. He can expect a busy year ahead, kicking off in February before fighting in front of his home crowd at the Liverpool Echo Arena in March.”
GB Boxing performance director, Rob McCracken, said: “It is disappointing for us that Tom has decided his future lies away from the GB Boxing squad but he departs with our best regards and we wish him every success in his future career.”
Stalker tweeted: “Big Thanks to @gbboxing and the whole coaching staff for an amazing five years on the team, made me the fighter I am today.”