NEARLY a full four-year Olympic cycle has passed since London 2012. Most members of that GB team now ply their trade in the professional ranks, although it hasn’t been an easy route. Liverpool’s Thomas Stalker, who narrowly missed out on medalling at the last Olympics, has suffered a defeat to Jack Catterall and has had to endure three consecutive draws in his last three fights.
The results may not have gone his way but Stalker is increasingly satisfied with how he’s performing after moving down a division to lightweight. “I’m happy with the way I’m boxing. I think I’ve found my proper weight class. It’s a lot better for me. I’m getting in the ring now putting a full stone on and feeling strong. Where I used to fight at 10st, because I didn’t diet much, I used to get in the ring at 10st 5lbs. So I’m weighing heavier, weighing in at 9st 9lbs, than what I did at 10st and I just feel like I’m bigger and stronger and better at the weight. There are some good fights for me this year,” he told Boxing News.
He also feels that he merited at least one win from his two contests with Craig Evans and should been awarded the decision against Tommy Carus. “I won the fight, everyone who’s there thought I won the fight. I was strong early on, last couple of rounds I maybe lost or drew but I thought I won, not as good as the first Evans fight but quite clearly. I haven’t had the rub of the green, have I? It’ll turn round because I’ve been in the gym constantly. Even though the last few fights have been draws, I have improved a lot. It’s down to my trainer Danny Vaughan. I’ve got a great relationship with him and we’re working hard together,” Thomas said. “It’s boxing, isn’t it? You’ve just got to keep going. This is my third year [with Frank Warren] and Frank’s been brilliant with me. Everything he said he’s going to do he’s done for me and I’m glad I went with him.”
He’s happy to fight a final decider with Craig Evans. “I’m up to do the third fight. We’ve had two good fights. I won the first fight clearly. The second fight was a lot closer, if he had won it by a round, you couldn’t have complained, if I had won it by a round you couldn’t have complained. It’s a good fight and I think the public would like to see a third fight, which could happen,” Stalker said. “He is a good fighter.”
The Liverpudlian was the captain of the amateur team that featured both Luke Campbell and Anthony Joshua, two Olympic gold medallists. As a professional Joshua has stormed to a world title fight in only 16 bouts, while Campbell, who has for the most part impressed, has still had to endure a first professional defeat. Stalker has complete faith in his former team mates. “He will become a world champion, Luke Campbell, because he’s too good not to,” Thomas said. “He’s moved to Miami now, training with Rigondeaux’s [old] trainer. Everything he’s done he’s done for the best for him. He’ll no doubt become a world champion because he’s too good not to. The thing about boxing now, people do lose. It’s not the end of the world if you lose. People protect their record too much. If you do lose, at the end of the day as long as you entertain the fans and you’re in a good fight that’s what it’s about. Having 20 fights and winning them all and fighting nobody, when you get through you’re just going to get beat anyway. I just think it’s about steady progression and being in good fights. I’m 31 years of age. I’ll fight anyone. I’ll fight anyone. That’s the mentality I’ve got.
“Being on the wrong end of the decision, it’s not nice. But you find out who’s there for you anyway.”
Joshua, more immediately, could be a world champion if he beats IBF titlist Charles Martin on April 9 in London. “He’s doing brilliant I’m proud of them. He’s fighting for the world title,” Thomas continued. “I think he can beat him and he’ll be an Olympic gold medallist and world champion after 16 fights. I think the kid [Charles Martin] is not a Tyson Fury or a Klitschko. The kid’s beatable. That’s a massive fight… It would be amazing.”