Boxing - GB Olympic skipper latest to turn pro

Tom Stalker, captain of Team GB's boxing squad at London 2012, has turned professional in a deal with promoters Matchroom.

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Boxing - GB Olympic skipper latest to turn pro
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Tom Stalker and Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn with Stalker's first professional contract

Eddie Hearn's company confirmed on Wednesday that the 28-year-old had signed a deal. He will be trained by Paul and Mick Stevenson at Everton Red Triangle boxing club, home of British flyweight champion Kevin Satchell.

The light-welterweight is set to make his professional debut on an undercard in February before having his second bout underneath Tony Bellew's final eliminator against Isaac Chilemba for a WBC light heavyweight title shot on March 30 in Liverpool.

Stalker is a former European champion and made his way to a bronze medal at the World Championships in 2011, but lost his Olympic quarter-final last year in London amid controversy to Mongolian Munkh-Erdene Uranchimeg.

“I feel I am going to be exciting to watch as a professional boxer,” said Stalker.

“I felt it was time for me to turn professional now and see how far I can go. 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.

“It wasn’t just a three-week tournament it had been four years of trying to qualify to win those medals so to see all the lads and women do so well and win medals was amazing and I am very honoured to have captained that team.

“Winning the Commonwealth Games gold medal was obviously a highlight for me in the amateurs but I would say qualifying for the Olympics was a big moment after all the hard work it took to qualify.

“Since the Olympics I haven’t had a goal and I have been a bit depressed, especially seeing the other lads doing all sorts of stuff but now I have that hunger back and to get in that ring and fight is going to be amazing.

“The one for me is going to be March, boxing a homecoming in Liverpool. It is going to be amazing for me to be boxing in front of all my friends and family in Liverpool and that is when I will really feel like a professional.

“I think a lot of Eddie Hearn and I think a lot of the fighters he has; Carl Froch, Kell Brook and of course the Liverpool fighters he has got, Tony Bellew, Rocky Fielding and Callum Smith.

“I thought it made sense to go with Matchroom because Eddie is doing really well for his fighters at the moment.

“Kal Yafai, Scotty Cardle and Martin J. Ward were all really good friends in the GB squad and I see them doing really well now with Matchroom. When I was watching Scott Cardle’s last fight I was picturing myself against the opponent he was fighting because he is about the same weight as me.”

He follows team-mate Anthony Ogogo, who turned professional and joined Golden Boy last month, though Fred Evans, Andrew Selby and Josh Taylor have immediate commitments to the World Series of Boxing - a semi-pro tournament which helps bridge the transition from amateur to the money leagues.

Anthony Joshua and Luke Campbell, who won gold in their respective weight classes at London's ExCeL last summer, have yet to make decisions on their futures.

"I'm delighted to welcome Tom to our expanding team of fighters,” said Eddie Hearn.

“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.”

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