News February 2014

Tom Stalker talks injury woes, signing with Warren and more

12.02.14

By @John_Evans79

565 days ago, Tom Stalker walked into a packed Olympic stadium as the captain of Great Britainís incredibly successful amateur boxing team. On Saturday Ė just yards away from the scene of his proudest moment Ė Stalker, (5-0, 2 KOs), will make a less high profile walk, yet it will be one which is just as important to the 29-year-old.

This weekendís appearance at the Copper Box will end an incredibly frustrating period for the energetic Stalker and usher in a new beginning. The injury which has kept him sidelined since last June has healed and he is raring to get his career back on track under the guidance of Frank Warren.

ďIím looking forward to getting in there and fighting again. Itís a massive bill,Ē Stalker told Livefight. ďI was doing single arm dumbbell snatches with my strength and conditioning coach and as Iíve gone up, my pecís come off. Thatís why I havenít boxed for so long. I had to have an operation to attach it back on, then rest for three months and then do all the rehabilitation. Iím back to normal now and canít wait to get back in there and box.

ďThe gym is doing great at the moment and there are champions in the gym [Everton Red Triangle is home to Kevin Satchell, James Dickens and Ryan Farrag amongst others]. Itís been frustrating. It came to the point where I couldnít even go to the gym. The first couple of weeks after the operation I couldnít even bath myself it was that bad! I just kept myself away from the gym until I was ready to start punching again, ran when I could and stayed fit but itís been a frustrating time. It opened up my eyes to being a professional really. Anything can happen.Ē

Saturdayís fight will be Stalkerís first under the Warren banner following the completion of his contract with Matchroom Boxing. Matchroomís successful travelling circus allows their stable of promising younger fighters plenty of opportunity to showcase their skills to a nationwide audience. It is a sound strategy and one which ensures the most talented fighters develop into future stars. Warren has always had a different attitude towards building fighters and it is one which Ė on the face of it Ė will suit Stalker down to the ground.

Stalker is an extremely popular figure in Liverpool and has the potential to become a huge ticket seller. With new stablemates Paul Butler and Liam Smith set for some big nights at the cityís Echo Arena and Aintree racecourse over the coming years, there should be plenty of opportunities for him to really put down some roots, build his fan base and establish himself as a force on the British scene.

ďWeíve got Liam, Paul Butler, Joe Selkirk and all the lads out of ERT,Ē Stalker says. ďItís good that Frankís building a big thing in Liverpool. Itís exciting times. Obviously Eddie Hearn has got the Smithís, Tony Bellew and Rocky Fielding but Frankís building a great set of fighters with us lot too. Itís healthy for the sport to have two good promoters and thereís gonna be some great shows on.

ďFrank Warren is a hall of fame promoter. Heís got his hunger back for the sport and has the financial backing of a lot of great people and I think heís gonna go from strength to strength. Frank will build you. This year Iíve got a six rounder, three or four eight rounders and maybe a ten rounder by the end of the year. By then Iíll be ready and knocking on the door. Iíll have done the rounds and be pushing on to fight for titles. Iíll be getting good fights at good times.

ďI think Frank Warrenís name isnít as good as Eddieís in Liverpool at the moment because a few Liverpool fighters have left him but I think with him signing me and the other fighters he has, itís gonna go bigger and bigger and thereís no reason why Liverpool wonít be up there with his London shows. He can have five big London shows and five big Liverpool shows and itíll be chocca.Ē

Eventually, the enforced lay off may prove to be a blessing for Stalker. He is entering 2014 in full fitness and with a different attitude. Last year, former Team GB teammate Natasha Jonas told Livefight that we wonít see the best of Stalker until he stops allowing the opinions of others to affect him. Forget inside fighting, clinching or learning to sit down more on his punches, the enforced lay off seems to have given Stalker time to add an even more important asset to his professional skill set: a thick skin.

ďTasha knows me better than anyone, Iíve been on the squad with her for so long. I basically try and get on with everyone and what Iíve come to realise now with being a professional is that youíre gonna get critics and people who think youíre crap. Even if you box well, youíre gonna have people who say you didnít. Thatís just what itís like. Youíve just gotta have a thicker skin. Not everyone is your mate. I like to think everybody is. Thatís my problem.

ďYou donít get a tougher sport than boxing and anybody who has got in the ring I respect. I do understand the fans point of view though and if they donít feel like a fighter is performing how they should then Ė especially on twitter Ė itís about expressing your feelings. Itís just the way some people go about it! Look at David Price when he got beat by Tony Thompson. The people who were on his back then were okay a couple of fights earlier when they were saying he was going to be the next heavyweight champion of the world.

ďAt the end of the day youíve gotta be thicker skinned. The same people who will praise you will slag you the next minute. Itís just the game youíre in.

ďAs an amateur you go around the world, win medals for your country and no matter what everybody is proud of you. Turn professional and youíve got a lot of people who like to have a go. Thatís what Iíve learned. To not let everything get to me. Floyd Mayweather gets slagged and heís the best fighter in the world! If somebody does say something, the next day they move on to the next person and thatís the way it goes.Ē

When Stalker crossed over from the amateurs, it was widely believed that he possessed the talent and personality to become a big star in the sport. If he can put the lessons learnt over the past eighteen months as a professional into practice, Stalker could prove to be a huge coup for Frank Warren and a big draw for BoxNation.

Tickets for the Copper Box Arena, priced at £40, £50, £70 and £120, are available from Eventim on 0844 249 1000 or online at www.eventim.co.uk

Watch live and exclusive this Saturday on BoxNation (Sky Ch. 437) or in HD (Sky Ch. 449) or on Virgin (Ch. 546). Join at www.boxnation.com

Additional Livefight interviews ahead of Rock The Box III

Georgie Kean: I'm living my dream!

Lewis Pettitt aiming to fill the domestic void at super bantamweight

Billy Morgan says fans will see a different fighter for Grant test

Steve Collins Jr is in no rush to emulate his legendary father

Hughie Fury takes aim at Joshua: I'm doing my job properly

Newsletters Signup

.