News October 2017

The Way of the Exploding Fist - Dodd beats Stalker


By @John_Evans79

There is a classic Japanese text called The Book of Five Rings. In it, a famed undefeated samurai called Miyamoto Musashi details techniques and strategies for defeating an opponent. He talks about throwing an opponent off guard, creating confusion and how technical flourishes are generally excessive. That all technique is simply a method of cutting down an opponent.

There is no mystical symbolism attached to the five famed rings depicted in the Olympic symbol - the rings merely represent the five continents - but they also epitomise the Olympic ideals we hold true; determination, sportsmanship and technical ability.

Tom Stalker’s reputation was formed by the five interlocked Olympic rings. His determination and sportsmanship have never been in doubt. The Liverpudlian enjoys the verbal back and forth that surrounds a fight these days but always gives his all and his character is highly spoken of in boxing circles. Stalker’s problem has been implementing the technical skills which earned him the role of Team GB Captain at the 2012 London Olympics.

Sean ‘Masher’ Dodd fights as if he has studied Musashi’s handbook forensically. Over the years, he has become adept at making the most of the his skillset to confuse and cut down fighters with far more technical pedigree and ability. To write Dodd off a a trier and brawler would be wrong. The 32 year old from Birkenhead has devised a way to implement arguably the most important strategy of all. He is able to force an opponent out of their own comfort zone and into his.

Last night at Liverpool’s Echo Arena, Stalker became Dodd’s latest victim. After a nip and tuck first third, Dodd simply took over. At first, Stalker found himself being drawn into exchanges but eventually he was forced on to the back foot and his reduced punch output allowed Dodd to gather momentum and keep rolling forward. Once Dodd had a foothold in the fight, he never looked like letting it slip from his grasp. Stalker fought as if he had badly damaged his left hand but according to Sky sources, he made no mention of the injury in the corner.

When Stalker (12-3-3, 2 KO’s) decided to pour his efforts into professional boxing rather than staying on the safe path to a respected position within the Team GB amateur set up, he wouldn’t have for one moment considered that he would be standing at a career crossroads less than five years later. The popular Scouser finds himself with a tough decision to make. At 33 years old, it is going to be difficult for him to find the opportunities he feels he deserves. Contrary to popular belief, the rangy Stalker is apparently a reasonably stiff puncher for a couple of rounds. Sadly, he has been unable to master a way of maintaining that threat once his opponent has worked out a way to take away his leverages.

For the wildly popular Dodd (15-2-1, 3 KO’s), the rise continues. Since stepping in at short notice to shock Gary Buckland in September 2015, he has exceeded expectations. Only two close and controversial fights with then British champion Scott Cardle scar his record. Dodd has already outpointed the European lightweight champion - Francesco Patera - but his focus must near settle squarely on claiming the Lonsdale belt currently held by Robbie Barrett.

Birkenhead’s own Bushido warrior may yet have a few more chapters to add to his own story.

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