Boxing has created many a fairytale story in the past, and the life of Olympic hopeful Thomas Stalker is a fine example of it.
Tom, who fights in the 64kg category, started boxing relatively late at the age of 19 to help steer him on the straight and narrow away from a life of trouble and he now finds himself representing Great Britain at this summer’s Olympic Games in London - what many people call 'the greatest show on earth'.
He told BoxRec News: “I’ve been told every venue for the boxing has been sold out and it holds around 10,000 so to box in front of a crowd like that is going to be a dream come true for me.
“I’m going to enjoy the experience more than anything and I’ll give 110%.
“Before I started boxing I was going off the rails so boxing has kept me away from silly nights out and taking drugs, so it’s changed my life completely, making me a better person in the process.”
The 27 year-old Liverpudlian considers his Olympic qualification, winning gold at the Commonwealth Games and with his bronze at the World Championships as his greatest achievements so far. Although many in his position would be greedy in dreaming for more success, Stalker’s feet remain firmly on the ground.
“Obviously I dream about winning gold every night but a lot can happen in boxing and every interview I’ve done, If I’d have said I want to win that gold medal it would put a lot of pressure on me, so I’m just going to be in the best possible condition that I can be and fingers crossed that I can win the gold.”
Having achieved everything possible as an amateur, the Salisbury ABC based fighter has announced that he will turn professional after London 2012 to take his impressive career to the next level.
“I’m turning professional after the Olympics but at the end of the day, all my thoughts at the moment are on me being an amateur but it’s a dream of mine to turn professional.
“By the time the Olympics arrives I’d have been on the GB team for five years and I’ve won medals in everything I’ve competed in, so there’s nothing left for me to stay in the amateur ranks for and I feel though I’ve served Team GB well, so the next step for me is to turn professional,” said Stalker.
Stalker hopes to be accompanied at the Olympic Games by fellow Scousers Callum Smith and Natasha Jones. So, what exactly is in the waters of the river Mersey at the moment to make boxing in Liverpool so prominent?
“At the moment it’s brilliant," said Stalker. "We’ve got Derry Mathews fighting for a world title, (well, IBO - Ed.) the Smith brothers, big David Price as well as a lot of promising kids coming through.
“It’s great to be from such a great city. We each stick together and we’re all close and that’s what’s nice about it that we all like to see each other do well.”
With only six months to go until the Olympic Games, it would be fitting for Tom to end his amateur career as he started it, on a high, as he looks to make the next step on his journey a golden one.