By Tom Degun

Tom StalkerJanuary 9 - Light welterweight fighter Tom Stalker, who captained the Team GB boxing squad at London 2012, is set to turn professional.

The 28-year-old from Liverpool will sign a promotional contract with Eddie Hearn's Matchroom Sport.

The southpaw fighter is now likely to make his professional debut at the Liverpool Echo Arena on March 30 in a card that will be headlined by fellow Liverpudlian Tony Bellew, who will face Isaac Chilemba of Malawi in an eliminator for the WBC light-heavyweight title.

Stalker went into London 2012 as one of Team GB's biggest medal prospects having won gold at the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games and bronze at the Baku 2011 World Championships.

But he suffered heartache at Olympics as he was narrowly beaten Munkh-Erdene Uranchimeg of Mongolia 23-22 in the quarter-final at ExCeL in a fight many thought the Briton had won.

Stalker was then left to watch from the stands as super heavyweight Anthony Joshua, bantamweight Luke Campbell and women's flyweight Nicola Adams took Olympic gold medals for Team GB while welterweight Fred Evans won silver and middleweight Anthony Ogogo won bronze to help the hosts top the London 2012 medal table.

But despite his London 2012 agony, Stalker feels the time is right for him to join the professional ranks.

"I feel I am going to be exciting to watch as a professional boxer," he said.

"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.

"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.

"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."

TomStalkerTom Stalker (right) just missed out on a medal at London 2012 as he was beaten by Munkh-Erdene Uranchimeg (left) 23-22 in the quarter-final at the Olympics

Stalker becomes the second British member of the London 2012 boxing team to turn professional after Ogogo joined the paid ranks last month after he signed with Oscar De La Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions.

Stalker, who was ranked number one in the world at light welterweight by the International Boxing Association (AIBA), had been considering an offer to join the UK-based World Series of Boxing (WSB) franchise the British Lionhearts.

The WSB is currently the only professional boxing competition in the world that allows boxers to retain their Olympic eligibility so it would have allowed Stalker to stay on to compete at Rio 2016.

However, he has decided to pass on the offer, even though several of his Team GB compatriots are involved with the Lionhearts including Fred Evans, Andrew Selby and Josh Taylor.

Meanwhile Joshua and Campbell are weighing up their options, having both been approached by the Lionhearts.

"It has been very good working with Tom over the last three years, when he has shown himself to be a fine boxer with the ability to win medals at major tournaments," said GB Boxing performance director Rob McCracken.

"It is disappointing for us that Tom has decided his future lies away from the GB Boxing squad but he departs with our best regards and we wish him every success in his future career."

Stalker will be trained by Paul and Mick Stevenson at Everton Red Triangle boxing club, where British flyweight champion Kevin Satchell will be a gym-mate.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related stories
December 2012: British Olympic boxing medallist to turn professional with Golden Boy Promotions