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Stalker eyes 2012 target after his Delhi delight.

Byline: Daniel Schofield

ENGLAND captain Thomas Stalker admits he faces a long hard road to London 2012 after taking Commonwealth lightweight gold in convincing fashion.

Despite Josh Taylor's pre-fight claims that he was fitter and hungrier than Stalker, the Englishman was a class apart from the first bell.

After drawing the first round 2-2, Taylor's extra reach and power told in the second as he went 6-3 up before finishing the contest in dominant fashion scoring five answered points to win 11-3. The standard of competition will be 10 times harder in two years' time and Stalker is not about to carried away by his Delhi gold.

He said: "It's a long way to 2012 and a lot can happen but I've just got to keep working, keep focused and my feet on the ground and if I can keep my feet on the ground I think I can qualify and represent Great Britain in the Olympics.

"It's the best feeling in the world. I am captain of my country and I've got a gold medal and I couldn't be any prouder. All the hard work I've done it's for everyone back home I'm so happy. "They're going crazy back in Huyton where I live. At my girl, Ella Louise's, school they had it on a big screen so I've had amazing support back home and I'm just so happy.

"She was watching it with the whole school so how proud will she be.

"It was 2-2 after the first and I thought they were scoring for him but I just had to break away then I got into my groove.

"I'm Commonwealth gold medallist and I'm over the moon."

No-one has been more proud to captain their country than Stalker who has walked in and out of every fight with the St George's Flag draped around him.

And Stalker added: "It is like being Steven Gerrard in the World Cup final; they (footballers) just have a lot more money. But they could never do that in the football, they always get beat!

"Now I am on the telly everyone will see me and I am just so proud."

Stalker scored as many points in the first round against Taylor as the Scot had conceded in his previous four fights.

A solid left opened the scoring for Stalker but after a quick exchange of punches, Taylor landed a lucky left to draw level.

But after the first round, Stalker stepped up a gear using his reach and foot speed to completely outfox Taylor who had never previously trailed in the tournament. With Taylor forced to come forward, Stalker showed his class with some exquisite right hooks which made a decent opponent look decidedly average.

Far from putting his feet up, Stalker will wait just three weeks before testing his new credentials in the Great Britain Championships in his home-town.

"I'll take one week off then I'm boxing in the three weeks," added Stalker. "I'll just spend time with my girlfriend Rachel and my daughter and have a few meals and visit my family and friends and then get back in the gym." SPAR, there for you and our GB athletes, proud supporters since 2004 www.spar.co.uk

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England's Thomas Stalker beat Scotland's Josh Taylor
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Oct 14, 2010
Words:547
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