By David Gold

Tom Stalker_boxingFebruary 26 - British boxer Tom Stalker has claimed he is glad he missed out on the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games as he gears up for London 2012, where he will be a genuine medal prospect.

Stalker (pictured), who won the British Olympic Association Athlete of the Year award last year for his sport was, by his own admission, "up to no good" at the age of 19.

He then began training with his brothers at the Saint Aloysius gym in Huyton, and has developed into the number one ranked International Boxing Association (AIBA) competitor in the 64kg category.

"Boxing changed my life, I never looked back," he told insidethegames.

"I started when I was 19 – before I got into boxing I was just getting up to no good so boxing has kept me on the straight and narrow."

Eight years on, Stalker enters the Olympic Games, for which he has already qualified, as a 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medallist. He has also picked up medals from both European and World Championships.

With qualification secured he says that the pressure is off and believes that the experience of missing out on Beijing in 2008 has served him well in the long term.

"The pressure is off me and I want to enjoy the occasion as it's going to be brilliant being in my home country.

"I wasn't really even overlooked [in Beijing] – I was the number two to the number one fighter.

"I've waited for this Olympics and feel I'm a better fighter than I was in 2008.

"Everything happens for a reason so I'm glad I didn't go to Beijing and am going to London."

Tom Stalker_in_Cadbury_tracksuit_top
Stalker features in the latest Cadbury's video for their Keep Team GB pumped campaign, "Eye of the Tiger", and describes the campaign as "brilliant" and filming as "[a] really fun and great day."

In the video, the actions of Stalker, 400 metres runner Lee McConnell and judoka Ashley McKenzie are captured from the moment they wake up and throughout their daily training rituals while supporters sing the "Eye of the Tiger".

It is the latest and final video in the Keep Team GB pumped campaign.

He added: "It's nice to get everyone supporting you and the other athletes from all the different cities.

"It's brilliant – I think it motivated me a lot more."

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related stories
October 2011: Stalker, Campbell and Evans secure first British boxing spots at London 2012
January 2011: Stalker named British Olympic Association boxer of the year