After three consecutive draws, former GB Boxing captain Thomas Stalker got back to winning ways to claim the WBO European lightweight belt at Liverpool’s Echo Arena on Saturday night.

Southpaw stylist Stalker, 31, a stand-out amateur, turned pro three years ago under the spotlight, but after 9 wins on the bounce, he was defeated by rising Chorley star Jack Catterall in October 2014. – He re-grouped and came back with a win, before getting a draw against fellow Scouser Tommy Carus.

Stalker (11-1-3, 2 KOs) then went into two fights with fellow prospect Craig Evans from Newport. Both of those meetings also ended in competitive draws.

Against Portugal’s Antonio Joao Bento (30-16-2, 18 KOs) at the weekend in front of his home fans, Stalker boxed very well behind his sharp right jab to take the fight on points. The judges cards came back with a unanimous verdict in his favour with scores of 99-90 and 100-89 twice.

Bento picked up a bad cut above his left eye from an accidental clash of heads in the 4th, and he was also dropped in the 6th, by a left back hand from Stalker. Bento to his credit was tough and stayed in the fight and came back strong, even taking the fight to Stalker to show his guts and fighting heart.

But in the end Stalkers sublime skills, movement and general ring generalship told and he deserved his hard fought win and his first professional title.

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