Blues are boxing clever

BOXER Steve Spartacus plans to help Ipswich land a knockout promotion blow next season.Town aim to be contenders in the race to claim a Premiership place - and the fight ace is happy to lend a hand.

By Mel Henderson

BOXER Steve Spartacus plans to help Ipswich land a knockout promotion blow next season.

Town aim to be contenders in the race to claim a Premiership place - and the fight ace is happy to lend a hand.

The light-heavyweight, who will be bidding to win the English crown later this year, is thrilled to have been asked to help the players in their pre-season training.


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Spartacus, 28, said: “It's no secret that the Town physio, David Williams, has been instrumental in helping me these past few months.

“I had an elbow operation and David has been a massive help to me in getting back to full fitness.

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“I've been joining the players in

running and swimming - there's nothing I can do to improve their football skills! - and David suggested I could do something to help them.

“The idea is to bring a bit of my own type of training into the equation and help them in terms of making them fitter, stronger and more powerful”

Spartacus, beaten in just two of his 19 professional bouts, was at the Royal Hospital School today with the entire Portman Road playing staff.

He added: “We've got the conditioning pads and the boxing gloves, so I put on half-hour sessions with the various groups from first team to youth team.

“I think the club are keen for the players to do something a bit different and vary the routines so that nobody is bored with what they are doing.

“I see it as payback time. Town have been brilliant to me and I'm just the same as everyone else in the region - I want to see them back in the top flight as soon as possible.

“I know the Crystal Palace players have done a bit of boxing as part of their training since Iain Dowie took over and it doesn't seem to have done them any harm.

“They were promoted to the Premiership and didn't manage to survive, but while I'm no football expert I think they are among the favourites to go straight back up again.”

Spartacus is working closely with Joe Royle, assistant boss Willie Donachie, fitness coach Simon Thadani and physio Williams.

And teenage striker Dean Bowditch is one of the players with most to gain from the boxer's contribution.

“I might work one-to-one with Dean,” revealed Spartacus. “He is keen to bulk up a bit and I've told him I can help in that area.

“He's one of the country's most promising young players but feels he could do with having a bit more muscle.

“We are planning to do some weights together on a regular basis. It's important you don't overdo it, but Dean believes he can benefit and I'm pleased to help if I can.”

Town returned to pre-season training last Friday and face their first warm-up game at Cambridge United next Wednesday,

Spartacus, meanwhile, is hoping to return to the ring in September for a return contest with old foe Peter Haymer, who pipped him in the ABA Championships back in the 90s.

The pair met at the Wembley Conference Centre in November last year, with Haymer gaining a controversial points win that wrecked the Ipswich man's first defence of the English crown.

But Spartacus is determined to recapture the title in two months' time in a fight that has been short-listed for possible live TV coverage.

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