Spartacus sets sights on big time

IPSWICH boxer Steve Spartacus has set his sights on a British title shot before the end of the year.He hopes to take a major step in the right direction when he takes on Mark Phillips of Wales in a light-heavyweight contest on Tuesday.

By Mel Henderson

IPSWICH boxer Steve Spartacus has set his sights on a British title shot before the end of the year.

He hopes to take a major step in the right direction when he takes on Mark Phillips of Wales in a light-heavyweight contest on Tuesday.

The fight goes ahead over six rounds at the Goresbrook Leisure Centre in Dagenham, with Norwich's former WBO world heavyweight champion Herbie Hide topping the bill as he continues his comeback.

Spartacus – formerly Smith – is celebrating the start of what he hopes will a long and successful link with the BBC.

He said: "I am back with my old promoter, Tony Burns and I have signed with the BBC for six fights before Christmas.

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"I was a small fish in a big pond with Frank Warren – now I'm back to being a big fish in a small pond.

"I wasn't getting enough work with Frank, but the split has been amicable. If a big opportunity comes along he's promised it will still come my way."

Spartacus, 26, is unbeaten in his 11 professional contests and has four knockouts to his credit.

Bristol-based Phillips, a former Welsh amateur champion, won four of his first five fights, but despite suffering ten straight defeats since then, he has never been stopped inside the distance.

"I want to be first to knock him out," declared Spartacus. "This is a chance to get some rounds in and I'm confident about the outcome."

His confidence is not surprising, since Phillips is currently ranked 449 in the world, 336 places behind the Ipswich man.

Spartacus has fully recovered from the hand injury he sustained in beating Paul Bonson on points in a six-rounder at Norwich Sports Village in February.

He weighed in at 13st 6lb for that cruiserweight fight, but has to make 12st 9lb for Tuesday's light-heavyweight contest.

Spartacus added: "With this latest I am guaranteed to get TV coverage on the BBC. That will be great, but what I really want is a major title shot and the only way that will happen is if I carry on winning."

Fight fans can pay on the door for Tuesday's event at Dagenham.

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