Boxing: Spartacus favoured in battle for English title

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The Independent Online

Spartacus, whose real name is Stephen Smith, will fight for the inaugural English light-heavyweight title against Scott Lansdowne over 10 rounds at York Hall, Bethnal Green, tonight.

Spartacus adopted the name of his screen hero when he was told that there was already a professional named Stephen Smith. From the start of his career he has entered the ring wearing a clothing combination that includes a centurion's headgear with a rough-looking pair of shorts that could pass for Roman slavewear.

He is unbeaten in 14 fights and has stopped seven of his opponents, so he should in theory be too slick and confident for Lansdowne in tonight's nominal main event.

Ironically, the other Stephen Smith is in the other vacant English title fight when he meets Northampton's Alan Bosworth for the light-welterweight crown.

"When I was told I needed a new name I thought it was a joke but I see now why I was asked, and to be honest using Spartacus has always been a bit of a giggle,'' he said. "Having such an odd name was a nuisance at the start of my career because people thought that I was a bit of a joker but now that I've got some good wins and this fight, I think people know that it was not just a publicity stunt. And anyway, I like Kirk Douglas.''