JUST DAYS after his most recent win, Joseph Parker has confirmed he will fight Alexander Dimitrenko on October 1 at the Vodafone Events Centre in Manukau, New Zealand.
Parker remains the mandatory challenger to Anthony Joshua’s IBF world heavyweight title, but will risk that status against the towering Russian.
At 6ft 7ins, Dimitrenko is three inches taller than the unbeaten New Zealander, who insists size won’t be an issue.
“It doesn’t faze me fighting big men,” he said. “I know if I put in the training, I can beat anyone in the world. I think it’s important to go to the body and break him down.
“Even though there’s something in the back of my head in Joshua, you still have to stay focused on what’s in front of you. If you lose focus, that’s the fight you don’t get to. I want to stay focused even though we’re thinking about Joshua. This is another challenge.”
Joshua has until November 8 to make another voluntary defence of his title, as on the following day he will be formally notified of his obligation to fight Parker, with a deadline of January 9.
Parker’s trainer, Kevin Barry, is eager to have his charge fight larger men in preparation for challenges against the division leaders.
“We need to put Joe up against some big men,” he said.
“There are big guys at the top of the heavyweight division. When you look at Tyson Fury, when you look at [Wladimir] Klitschko, when you look at Joshua, these guys are all tall. These are the guys we are targeting. These are the guys who hold the titles. These are the guys that dictate all of the big purses in world heavyweight boxing. So we need to go after them.”
Based in Germany, 34-year-old Dimitrenko has one six on the bounce since his 11th-round knockout loss to Kubrat Pulev in 2012, though in that time had a two-year hiatus from boxing between 2013 and 2015.
The former European champion was also outpointed by Eddie Chambers in 2009, and was scheduled to fight Luis Ortiz earlier this yeat but pulled out due to disputes over his purse.