By John J. Raspanti
Undefeated New Zealand heavyweight Joseph Parker has placed a target on IBF heavyweight champion of the world Anthony Joshua. Both boxers want the fight, but to get a crack at Joshua’s belt, Parker, ranked number one by the IBF, will need to get past giants Alexander Dimitrenko, and possibly, David Price.
Parker has lofty ambitions, but there are risks involved.
He fights fellow contender Dimitrenko October 1 at the Vodafone Events Centre in Manukau, New Zealand.
Dimitrenko, 34, has lost only twice in 40 career fights. He feels his experience will be too much for Parker.
“He is fast, he is agile, but he doesn’t yet have any history,” Dimitrenko told The New Zealand Herald a few days ago. “In his fight against Carlos Takam, he lost – he really lost – but he was named the winner. I met him at a press conference in July and, yeah, what should I say? I have seen in his eyes that he is not ready yet.”
Not many would agree with Dimitrenko’s assessment that Takam defeated Parker last May. But the fight was a grueling affair from the opening bell. Takam made Parker work and exposed some defensive lapses.
Parker showed grit and determination by fighting back and stunning Takam late in the fight.
After the match, he acknowledged that his learning curve still has a way to go.
“That was a tough, exciting fight. I still have a lot to learn,” Parker told news.com.au. “We’ll celebrate this victory and then get back to the gym and train.”
Parker returned to the ring two months later and stopped Solomom Haumono in four rounds. The knockout victory was number 17 in 20 fights.
Dimitrenko, of Russia, has won his six fights in succession. He captured the European heavyweight title in 2010.
The 6-foot-4, 230-pound Parker will be the smaller man against the 6-foot-7, 254-pound Dimitrenko.
“It doesn’t faze me fighting big men,” Parker told Gregory Gigney of boxingnewsonline.net. “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.
Parker is forcing himself to concentrate on his upcoming opponent, though he readily admits it’s a challenge.
“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,” said Parker. “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.”
If Parker gets past Dimitrenko, which is likely, negotiations are underway to match him up with chin-challenged British heavyweight David Price. Recent developments indicate the bout with Price could be in jeopardy.
Now it appears that Parker could be fighting Joshua in November, or maybe early next year.
"You can’t really look ahead until you beat what’s in front of you,” said Joshua in an article penned by James Dielhenn of www.skysports.com.
Truer words were never spoken.