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Parker prepares to fell Ukrainian giant

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 26/07/2016

From Wednesday, Joseph Parker will tuck the name "Anthony Joshua" into a secret box. It won't emerge again until after October 1.

On that spring evening Parker will step into the ring with the towering Alexander Dimitrenko in Manukau, placing his status as the IBF mandatory No.1 challenger to Joshua on the line.

But there will be no talk of battling the current heavyweight champ until the 34-year-old Ukrainian, holding an impressive 38-2 record, is dispatched.

"Even though there's something in the back of our heads, Joshua, you still have to stay focused on what's in front of you," Parker said on Tuesday.

"This is another challenge we'll have to take seriously."

Kiwi boxer Joseph Parker will put thoughts of a title bout with Anthony Joshua aside to focus on his next fight against the giant Alexander Dimitrenko.

Negotiations between Parker and Joshua for a title bout are yet to begin, with the Englishman's camp given until November 9 to begin discussions.

Trainer Kevin Barry wants the 24-year-old Parker to fight at least one other preparatory match before the end of 2016.

"The fact we're making this fight October 1, it's a pretty fair assumption we're not fighting Joshua in November," Barry said. "We'll focus on this fight and after this there's every indication, everything going well, we'll fight another tall guy later in the year."

Parker thrashed former NRL star Solomon Haumono in four rounds on Thursday, knocking the 40-year-old out in Christchurch with a crisp upper-cut.

The 193cm South Aucklander said Dimitrenko would provide an entirely different challenge with his 201cm frame, while his trainer said reducing the Ukrainian's height and reach advantage would be key.

Fighting Dimitrenko would also give Parker valuable experience for a future fight against the 198cm Joshua.

"We need to reduce that height, slow him down, take a bit of wind out of his sails and the way to do that is to break him down to the body," Barry said.

"A guy who is 6'7" has a large body area to defend, so it's going to be very important that Joseph goes to the body in a very instrumental, calculated way."

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