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Joseph Parker faces Alexander Dimitrenko on October 1

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By Allan Fox: Unbeaten #1 IBF heavyweight contender Joseph Parker (20-0, 17 KOs) will be taking a stay busy fight next month against 34-year-old former contender Alexander Dimitrenko (38-2, 24 KOs) on October 1 in a scheduled 12 round fight at the Vodafone Events Centre in Manukau City, New Zealand.

Parker is the mandatory challenger to International Boxing Federation heavyweight belt holder Anthony Joshua. The fight appears to be taking place in March of 2017. Parker wants to fight two more times at least before that fight takes place. First he has the fight against the Dimitrenko on Oct.1, and then a possible fight against British heavyweight David Price a month later on November 26 on the undercard of Joshua’s fight against Kubrat Pulev.

It’s certainly a risky thing for the 24-year-old Parker to fight the tall heavyweights Dimitrenko and Price in back to back fights before he faces Joshua, because if something goes wrong in either of those fights for him, then he won’t be getting his guaranteed title shot against the 6’6” Joshua.

However, Parker and his management are betting that he’ll get through these fights in flying colors and this in turn will make his fight Joshua a bigger one in March of next year. Parker will be fighting more experienced guys in Dimitrenko and Price, but both fighters have known chin problems that they’ve showed in the past. Those are areas that the big punching Parker can take advantage when he gets inside the ring with these two guys,

“I would expect Joe to spar 60 rounds over the next three weeks, so we will have 100 rounds of work,” trainer Kevin Barry said about Parker to ESPN.com. “For the Dimitrenko fight, it’s going to be very important Joe uses his speed. It’s very important he’s going to get in, double- and triple-jab his way in, work away to the body on the big man, and then get out off angles. We don’t want to be caught going straight back and we don’t want to be caught finishing punching and staying inside the reach of Dimitrenko. Something we’ve worked on hard is getting in, getting out, and punching off the angle.”

Dimitrenko, 6’7”, is a little bit taller than Joshua, but he’s nothing like him as far as punching power, physique, and fighting style goes. Joshua is a more lethal puncher in every way than him.

The 34-year-old Dimitrenko has been carefully managed during his 15-year-old pro career with him being stepped up only twice in all that time against quality opposition in his fights against Kubrat Pulev and Eddie Chambers, both of which he lost to. Dimitrenko has won his last six fights, but they’ve been against woeful competition like the other heavyweights that he beat. Dimitrenko has always been capable of beating 2nd and 3rd tier heavyweights.

Where he comes unglued is when he faces contenders at the world level. He just hasn’t shown the ability to beat those type of fighters. The fact that Dimitrenko hasn’t faced a quality heavyweight in four years says something about him and with the match-making that’s being done by his management.

It’s understandable for Dimitrenko to be backed off against world class opposition for one or two fights after his 11th round knockout loss to Pulev in 2012, but it doesn’t make a lot of sense for him to have been backed off for four solid years. That’s just senseless match-making, and a waste of a career. It’s good that Dimitrenko will finally be stepping it up again in his fight against Parker on October 1, but it’s disappointing that it’s taken this long to put the tall Ukrianian heavyweight back in with sold competition. It might be too late in the game for Dimitrenko to be able to do anything against Parker other than to get out-boxed, out-slugged and outclassed.

“With fighting bigger guys, it’s very, very important to start hitting the body early from Round 1,” said Parker to ESPN.com. “With previous fights, we’ve had the plan to attack the body from round one but I’ve sort of been attacking at around round three, so I think with this fight it’s very important to execute the plan, and that’s what I’m going to do.”

Parker will have success against Dimitrenko no matter where he hits him in this fight, because this heavyweight is vulnerable to punchers, and he’s probably not going to be able to hold up for long in this fight.




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