Joseph Parker likely to get Alexander Dimitrenko test as final prep for shot at Joshua

07/25/2016 - By James Slater - Comments

It’s not official yet, but New Zealand media feel tomorrow’s press conference hosted by Joseph Parker’s promoter Dean Lonergan will confirm how the IBF mandatory challenger will face experienced Ukrainian Alexander Dimitrenko in his next fight, penciled in for September. Parker, unbeaten at 20-0 and coming off a 4th-round stoppage of Solomon Haumono, is expected to get his shot at Anthony Joshua late this year or early next year, but he and his team want to gain more experience before the expected trip to London. And this is where 34-year-old Dimitrenko comes in (or is expected to come in according to a report by The New Zealand Herald).

Dimitrenko, 38-2(24) is big at 6’7” and he has mixed it with some good fighters during his 15 year pro career – including Eddie Chambers, Albert Sosnowski and Kubrat Pulev. Parker will be facing the tallest pro opponent of his career thus far and he and his team obviously feel the fight will be great preparation for the Joshua fight.

Dimitrenko has not done too much since being stopped late by Pulev in May of 2012 (Pulev, interestingly, being in the frame for Joshua’s next fight, a probable second voluntary defence before the Parker mandatory), but the giant has at least been reasonably active. Dimitrenko has won six in a row since suffering the sole stoppage defeat of his career, most recently fighting in January of this year.

Dimitrenko will no doubt be a big underdog going into the trip to New Zealand, but maybe “Sascha” can give Parker, a man a decade his junior, a good fight. We must of course wait until tomorrow’s press conference before we know the fight is official (and Dimitrenko was, we were informed, supposed to have fought Shannon Briggs back in May, only for Dimitrenko to say he had not even been offered the fight that was announced by Briggs) but Parker-Dimitrenko makes sense. For Parker, anyway.

Can Parker chop Dimitrenko down to gain his 18th KO victory?