Patrick McKendry is a rugby writer for the Herald.

Boxing: Kevin Barry warns Joseph Parker - target body of the 'Giant'

Luan Krasniqi of Germany fights Alexander Dimitrenko of Ukraine. Photo / Getty Images.
Luan Krasniqi of Germany fights Alexander Dimitrenko of Ukraine. Photo / Getty Images.

It has been billed as "Joe versus the Giant", and Joseph Parker has been warned by trainer Kevin Barry that he will need to be more disciplined about following his game plan against towering Ukrainian Alexander Dimitrenko.

Parker will give up 9cm in height and 18cm in reach against the 2.01m tall Dimitrenko when they meet in Manukau on October 1 and Barry has been vocal about how his 24-year-old charge must target the body of his opponent.

He was slow to go to the body of Carlos Takam in May, a 12-round points victory which earned him the right to challenge for the IBF heavyweight title held by Anthony Joshua, and it was the same story in his fourth-round knockout win over Solomon Haumono in Christchurch last Thursday.

Going to Dimitrenko's body will be essential to finding away inside and it will also be crucial when Parker eventually meets Joshua, who is of similar dimensions, in their world title fight.

"I was a little disappointed that once again Joe was late going to the body," Barry said of Parker's win over Australian Haumono. "He didn't really hit him hard to the body until the third round. The whole training camp had been 'we start from round one, taking his legs away, slowing his punches down, taking the power from his punches, by going to the body', and Joe hits very, very well to the body.

"Fighting a six foot seven guy, we need to reduce that height, we need to slow him down, we need to take the wind from his sails, and the way to do that is break him down to the body. A guy who is six foot seven has a large body area to defend."

Parker, about to go for a week's holiday in Samoa before returning to his Las Vegas base to prepare for the fight, said: "That was the plan ... I went to the body a little later, round two or three, so it's important for this fight, like Kev said, to go to the body and break him down."

Three of Parker's previous opponents - Jason Bergman, Takam and Haumono - have been shorter than him, so now, starting with Dimitrenko, who has lost only two of 40 fights as a professional, the focus will be on fighting taller men.

"You look at Tyson Fury, Joshua, [Wladimir] Klitschko, these guys are all tall," Barry said. "These are the guys that we're targeting, these are the guys who dictate all the big purses in world heavyweight boxing so we need to go after them."

Dimitrenko is likely to be the toughest opponent Parker has faced, after Takam. The 34-year-old, who has been a professional since 2001, is a former junior world champion and has gone 11 rounds with the highly-ranked Kubrat Pulev.

However, Parker's trainer Barry has been carefully studying Dimitrenko since before the Haumono fight, and Parker is likely to have too much speed and variety on attack for his older and, inevitably, slower, opponent.

Parker also has the advantage of knowing he held his own when sparring with Klitschko a couple of years ago. "It gives me confidence ... because when Kevin told me what to do, it worked," he said.

Parker's promoters Duco Events will expect to enter negotiations with Joshua's camp in November regarding their title fight. Under the terms of the challenge, Joshua's promoters must enter talks between November 9 and December 9 and set a date for a fight, which will almost certainly be held in London, and probably late this year or in March next year.

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