The promoters of New Zealand heavyweight Joseph Parker are in negotiations to have him fight on the undercard of Anthony Joshua's next title defence in England in November.
Parker's opponent would be Englishman David Price, a 2.03m fighter who won a bronze medal at the 2008 Olympics, and the bout would serve the twin purposes of getting the Kiwi used to being in the ring with big men ahead of his possible showdown with the 1.98m Joshua and the atmosphere which goes with a bout headlined by Joshua, a charismatic and popular fighter in the United Kingdom.
Joshua will hold his second title defence on November 26 against an opponent and venue - possibly in Manchester - yet to be announced.
"It's our preference that he does fight on the Joshua undercard," Duco Events' Dean Lonergan told the Herald today. "It's important to bring him to an English audience and get him used to the environment up there.
"But in saying that, first Joe has to fight Alexander Dimitrenko, and the Hearns [Joshua's promoters] won't be interested in Joe if he loses that because he will lose his IBF mandatory challenger position."
Parker will fight the giant Ukrainian at Manukau's Vodafone Events Centre on October 1, and, should Parker and Joshua retain their respective mandatory challenger and title holder positions, the pair are likely to meet in England early next year. Joshua is a powerful knockout specialist, but Parker's camp will be confidence of success.
"We don't want to go there just to compete, we're going there to win, and that's why we're keeping Joe busy," Lonergan said.
The fight against the 2.01m Dimitrenko will be Parker's first since he beat Solomon Haumono in Christchurch in July, and he said sparring taller and heavier opponents at his Las Vegas base was a new challenge.
"With this camp, Kev [trainer Kevin Barry] has bought in some big, elite, sparring partners, guys who are a lot bigger than I am," he said. "It's a lot different sparring these tall guys compared to the guys we've had in previous camps. Things we've been working on are just head movement, making angles, and just working on defence, improving and getting better."
The 1.93m tall Parker said hitting the body early in order to get inside his opponent's longer reach was a big part of his preparations, and once inside he had to make the most of it.
"With fighting bigger guys, it's very, very important to start hitting the body early from round one, 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.
"I have to make the most of it, because you're doing all this work to get inside and once I'm in there, I feel like I have to throw combinations, throw punches, and then make angles, so I'm safe, you know, to avoid what they're trying to throw, and then it's more like 'getting in and getting out' as fast as you can."