Patrick McKendry is a rugby and boxing writer for the Herald.

Alexander Dimitrenko ready to 'die in the ring' against Joseph Parker

Joseph Parker faces off agaisnt Russian boxer Alexander Dimitrenko at the Duco Offices in Auckland 26 July 2016 picture supplied credit: Photosport.co.nz
Joseph Parker faces off agaisnt Russian boxer Alexander Dimitrenko at the Duco Offices in Auckland 26 July 2016 picture supplied credit: Photosport.co.nz

Alexander Dimitrenko will take a clear weight, size and reach advantage into his fight against Joseph Parker tomorrow night and has stated that he is "ready to die in the ring".

The 2.01m Dimitrenko tipped the scales at 115.15kg at the Vodafone Events Centre fight venue today, with New Zealander Parker weighing in at 109kg.

There is plenty at stake for the undefeated Parker - most obviously his IBF mandatory world title shot - but there is also plenty on the line for the giant Dimitrenko, who wants to take advantage of a heavyweight division which now seems to be in a constant state of flux. A win over Parker would shoot him up the rankings and put him in line for a big-money fight against Anthony Joshua.

"I am ready to win this fight," an extremely fit looking Dimitrenko said. "I am ready to give my best. I am ready to die in the ring."

Parker's reply was: "He's ready. I'm ready. Let's get it on."

Parker is slightly heavier than the last time he fought - his victory over Solomon Haumono in Christchurch in July - the result of training camp which has focused more on a weight training regime as he prepares for the biggest opponent in his career.

However, he said his renowned hand speed had remained, saying he is as quick as he has ever been.

The element of risk in fighting Dimitrenko, who has lost only twice in 40 professional fights, was highlighted today by British boxing analyst Steve Bunce, who said Parker was only a 55 per cent chance of winning, but Parker's trainer Kevin Barry said: "I don't care what other people think. We've got a plan in place to have Joseph prepared for when his opportunity arrives. This big man beside him today is part of that plan.

"This is the fight that a lot of people didn't want us to take because it had too much risk.

But we've accepted the risk because we need to prepare Joseph for some of the big men in the world and this is a quality big man."

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