After easily dismantling a boxer known as "The Technician", Joseph Parker's next challenge is a big one - going into camp with Wladimir Klitschko, the undisputed heavyweight champion who goes by the slightly more formidable handle of "Dr Steelhammer".

Fresh from his fourth-round TKO of American Jason Pettaway last night, Parker will travel to Florida for a three-week stint with Klitschko as the Ukraine fighter prepares for his WBO, WBA and IBF titles defence against American Bryant Jennings at New York's Madison Square Garden on April 25.

In the meantime Parker's promoters Duco are close to signing a big name to face him in New Zealand in a little over two months' time.

Revealed in the Herald yesterday, the Klitschko camp will impinge slightly on Parker's preparation for that fight, but trainer Kevin Barry believes the benefits for the 23-year-old's development will be enormous.


"When you're sparring the very best fighter in the world it's all upside," he said. "It's going to be a great learning experience for a young man. We've all seen the progress that he's shown in the last two years. I would like to think by the end of this year we're going to see a lot more progress. Working with someone the calibre of Klitschko can only be beneficial for us."

Parker said: "I'm looking forward to it. Sparring against the champ, there's only one thing that's going to happen and that is you're going to learn."

Duco and Barry believe Parker is ready for his next step up after easily overcoming Pettaway, who had been beaten only once in 18 fights, with a fourth round knockout in Manukau. Parker's record has gone to 13 victories, with 11 knockouts. He has yet to taste defeat as a professional.

"A bigger challenge is going to bring out the best in Joe," Barry said. "The [Francois] Botha fight was a big challenge at that stage. The [Brian] Minto fight for him was a big challenge, and then the fight at the end of the year [against Irineu Beato Costa Junior]. When he has really had to dig deep against quality opponents, that's when we've seen Joseph's best work."

Barry said Parker's next opponent was not likely to be a tall man.

"There's a lot of tall guys in the heavyweight division and those who aren't tall are very strong, powerful guys who come forward and are in your face the whole time. For us it's a no-brainer, either we go after one of the big tall guys which is not practical for me at the moment because we haven't worked with them in the training camps, or we go after someone who will put a lot of pressure on Joe and chase him down and try to beat him down."

Barry and Parker were slightly downcast following the victory over Pettaway at the Vodafone Events Centre, with the trainer saying it was a good, rather than great, performance.

Parker said he may have been trying to finish the fight, his first of the year, too early.