As far as big challenges go, they don't come much bigger for Joseph Parker than Alexander Dimitrenko.

The Ukrainian was this morning confirmed as Parker's next opponent, with the two due to meet on October 1 in a 12-round bout at the Vodafone Events Centre in Manukau, the same venue where Parker beat Carlos Takam to secure the IBF No 1 mandatory position in May.

Dimitrenko, at 2.01m, will have a 9cm height advantage and an 18cm reach advantage when they step into the ring. The 34-year-old has a 38-2 record, with 24 of those wins coming by way of knockout.

He's on a six-fight winning streak and is literally a step up for Parker and has been signed specifically to prepare the New Zealander to fight the 1.98m Anthony Joshua.


Parker, as IBF No 1 mandatory, is due to take on Joshua next year for the IBF title if he can safely navigate his way past Dimitrenko, who is a former European heavyweight champion.

"Dimitrenko is a guy who former world champion Shannon Briggs went out of his way to avoid earlier this year because of the risk," said Duco Events promoter Dean Lonergan. "Even casual boxing fans know that all Eastern Europeans in the heavyweight division know how to fight".

Dimitrenko's career has closely mirrored that of fellow Ukrainians, Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko. He's spent most of his career fighting out of Germany and has also trained with the late Fritz Sdunek, who turned both Klitschkos into world champions.

At 2.01m, he is as big as Vitali and, among his victories, is one against Ron Purrity, who knocked out Wladimir Klitschko in 1998.

It is more than four years ago since Dimitrenko's last loss, against Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev, who is ranked two places higher than Parker on independent website